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Lee Odden

Strategies For Implementing Influencer Marketing Programs

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's a faster way to connect with a target audience than building thought leadership from scratch? Working with influencers that already have authority and credibility with the target audience you want to reach.

Why so many companies focus only on buying their way into new markets and audiences I may never know. But working with industry influencers through networking, surveys and interviews has been an instrumental approach for our boutique and specialized agency to achieving amazing relationships with a substantial number of major brands and industry experts.

This post is an in-depth look at how your business can tap into the power of influencers and co-created content through 7 steps that go from planning to implementation to measurement.

And at the end, there's a $500 off discount code for an upcoming digital marketing conference where I'll be presenting on this very topic.

What are Influencers and what is Influencer Marketing?

Influencers are credible, authoritative individuals who have an engaged community that follows and acts on their thought leadership.

Influencer Marketing is working with influencers to affect change in thought and action amongst a network towards goals that are mutually beneficial to the brand, the influencer and their community. Whether it is a partnership to co-create content or more general advocacy, influencers open doors for brands to connect with engaged consumers they might otherwise never reach in a meaningful way.

Strategies for establishing influencer marketing programs:

What connects a brand with an influencer in a mutually beneficial way isn't deep pockets and a famous person with high fans, friends and follower counts. Meaningful connections and influence start with context and relevant subject matter – topics. Brands that clearly define customer needs that intersect with how a brand wants to be known, can use that insight to identify topical focus for influencer marketing.

The logic is basically this: Find, qualify and engage people that are already authoritative and effective in their ability to influence your target market on the topics you both care about. Armed with specific topics of focus, influencers can be identified, qualified and engaged through a variety of tools, tactics and channels ranging from influencer discovery services to social networking to email marketing.

Creating value for influencers in a way that inspires promotion of brand messaging to the influencer's community can support overall brand content marketing objectives. Building relationships with influencers that can deliver measurable impact keeps influencer marketing programs efficient and mutually beneficial.

Effective Influencer Marketing strategies involve an ongoing, mutually beneficial effort that bears fruit over and over again. Companies that can find influencers relevant to their own target audience and then provide those influencers with value, have a great basis for an influencer marketing program.

How to measure the success of influencer marketing programs aligned with business marketing objectives:

The success of Influencer Marketing programs relies on effective use of goal setting and identification of key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, it may be hypothesized that engaging with a certain group of news and social media influencers will increase online conversations and citations about your brand's solutions and benefits, resulting in media placements, blog mentions and inbound inquiries for services.


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About the Author:
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a provider of innovative Internet marketing consulting for progressive B2B companies ranging from Marketo to PRWeb to McKesson. Odden has been recognized for his expertise with enterprise social media, SEO and content marketing strategies by The Economist, Advertising Age and Mashable. He writes a monthly column called Social Media Smarts for ClickZ and his blog at TopRankBlog.com has an active community with over 46,000 subscribers, 12,000 Facebook Fans and has been rated the #1 Content Marketing blog 3 times by Junta42. He is also the Author of "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing" published by Wiley.
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