Influencers are more than a passing interest to me…generally speaking I don’t take projects that aren’t about reaching out and connecting with influencers as part of a community strategy. Some time back, WOMMA approached myself, of Keller Fay and of Comblu about being co-chairs of the Influencer Committee within WOMMA. We met and gathered a broader group of experts - primarily practitioners - with the idea of documenting some practices and recommendations regarding influencer marketing and influencer engagement. While we didn’t agree on everything (what fun would that be), I’m pleased with the outcome of the work, the Influencer Handbook. Have a look and let us know what you think. It includes the following sections:
• Definition of an influencer and influencer marketing
• Types of influencers
• Methods to engage and thank influencers
• Guidelines for influencer self-regulation
• Bibliography of influencer communication research and practices
Working effectively with influencers was the section most near and dear to me. I’m sure we missed some important points and examples that can further contribute to increasing practitioner success with influencers. If you’re new to this topic, or not, I simply hope you’ll consider a few key principles:
- An Influencer program is different than a loyalty program and requires more comprehensive planning and long term commitment to succeed
- Influencers rarely do what they do to help your brand, they do it to help other users - your benefits are by-products of your commitment and engagement
- Consider the idea of "fair exchange of value" or an influencer "balance sheet" - ensuring the benefits to your influencers are in balance with the benefits that accrue to you as a brand - if not, the likelihood of failure is quite high.
- Knowledge, specialized access and relationships are of substantially higher value to all parties than swag/give-aways.
And if you really want to know about influencers…connect. Throw away the data, analytics, tools and economy of scale for a few months and go sit down face to face with as many as you can. There’s "tactile knowledge" required to really understand a brand’s influencers. When I was a practitioner, it was this seemingly over-investment in face to face that really changed my perspective.
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