Social Media Influencer Marketing: More Than Just Popularity

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Social Media Influence Marketing : More Complex Than Just a Popularity Contest!

The concept of the social media influencer marketing has never been really popular with agencies and businesses. Studies come one after another, and reveal a continuously rising adoption rate. Suddenly, bloggers are writing about marketing influence. Social media influencer marketing has become the new buzzword.

The 10 steps to influencer marketing in social media

In fact, influencer marketing requires a complex approach. It’s not a simple popularity contest where you only recruit the influencer who has the largest number of fans and followers in his community, or a personality that has the greatest visibility. Marketing with influencers demands much more, and requires an active presence. Here are the 10 steps to influencer marketing in social media.

1 – Building a secure digital identity

Digital identity is the new DNA, fingerprint, which identifies us to the world whenever we connect to the Web and social media. For professionals and entrepreneurs, it’s the initial basis of a digital transformation; first ensuring a secure digital identity. This is the first lifeline of personal data.

2 – Defining your branding

To stand out from the masses, entrepreneurs and organizational leaders will need to develop their brand image and their personal identity. The success of their web and social networks presence will rely heavily on the reputation they build and manage in their community. Entrepreneurs who want to succeed in social media must show that they are leaders in their industry.

3 – Establish and develop your social network community

The first step will be to set up a distribution network, and develop a community from a Web platform or a blog. The professional or entrepreneur needs to develop a deployment strategy based on clearly defined objectives and determine which social platforms to use to reach their audience. Effective strategic planning will always be the cornerstone of the success of a campaign on the Web and social media.

4 – Chatting and sharing with users

Social media should not be regarded simply as a new distribution channel, but rather a new ecosystem where the communities ultimately dictate the rules. Users – consumers want to not only talk with a brand or company; they want to talk with brand users that can help them make informed decisions about products and services. Listen to them, they will teach you what content they want from you.

5 – Educate and entertain with engaging content

Users want to be informed and entertained; they prefer the quality content rather than the quantity of content. Professionals and companies on the Web and social media must avoid posting only self – promotion content, and instead post interesting and compelling content that really meets the expectations of the audience. This is the basis of a content marketing strategy.

6 – Create original content and establish its leadership

Creating blogs and interesting & relevant rich content is what will help professionals and entrepreneurs to demonstrate and confirm their skills, and be clearly recognized as leaders in their expertise. Professionals and companies must clearly identify their niche, and make the most with the creation and dissemination of quality, exclusive content that represents the brand image and entrepreneurial vision.

7 – Identifying the right type of influencers based on objectives

Influencers eventually consolidate into 3 main types:

  1. celebrities and media stars
  2. opinion leaders
  3. ambassadors who are satisfied customers and happy employees

We must first clearly define the objectives of the campaign, to identify the right type of influencer that corresponds with the context of the campaign.

8 – Develop and maintain a relationship of trust with ambassadors

It’s not enough to recruit an ambassador to be able to count on his collaboration. The influence they exert is a result of the confidence they get from their community, and must be respected. Before seeking the help of a community influencer (or ambassador), professionals and entrepreneurs must first establish and maintain a fair and reciprocal relationship with them.

9 – Provide input and work with community leaders

To get the help of a thought leader, we need to make a real contribution to the relationship. This contribution can result in retribution, but in most cases the value added that this collaboration will bring in the community. Access to exclusive information and co-creation of quality content proves to be the best way of achieving this.

10 – Measuring social capital in a contextual analysis

Depending on the type of marketing campaign, influencers (or Ambassadors), and platforms used, metrics must be use to adapt and adjust strategy accordingly. Mathematical algorithms provide quantitative results that can adapt to certain types of campaign, but it’s often necessary to make a contextual analysis to measure the qualitative value of an influencer campaign. The return on investment is calculated mostly by the social capital that results.

A new approach to inbound marketing

Influencer marketing in social media requires a more complex approach that can not be limited to the number of followers or page views.

Influencer marketing is a new approach to marketing, which has been proven, but nevertheless requires professionals, companies and organizations to engage in social depth. An approach that will require an active presence, and to establish lasting relationships with ambassadors and influencers of communities. It’s a new marketing science that requires these 10 steps.

What do you think? What is your opinion on the 10 steps to influencer marketing  in social media. Share your comments with our readers.

This blog is previously published in French on Raymond Morin’s website.

Other interesting links on the subject:

http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/10-reasons-why-influencer-marketing-is-the-next-big-thing/623407?

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/getting_a_sharper_picture_of_social_medias_influence

http://traackr.stfi.re/blog/2015/08/stages-of-influencer-relationships/

http://tedrubin.com/building-your-social-id-the-elements-of-a-strong-digital-reputation/

http://traackr.com/influencer-engagement-ladder/

http://maximizesocialbusiness.com/four-rules-build-lasting-relationship-influencer-18260/

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Why Popularity Alone Is Not a Winning Strategy

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You can learn a lot about social media metrics by watching classic teen movies and TV shows. Anybody who has seen the show ‘Glee’ or the classic movie ‘The Breakfast Club’ knows that there’s much more to success than being popular.

The same holds true for brands.

In social media, popularity is no substitute for strategy. And yet according to a recent ANA study, over 80% of US marketers rely on popularity-based metrics, such as Likes and shares, to measure the effectiveness of their social content.

Does Popularity Matter?

Popularity is an important social media metric, but it’s not necessarily a true indicator of brand strength. For example, with over 4 million followers on Twitter, BlackBerry is a more popular brand than Coca-Cola, Nike, or Victoria’s Secret.

Looking to boost your popularity score? Post a picture of a kitten (ideally doing something cute like playing the piano) or ask people to tell you their favorite color, and you’re sure to see a surge of Likes, shares, and comments. But achieving popularity can come at the cost of building a strong social narrative.

Every Facebook timeline, Twitter feed, or Instagram gallery is an opportunity to build an engaging social brand narrative—a story created by the cumulative impact of social media posts. The medium may be short-form, but the potential to use social media as a channel for developing long-term story arcs has gone untapped by most brands.

Going Beyond the Popularity Contest

In a recent study published in Progressive Grocer, Brand Chorus tracked the social media activity of 10 leading supermarket brands and observed how pursuing popularity as the sole measure of social success can actually be detrimental to brand building.

For example, when we analyzed the posts of one of the leading supermarkets in the US, we saw that a video of puppies playing in the snow or a question such as “What’s your favorite messy food?” received significantly more Likes, shares, and comments than posts that highlighted a customer’s personal story about caring staff.

The ideal brand response here would be to ask the question, “How do we make our customer stories more engaging?” But unfortunately, what we see happen far too often is brands deciding that they should avoid mentioning customer stories and, instead, posting more puppy pictures to keep their popularity metrics high.

Focusing on Your Social Brand Narrative

Creating fresh social media content every day is not easy. It can be tough to focus on the big picture when you’re trying to figure out what your next tweet should be. But by taking a more disciplined approach to social content and defining a consistent set of core, brand-driven themes, you can drive a strong social brand narrative over time.

And, perhaps more importantly, you can measure that narrative and provide a metric for how it changes over time.

This kind of disciplined approach is seldom, if rarely used today.

Whole Foods is one brand that does a good job of connecting the dots and focusing on content that connects the company to its consumers. For example, this past May, Whole Foods posted content about Mother’s Day and then Memorial Day almost every day of the month. At the end of the month, the company immediately segued into Father’s Day, creating a seamless, consistent, and relevant stream of posts to build its core brand.

Though Mother’s Day and Memorial Day were at the heart of the Whole Foods social brand narrative, the same cannot be said of many other grocery retailers. Many supermarkets posted their first Mom-related posts on the Thursday before the big day, almost as if they had been caught by surprise. With a disciplined strategy and the right story-related metrics in place, those brands could also have engaged Mom in a month-long conversation leading up to her special day.

As a story-telling medium, social media is in its infancy. But as new social metrics evolve, smart brands will figure out how to tell and track, great stories using short-form media. Dickens did it with his serialized novels; DC did it with weekly comic books; and P&G did it with soap operas.

After all, one thing is certain: There’s a huge audience for social media, and wherever there are audiences, great stories will be told.

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