The concept behind influence marketing is simple: connect with your buyers through the people they’re already listening to. Author and expert marketer Andrew Davis provides three steps to get you started now.
Newsflash: you aren’t the only one competing for your customers’ attention. The truth is they are bombarded by messaging every day, and if you’re an unknown quantity you’re going to face quite an uphill battle for their attention.
But what if there were a way for you to be introduced to your buyers by someone who they already know and trust? That’s what influence marketing is all about. As Seth Godin puts it, all “tribes” have their leaders, and today it’s up to marketers to pinpoint and collaborate with those leaders in order to truly extend their reach.
What’s the best way to do that? In the videos below (previously recorded), marketing expert Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships, shares his best practices for identifying and engaging with your buyers’ keys influencers, as well as tips and tactics for building your own influencer potential.
Step 1) Identify Your Buyers’ Key Influencers
These days, connecting with customers isn’t so much about pushing a product as it is discovering what they — and their online communities — are passionate about.
The ultimate goal is to be actively engaged in those communities, but as the Influence Pyramid model illustrates, there’s typically a gap that brands (at the top of the pyramid) need to navigate in order to reach average consumers (the largest group at the bottom of the pyramid).
The way they do that, Davis explains, is by connecting with that group of consumers’ key influencers (on the next level down). These individuals are the established leaders of the consumers’ tribes or online communities. They’re the popular bloggers and/or social media mavens who are the go-to resources your audience relies on for information on the topics they’re passionate about.
Once you identify your audience’s key influencers the next step is enlisting their help to establish your brand as a go-to resource, as well.
Step 2) Engage in Collaboration & Participation Creation
Davis refers to working with influencers to produce content participation creation — it’s one of the most powerful and effective ways to elevate your brand.
There are many examples of ways in which you can collaborate with influencers. A few include:
- Inviting them to provide input/feedback on a new piece of content such as an eBook or report
- Curating their content on your site
- Interviewing them on a topic of shared interest for a Q&A article or podcast
- Inviting them to take part in a list or roundtable discussion
- Offering to provide content or participate in any projects of their own
You’ll want to engage key influencers strategically, ideally establishing and employing a detailed touchpoint model.
A specific example Davis provides is: say he were to write a book — if the audience for that book is one you’re currently engaging and hoping to develop a stronger relationship with, you might invite him to do an interview or a podcast.
The result is a net win-win: Davis gets exposure to your audience and his audience is also introduced to you.
Step 3) Be Original and Authentic
Ramp up your influence marketing with these resources:
Are you influential?
There’s a big difference between genuine, productive collaboration and what Davis refers to as “me too” marketing — hopping on the latest trends just for the sake of a quick boost in traffic or awareness. At best, all it will result in is a flash in the pan. At worst, your audience will see right through the gimmick and your stock as an influencer will dive.
The key to engaging with any new influencer or branching out with any new tactic or platform is to keep your audience first and foremost in mind. Is your new connection or campaign bringing real value to them? Or is it really just self-serving?
The marketers who constantly ask themselves that question and stay true to their mission to provide value are the ones who become lasting influencers in their own right.
You’ve heard from Andrew, now we want to hear from you:
What successes have you had with influence marketing? What mistakes have you learned from? What tips can you recommend?