Creating A Sound Influencer Marketing Strategy

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With customers bombarded with marketing messages, influencers can be an extremely important tool for marketers.

Consumers are at the receiving end of countless advertising messages that are coming to them from all directions. Every time they switch on the television, open a magazine, turn on the radio, or click on a search engine page, they are coming face-to-face with marketing messages.Brands have been trying to make sure that their voice is heard amidst this noise and their message gets through to the right people, resonates with them, and leads to a business relationship. A number of organizations have recognized that one of their most powerful allies in getting the message across is influencers, many times their own customers who are passionate brand advocates and want to tell everyone about their experience with a company.

"People trust other people," noted Jordan Herrmann, director of marketing at Social Media Link during yesterday's ad:tech New York. In fact, research by Nielsen has shown that while 92 percent of customers will trust recommendations from people they know, 70 percent trust online customer reviews. Here are some points to keep in mind when creating an influencer marketing strategy:

There are different types of influencers:
Herrmann noted that influencers come in all shapes and sizes and organizations need to find the right influencer for their organization. While some brands might want to go with high reach influencers, including celebrities, because their message will be delivered to a vast audience, others choose high trust individuals who have a smaller reach but deliver more intimate interactions. "You need to decide what strategy is best for the brand," Herrmann stressed.

Provide a relevant experience: Pina Hornyak, senior consumer engagement manager for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, stressed that an influencer strategy is not just about amplifying the message, but also providing a relevant experience that triggers authentic sharing and provokes real conversation and interactions. "Design an experience that addresses their motivation for sharing content," she said. Pfizer leveraged influencers to generate trial awareness and purchase consideration for children's Advil. The company selected a group of mothers and sent them a full sized product as well as a guide to sharing their experience, even making their life easier through a single click tool that allowed them to share their comments on numerous sites. More than 50 percent of mothers repurchased the product and those who were exposed to the reviews had a 30 percent lift in the likelihood to purchase.

Mobilize and scale: The aim of influencer marketing is to reach as many people as possible. Herrmann noted that key influencers need to be given a central and relevant task. "Make it clear what you're asking them to do," she said. Further, sharing information needs to be easy. Secondly, it's imperative to provide call to action for their audience, for example allowing them to receive a discount code. "Allow them to immediately engage with the brand," she said.

There's no on/off switch:
Influencers shouldn't be there for the short term. Instead, organizations need to recognize their value and develop a lasting relationship with them. Organizations should keep in touch with these influencers and leverage their voice throughout their marketing campaigns.

Measure: Any campaign will only be successful if it delivers results and this requires measurement. Herrmann recommended measuring engagement, influencer activity, reach, and sentiment. Further, organizations can ask their target audience about the impact of specific influencer campaigns.

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