What is Influencer Marketing and who are we trying to influence?

Jason Ouellette

At the end of the day, if you have been reading your #Digital, #Marketing or #PR Twitter feeds you know that all organizations are really trying to get to the heart of their decision makers and ultimately drive influence. Influence what?

That is one of the questions in asked in the PRSpeak blog yesterday. What is influence and who are B2B marketers trying to influence?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of INFLUENCE reads as follows:

  1. a: an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans
    b: an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
  2. an emanation of spiritual or moral force
  3. a: the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
    b: corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
  4. the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways: sway

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t as cut and dry as I expected it would be but never the less you see how it is defined. Power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect ways. Producing an effect without apparent exertion of force. So how are B2B marketers attacking influencer marketing today and where does it fit in with their overall marketing campaigns?

And according to our friends at Wikipedia, influencer marketing is a form of marketing that that has emerged from a variety of recent practices and studies, in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers. Now this makes sense and this is something we can work with and public relations and social media pros.

For some time now the words “personalization” and “personalized” have become more and more relevant in everyday business and marketing plans. As a consumer you want to see what is relevant to you. We hear this in the ad:tech space on a daily basis – companies that are developing retargeting or mobile advertising solutions that put what you are interested in right in front of you. So as a B2B technology buyer or decision maker, don’t you want to see personalized content that means something to you and will help your organization continue growing?

This is where the PR and marketing game has changed. No longer is it a blast email campaign, cold calls, blind emails. You need to start engaging with and nurturing your relationships with colleagues, industry thought leaders, market analysts and your core media. And where you start will set the tone for your overall success. Here are a few tips to get you going when it comes to Influencer Marketing:

  1. Know your audience – Do research on who is driving the discussions in your marketplace today. Find out where they are getting their information, who they connect with and what gets them to react.
  2. Give. Don’t just take – Biggest mistake made today. You need to contribute to others (blogs, article responses, events, etc.) before you can accept anything in return. Actually, giving of your time and knowledge is more important than what you should expect to get out of it.
  3. Share – When you create campaigns or content, don’t just let it sit idle on your Website or blog. Share it in your networks and have your colleagues join in. You should also use this approach in the previous point – share others information. Promote their thoughts and even your counterpoints.
  4. Engage in different formats – We’ve said this before but content comes in a number of different formats today. Video, blogs, eBooks, newsletters, press releases, contributed articles. They all should have a place in your overall marketing communications plan.
  5. Have patience – Success will NOT be overnight. Be patient and consistent. Starts and stops don’t work. You need to fill your digital tool box with a number of case histories in order to succeed here. Think of it like eating right. The “experts” say you should keep your body fueled with energy throughout the day so there are no crashes. Think of your Influencer Marketing program the same way. Stay consistent in what you put out (and take in) and try not to have the peaks and valleys that sometimes sneak up on us!
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