Tag: Influencer Marketing

What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature

Influencer marketing is booming—and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers lend authority and credibility to your brand and content, help connect you with new audiences, and typically deliver more ROI than traditional digital marketing tactics. As a result, brands large and small are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers—and using social platforms to spread their message.

For those brands and marketers engaging in paid partnerships with influencers on Instagram, a change is on the horizon. Last week, Instagram officially announced it would soon roll out its new “paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.

“The relationships people form on Instagram are what makes our 700M+ community so unique,” Instagram said in its announcement. “It’s here where the world comes together to discover and connect to their passions. Because of this, creators (influencers & publishers) and businesses often join forces to tap into Instagram’s passionate communities with branded content. As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it’s important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content.”

According to SocialMediaToday, Instagram began testing the partner tag feature—which is similar to what parent-company, Facebook, implemented last year—back in March. And while there’s no official deadline, Instagram said the rollout will be happening slowly over the next few weeks.

So, what do brands and marketers need to know about the new feature? Below are a few key takeaways from the announcement.

#1 – The new feature will enhance transparency—and credibility.

Enhancing influencer marketing transparency is at the core of Instagram’s decision to launch the new tagging option. Not only does the company want to ensure followers can easily recognize sponsored content, but they want to make it easy for influencers and businesses to provide that clarity. In fact, according to TechCrunch, Instagram’s Creative Programs Director Charles Porch said businesses are “looking for ways to be super transparent with their followers when they have a partnership.”

The good news is that brands can use this new level of transparency to their advantage. Simply put, influencers help brands make authentic and meaningful connections with their audience, as well as build brand awareness and credibility. And more transparency means more credibility and authenticity—something modern consumers crave and respect.

In addition, this enhanced transparency will help brands better comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure policies. Back in April, the FTC reported that it had sent out more than 90 letters to marketers and influencers “reminding” them to clearly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products on social media.

#2 – You’ll get access to new data and insights.

Perhaps the most attractive perk brands and marketers will enjoy with the new tagging feature is access to data on influencers’ posts.

“When the partners use this tag, they will both have access to Insights to track exactly how their branded content posts and stories are performing,” Instagram explained. “Creators will continue to see metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will see shared reach and engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights.”

As you can imagine, having this data will give you insight into the real impact of your influencer marketing efforts, and help you make informed decisions on where to go next.

#3 – Adding the tag will be quick and easy.

As you can see from the sample photo below, the tag will be prominently, yet simply, displayed at the top of each post. As far as the mechanics of tagging a partner go, an “Add Partner” option will reportedly be nested under the “Tag People” selection—making it incredibly easy to add to any post.

#4 – An official policy and enforcement procedure is in the works.

At this point, Instagram has not announced it’s official policy on tagging paid partnerships, nor how it plans to actually enforce it. But, according to last week’s announcements, it’s in the works and is expected to be announced in the next few months.

Are Paid Influencer Marketing Tactics Right for Your Brand?

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Everyone is influential about something.” As a result, nearly every brand could benefit from adding influencers into their marketing mix. Whether paid tactics are the right course, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to consider your industry, business objectives, budget, current marketing mix, target audience and types of influencers you want to work with to make an informed decision. (Of course, if you need help crafting a plan, we’d love to help!)

What’s your reaction to the new Instagram partner tag? Tell us in the comments section below.

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What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature | http://www.toprankblog.com

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B2B Marketers Are Way Behind on Influencer Marketing and Here’s the Solution

B2B Influencer Marketing Catch Up

Influencer Marketing is a hot topic, but what is really working, what isn’t and what are the future trends for marketers? Those are the questions we set out to answer in the research report: Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing.

With analysis from Brian Solis of Altimeter and a research partnership between Traackr and my agency TopRank Marketing, enterprise marketers in North America and Europe were asked about the role of influence including ranking their influencer marketing maturity level.

31% of B2C marketers reported that they are experimenting with influencer marketing and 48% are running ongoing programs. This is in contrast to B2B marketers where a greater number (49%) were still experimenting and only 11% were running ongoing influencer programs.

Why does this mean B2B marketers are behind?

Within B2B marketing, the role of content during the customer journey is clear. Self directed business buyers are pulling themselves through most of the sales journey before ever contacting sales.

How are they doing it? With content.

While content continues to drive customer attraction, engagement and conversion, buyers have become numb to brand messages and advertising, going so far as to install ad blocking software at an increasing rate. Information overload and distrust of push marketing has buyers relying on peers, experts and industry influencers more than ever.

When B2B brands collaborate on content with credible outside voices that have active networks, it results in information with greater relevance, credibility and reach.

The connection between influence and content is very strong amongst enterprise marketers we surveyed. According to the study, 80% of marketers cited the biggest impact from working with influencers as content marketing. With the demand and usefulness of content marketing within B2B, there is tremendous opportunity for B2B marketers to improve their ability to integrate influence more strategically.

While most B2B marketers appreciate the opportunity with content and influencers, many are too inwardly focused. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs offers this advice:

“Make Your Customer The Hero of Your Story. Paradoxically, your “story” is not about you—it’s about what you do for others. That’s a subtle shift, but an important one, because it installs your customer at the very heart of your marketing. It’s customer-centric versus corporate-centric.” @annhandley

Customer centricity is essential for effective B2B content marketing and working with industry influencers to co-create content adds a customer voice and authenticity that many marketers miss.

What is holding B2B marketers back from achieving more success working with influencers? There are three key issues:

1. Working with famous and friends, not influential people.

Social network size and self appointed influencer status does not equal the ability to affect a change of thinking or inspire action amongst buyers. Many B2B marketers are swayed by brandividuals into thinking that popularity alone will move the needle on buying cycle marketing metrics. Awareness is great, but without engagement and conversion as well, what is the point?

2. Viewing influencers as advertising.

People understand new things in terms of what they already know and this is no different in how many B2B marketers approach working with influencers. Advertising is a familiar model and B2B marketers that expect influencer collaboration to produce the same performance at the same consistency as an advertising channel, will inevitably be disappointed.

3. Short term, commoditized, disconnected collaboration.

The most significant disconnect of all is the “one off” approach where marketers engage influencers at random without any effort to maintain a relationship or understand what the influencer wants out of the the collaboration.

To take full advantage of a more strategic approach to influencer content, there are three engagement scenarios B2B marketers should consider:

Influencer Microcontent

Short form content is easier for influencers to contribute and serves as a nice appetizer for the brand community in advance of more substantial collaborations. Pull quotes, tips and social message-length comments are also great moments of opportunity to establish influencer relationships and to maintain positive interactions in between larger projects.

Influencer Campaigns

Strategically planned, implemented and connected influencer content campaigns provide participating influencers an opportunity to make more substantial contributions of their expertise and thought leadership to the shared brand and influencer community. The key to influencer content campaigns is that there is a guiding narrative and directive for relationship growth that provides direction for continued and evolved influencer engagement, not one-off or stand alone projects with only short term goals.

Influencer Community

A dedicated group of influencers as part of a brand VIP program provides advocates and industry experts a platform for collaboration in a variety of ways. A more formal engagement with influencers helps identify their affinity for shared values with the brand as well as what the common interests and goals of their mutual communities.

Many B2B marketers still experimenting with influencer marketing may touch on these three engagement scenarios, but are not often implementing strategically or long term. To do so, requires both a strategy and technology.

In the Influence 2.0 report, 71% of enterprise marketers view their influencer marketing as strategic or highly strategic and yet, only 24% of overall marketers are running ongoing influencer programs allocating just 10% of overall marketing budget. The awareness of a bigger picture view and integration exists with most enterprise level marketers, they just need to invest in a strategy and resources, including technology, so they can realize the benefits of an approach that is long term and scaleable.

When it comes to technology that supports more scalable, long term and integrated influencer marketing, Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing Leader at LinkedIn agrees: “I am a major advocate for making all of our jobs easier as marketers and it’s time we put the technology to work for us. Having a tool such as Traackr in your arsenal can help tie influencer marketing back to overall business goals and prove the marketing value to your CMO; that’s a very good thing.”

What is the Future of Influence for Enterprise organizations?
57% of marketers in our study say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next 3 years compared to only 5% claiming full integration today. As more B2B marketers evolve from influencer marketing experimentation to a more strategic approach that emphasizes relationships, common goals and the ability to manage and scale with technology, the more they will realize the benefits of integration across all marketing functions.

Influencer 2.0 Cover

You can download the full report, Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing here: http://influencermarketingreport.com

Of course you can get help with influencer content strategies from the some of the best in the business at TopRank Marketing.

A version of this article originally appeared on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog.

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B2B Marketers Are Way Behind on Influencer Marketing and Here’s the Solution | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview with Influencer Marketing Wiz Amisha Gandhi, SAP

From emerging social media channels to the rise of artificial intelligence, the exciting cyclone of change often drops us marketers into unfamiliar territory—and we have to find our way home.

Thankfully, the marketing industry is flush with talented marketers leading the way, and we often look to them for tactical insights to navigate the winding road and avoid fields of deceiving poppies. However, in our thirst more knowledge, we often don’t get to see who these leaders are in full living color.

To bridge the gap between person and marketer, we’re kicking off an exciting new “Behind the Curtain” interview series—which, if you haven’t guessed, is inspired by Dorothy Gale and the classic film, The Wizard of Oz.

In this series, we’ll take a peek behind the curtain to get know some marketing industry wizards on a more personal level, as well as gain insights that can help other marketers use their brains, hearts, courage and creativity to improve their marketing efforts and drive business value in the changing digital landscape.

Our first featured marketer is the brilliant and incredibly nice Amisha Gandhi, Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP.


The Woman Behind the Curtain

Amisha was born in Bombay, India, grew up in New York, and now lives in San Francisco.

“New York is my Kansas,” Amisha said. “I’m definitely a New Yorker at heart—which is probably where most of my personality comes from.”

But Amisha didn’t always plan on being a marketer. Actually, Amisha studied both theater and biology/pre-med.

“One [degree] was for me and the other was for my parents,” she said. “I’ve always loved theater, and I think that’s where I honed the artistic part of my brain … which I definitely get to bring into marketing, especially influencer marketing.”

Amisha is also a working mom and avid traveler.

“I love to travel,” she said. “But wherever I go, I like to be a local—to be immersed in a different world and see it from a local perspective. When my son is older, I want to go to the Galapagos Islands.”

She’s also a huge Sci-Fi fan. Among some of her favorite films and TV shows are Blade Runner, Star Wars (leaving out Episodes 1, 2 and 3, of course), and Battlestar Galactica.

Battlestar Galactica is an all-time favorite,” she said. “It’s such a great story.”

Some of her other favorite flicks are Casablanca and anything by Alfred Hitchcock.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

Amisha has had an interesting career path, starting her professional career working in a research lab for a pharmaceutical company.

“I really didn’t like it, so I quit my job and actually got a temp job as a data entry clerk at MCI,” she said.

Since then, Amisha has worked at startups, PR agencies such as Burson-Marsteller, and been a consultant to companies such as Accenture, Google, Merrill Lynch, GAP, HP and Time-Warner. Today, she’s well-known for bringing her mix of social media, communications and marketing skills together for creative campaigns and elevating executives profiles such as former CIO of SAP, Oliver Bussmann. She joined SAP team in 2010.

What was your Twister event? What moment or event put you on a path to a career in marketing?

While I working at a company that produced local market books, CitySearch.com—an online city guide and community—wanted a partnership. And I thought that was a really cool concept, and just in passing I mentioned that I’d love to work there, and ended up getting an interview.

After the interview, I showed up constantly. I brought the sales team doughnuts one day. Another day I stopped by with thank you notes. Finally, they just said “OK. Come on in and join our team. The other guy wants this job, but you want it more.”

It was a startup at the time, and when you work at a startup you wear many hats. I had a variety of jobs there and learned about marketing, sales operations, advertising, editorial, even movie promotions—you name it. But that’s how I got my start.

Dorothy found dear friends in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman on her journey down the yellow brick road. Who are some of the people who’ve helped or inspired you during your career?

I have been so fortunate in my career to have worked managers, mentors and clients who’ve pushed me, guided me and inspired me.

While working at a political PR firm, I worked with an incredible PR executive named Barbara French, who taught me so much about storytelling.

Barbara was always pushing me to find that “so what” story. To this day, I still think about that. How do you tell stories that really excite and engage people? How do you find that really compelling, juicy story that people want to know about, read about or even care about? What’s the so what?

Also, one of my clients while working there was Kamala Harris—who is now Sen. Kamala Harris. Back then she was working in the city attorney’s office. She was trying to change the world, and it was so inspiring to watch.

Some others that I have to mention are Jim Dever and Penny Delgadillo Valencia here at SAP, who are great leaders and without whose support I would not have been able to build out the influencer marketing program.

It takes a community to help you build your career. I believe in nurturing talent and I’ve found it fulfilling to give back, especially to those who are early in their careers here at SAP.

It takes a community to help you build your career. I believe in nurturing talent. – @AmishaGandhi
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Meeting the Wizard

At TopRank Marketing we believe in taking a smart, creative and results-focused approach in everything we do for our clients, as well as our own personal growth. Amisha is someone who certainly exemplifies these qualities in her work as an influencer marketing wizard, being a source of insight and inspiration in the field.

Good witch or bad witch? What’s a bad influencer outreach habit marketers should drop?

I think one of the worst habits is approaching influencers with a “What can you do for me?” attitude. Instead you should be approaching them with a “What can I do for you?” mentality.

If they’re a good influencer, everyone is hitting them up. So you have to be coming from a place that offers real value—and I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about personal and business value.

Influencers are trying to raise issues. They’re working to bring awareness around topics that are important to them. They’re not just there to sell your product. I’m interested in building mutually beneficial relationships for the long-term.

Influencers are not just there to sell your product. – @AmishaGandhi #influencermarketing
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The Wicked Witch was defeated with a just pail of water. What’s one effective influencer marketing tactic that marketers often overlook?

I think that marketers often overlook the fact that you’re building something together with influencers. Collaboration is key, so I collaborate a lot.

Pick their brain. Ask them what value they see. Ask them what they think their audience wants to see. Ask them if they’ll help you build something amazing. When you treat them as a partner, rather than a participant, you’ll be able to create something more effective and meaningful.

Treat influencers like partners, not participants. – @AmishaGandhi #influencermarketing
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Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. What are a few tools you believe are key for influencer marketing success?

You should absolutely have a good influencer identification tool; it’s worth the investment. We use Traackr, and that not only helps with identification, but also tracking and measurement—which is important for seeing your results beyond social media activity.

We also use VoiceStorm for the employee advocacy, and Sprinklr for social media amplification. Of course, not everyone has the resources to invest in these tools, but there are some good free tools like FollowerWonk, Klout and Hootsuite.

In the end, it’s all about being able to tie all your efforts together to show success and how that contributed to real business value—which is kind of like clicking your heels and getting you home.

What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?)

I’m always looking for ways to drive and find better data. The better the marketing insights we have, the better our results will be. So, I’d ask the marketing wizard for a tool that can bring together influencer data, insights, identification, tracking and measurement linking it back to sales—something that can bring all the external tools together.

The better the #marketing insights we have, the better our results will be. – @AmishaGandhi
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We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Amisha for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches influencer marketing. Thank you, Amisha.

Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is just getting started. In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts.

Stay tuned for our next installment!

What would you ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview with Influencer Marketing Wiz Amisha Gandhi, SAP | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Supercharge Your Marketing at Digital Summit Los Angeles #DSLA

DSLA 2017

DSLA 2017

Coming off the supercharged sun, surf and sand themed social media extravaganza of SMMW17 in San Diego last week, I am now literally sitting on a beach.

Beach Costa Rica

Here on the West coast of Costa Rica, with the waves crashing, birds singing their songs in the trees and the distant sounds of kids laughing as they play in the sand, it’s a great time to reflect and look forward.

Before I completely check out of the digital world for the week, except for an occasional photo on Instagram of course, I wanted to share some of the things I’m looking forward to most at my next conference April 4-5: Digital Summit Los Angeles.

Last month was my first Digital Summit experience in Phoenix. DSPHX was an event of firsts for me: meeting the force of nature that is Beverly Jackson plus the legend and co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak. I also had a chance to see several really impressive speakers for the first time including Mack Fogelson and Eric Yale. I was impressed!

I can imagine Digital Summit Los Angeles being a great experience too.

DSLA Keynote Speakers

The speaker list for DSLA is an amazing collection of thought leaders including Woz and Beverly, industry experts like Michael King, Jim Boykin and Michael Barber and a huge group brand and publisher speakers from companies that include: Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Adobe, Forbes, IBM, The Economist, BET Network, Inc Magazine, Wells Fargo, GE Digital, BMC Software, BusinessWire and MIT.

Over more than 40 sessions, the topics covered include everything from data informed marketing to visual storytelling and purpose driven marketing to content marketing with influencers.

Of course, I’m a fan of that last topic since it is what the focus of my closing keynote presentation will be about: How to Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing.

Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

Confluence rules. Content Marketing with Influencers is an area of deep focus for me that I’ve been experimenting with for many years and that our agency has been implementing for clients that range from a $180Bn Fortune 5 company to mid-market companies like ClickSoftware to small companies like Pandora Mall of America.

The fundamental message of my keynote presentation is that marketing with content is harder than ever and if your company doesn’t do something to break through information overload and distrust of brand content, you’ll lose the ability to attract and engage customers.

The solution is a content marketing framework for strategically engaging with influencers to increase content quality, quantity, reach and engagement across the customer journey. At the same time, I’ll talk about how to build relationships with internal, industry and community influencers to increase advocacy.

Influencer 2.0 Cover

To back up the best practices, I’ll share trends and insights our influencer marketing research that we partnered with Influencer Relationships Marketing platform, Traackr, on. Brian Solis of Altimeter analyzed the findings and wrote up an impressive research report, Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing that attendees will be able to see.

The Influence 2.0 report delivers crucial findings and covers important insights about the maturity of influencer marketing within large enterprise companies, budgets, top goals and areas within the organization that are most impacted. Brian also shares the intersection of influencer relations with customer experience and digital transformation. If that wasn’t enough, he includes a 10 step framework for implementing an influence 2.0 approach.

My keynotes are “inspractical” = Inspiration + Tactical. Overall, I’ll touch on the best parts of the research report, include trends, best practices and share successful B2B and B2C examples of influencer driven programs to inspire attendees going forward.

If you’re a marketer in Southern California, this is a can’t miss event!

Skirball Cultural Center Los Angeles

Event Details:
Digital Summit Los Angeles
April 4-5, 2017
Skirball Cultural Center
Registration, Agenda, Speakers and full conference information here.

The post Supercharge Your Marketing at Digital Summit Los Angeles #DSLA appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The Next Evolution of Influencer Marketing: 4 Key Insights And What They Mean

We marketers love to chase shiny objects. It’s part of the constant drive to experiment, optimize, and improve. Any new tactic that looks promising is going to attract our attention.

During his presentation last week at Social Media Marketing World, Lee Odden offered proof of just how shiny influencer marketing is: It can potentially return $9.60 for every dollar invested. Campaigns that include influencers have shown a 10x increase in conversion rates. And those customers who convert stick around–influencer campaigns tend to achieve a 37% increase in retention.

Clearly, influencer marketing deserves the buzz it’s been getting. But most marketers are just getting started. There’s plenty of activity, but not much strategy. It takes a concentrated, strategic, sustained effort to fully realize the benefits.

Earlier this year, Toprank Marketing released Influencer 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing. Lee offered four key insights from the report, and what each means for marketers looking to take their influencer marketing to the next level.

What Is Influence? What Is Influencer Marketing?

Before we get into insights and best practices, it’s important to define terms. Lee defines influence like this:

Influence is the ability to effect action. Fans, friends, and followers are meaningless unless the…
Click To Tweet

That definition alone should change the way you approach influencer marketing. It’s not about chasing the most famous person…it’s about the person who best can move their audience.

Here’s how Lee defines influencer marketing:

“Influencer marketing develops relationships with internal and industry experts with active networks to co-create content that helps drive mutual value and measurable business goals.

There’s a lot to unpack in that sentence. First, influencer marketing means developing relationships, not isolated pieces of content or campaigns. Second, look for influencers in your company as well as outside of it. Third, you’re looking to create mutual value, value beyond compensation. Finally, influencer marketing can and should serve measurable business goals.

What Not to Do for Effective Influencer Marketing

Based on the definition above, avoid the following five missteps to greatly increase your effectiveness:

  1. One-Off Campaigns: Don’t activate influencers, have them contribute, then abandon them and start all over next time. Aim for sustainable relationships.
  2. Focusing on Celebrities: They may have a huge audience, but celebrities are hard to reach, expensive to activate, and their audience may not be the most relevant for you.
  3. Using Influencer Marketing for Ads Only: Our agency co-creates content with influencers–eBooks, blog posts, video. This type of content lets influencers go beyond endorsing your product or service to create something of real value.
  4. Only Doing Pay-to-Play: We’re not saying “never pay influencers.” But when you’re building relationships and co-creating cool stuff, you can have genuine mutual value without exchanging cash.
  5. Only Measuring Social Metrics: You can measure the business value of influencer marketing, not just engagement and brand lift. Start your program with these goals in mind and build tracking in.

Four Key Influencer Marketing Insights (And What to Do with Them)

Influence 2.0 draws on the expertise of noted industry analyst Brian Solis, as well as over 100 experts from brands like Microsoft, Adobe, and SAP. Lee dove deep into the data to present these insights and the best practices they suggest.

Insight #1: Influencer Marketing Is Underfunded

On average, companies have just 10% of their marketing budget allocated to influencer marketing. Half of the companies analyzed are investing less than $100,000 per year–which is a small slice of the pie for enterprise-level organizations.

As interest in influencer marketing grows, however, the budgets are starting to grow. 55% plan on spending more money in the coming year. 70% of companies who already have an influencer marketing platform in place plan to increase their budgets.

What to Do: It’s important to understand the opportunity for return on investment, Lee said. Think of what it will cost to implement a program versus the cost of losing access to the top influencers in your industry when the competition gets their first.

Think about implementing programs, not projects. Long-term relationships create the most value for your spend.

Insight #2: B2B is behind B2C

Fifty-five percent of B2C companies have an ongoing and integrated influencer marketing program. Only 15% of B2B marketers could say the same. Overall, 49% of B2B marketers say they’re still in the experimentation phase.

What to do: B2B influencer marketing is a different animal than B2C. You’re not likely to get ahead by paying Youtube stars to pose with your cloud-based network solution.

Start by engaging expert help to research the market, identify influencers, and develop a plan tied to ROI.

It also makes sense to invest in technology. It’s hard to start a sustainable program with a spreadsheet. Influencer marketing platforms can help you identify, qualify, and engage with influencers, as well as help with measurement and optimization.

To kick off your program, start by activating your clients. Start with people who already advocate for your company, invite them to co-create content, and scale up the content that performs best.

Insight 3: The Top Influencer Marketing Goals

Brand advocacy and awareness were at the top of respondents’ minds, with 94% and 92% respectively saying these were the top goals. 88% said reaching new audience was a top goal as well.

Sales conversion and lead generation were still in the top ten, but trailed with 74% and 67%. These results demonstrate that any marketers aren’t aware of influencer marketing’s potential for lower-funnel goals.

What to Do: Keep ROI-proving business goals in mind when designing your program. Make sure to align brand and influencer goals, too–when you have alignment with influencers, it’s easier to inspire organic participation.

Insight #4: Areas Most Impacted by Influencer Marketing

When we asked in which areas has influencer marketing made the biggest difference for marketers, 80% of respondents said content marketing, and 75% said social media marketing. These two are definitely the biggest opportunities; in fact, Lee said companies who aren’t using influencers in these areas are at a disadvantage.

What to Do: Social media and content marketing are the baseline. Beyond that, make your program more sophisticated by integrating it across the organization. Look for internal influencers in your marketing, PR, customer success, community management, and HR departments. Externally, look to industry thought leaders, your own customers, and journalists to round out your program.

Three Levels of Influencer Engagement

It’s easy to get started with influencer marketing. From the first stage, you can gradually grow your efforts to a sustained long-term program built on strong relationships. Lee identified three levels of influencer engagement. These are additive, not exclusive–we currently use all three at TopRank Marketing.

  1. Microcontent: Short-form content used as a “seasoning” for brand-created content. Think quotes, tips, and insights from influencers added to your brand assets. Microcontent can include influencer outreach or simply be curated from external sources.
  2. Campaigns: A campaign includes longer-form contributions directly from the influencer, like an interview for an eBook. You’re asking the influencer to co-create content, which you can repurpose–eBook to blog post to social media images with quotes, for example.
  3. Community: The ultimate goal for a sustainable program is a dedicated group of influencers that contribute a variety of short and long form content for brand communications. These are people who have relationships with your brand and your people, who co-create content motivated by shared goals to realize mutual value.

Everyone Is Influential

As Lee says, everyone is influential about something. Regardless of your industry, it’s high time to find and activate the people who can make a difference with your audience. Make an investment, make a commitment, and start building relationships that can lead to a long-lasting program.

For the full report from TopRank Marketing, Traackr, and Altimeter Group, read Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing.

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The Next Evolution of Influencer Marketing: 4 Key Insights And What They Mean | http://www.toprankblog.com

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20 Inspiring & Actionable Influencer Marketing Tips for The Modern Marketer

The heat is on for marketers to incorporate influencers into their marketing strategy. The problem is, the sheer amount of bad advice about influencer marketing can make it difficult to separate the good from the bad.

While the pursuit for influencer marketing success doesn’t appear to be slowing down, many marketers are unsure which direction to go. In fact, the new Influence 2.0 report that we developed in partnership with Altimeter Group and Traackr, 48% of marketers are still experimenting with incorporating influencers into their marketing.

The way that different organizations define influencer marketing vary greatly. However, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden describes influencer marketing as:

“Developing relationships with internal and industry experts with active networks, to co-create content that helps drive measurable business goals.” 

So if you’d like the opportunity to co-create content with industry experts but are facing some roadblocks, use the actionable tips below to help guide your approach.

Not Sure What Types of Influencers to Include?

Everyone is influential about something. @leeodden #InfluencerMarketing
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Don’t rely on just one source. Utilize multiple platforms and tools like Buzzsumo, Traackr, Onalytica and GroupHigh to find the right influencers for your brand.

Explore the use of marketplaces. Some situations may require paying influencers to participate. Consider influencer marketplaces like TapInfluence or Fango for augmenting with paid influencers.

Audience appeal. Success in co-creating content with influencers is that they are actually influential to your target audience.

Utilize a mix of influencer types. Instead of just focusing on the ever popular brandividual, include internal experts, micro-influencers, niche experts prospects and customers in your influencer marketing mix.

Look for influencer alignment. Focus on identifying influencers whose message aligns with your brand.

How Can You Create Value for Influencers?

Influencers are not just there to sell your product. @AmishaGandhi #InfluencerMarketing
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Create a great experience. To stand out in a sea of requests, aim to create a great experience for every influencer you work with.

Be empathetic to influencer’s busy schedules. Chances are, most experts you want to work with have a full-time job, and receive co-create requests constantly. Be understanding a provide adequate turn-around times.

Personalize your approach. If you don’t take the time to get to know insights about your influencers, don’t expect them to take the time to respond.

Be transparent. It’s essential that you are always up-front and honest with the influencers you collaborate with. Don’t ever pull a bait-and-switch.

Increase exposure. Individual influencers will have different objectives but increased exposure for an expert is a win-win situation for everyone.

What Are Some Ways to Inspire Co-Creation & Amplification?

Influencers help validate your own good content & helps promotes influencers. @JasonMillerCA
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Warm up the relationship. Your chances of success with an influencer greatly improve if you send out signals of credibility to them prior to asking them to co-create.

Make it easy for influencers to participate. Clearly outline exactly what you’re looking for in your outreach and give experts a couple options for collaboration.

Repurpose influencer contributions. Influencer contributions are pure gold. Instead of using them just once, find ways to repurpose and reuse the content they create with your brand.

Provide pre-written social messages. Again, influencers are busy people. Take a few moments to pre-write social messages that influencers can easily copy, paste, edit and publish into their social queues.

Share content success with influencers. A coordinated promotion effort will often lead to increased shareability of a piece of content. By alerting influencers of the content performance you can help inspire additional amplification.

What Makes for a Good Influencer & Brand Relationship?

Influencer marketing is about developing relationships to have influencers market w/ you. @amandamaks
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Keep in touch. Many brands will only communicate with influencers when they need their help. Make a point to nurture the relationship by reaching out on a consistent basis.

Build an influencer community. A mature influencer marketing program will likely focus on a core set of influencers that are aware they are part of a community and have developed loyalty to the brand.

Build brand advocates. Ultimately, you want to create such a great experience for influencers that they are inspired to advocate on behalf of your brand.

Be thoughtful. While many experts will not require payment for co-creation (if the relationship is solid), consider sending small, thoughtful gifts to show your appreciation.

Get feedback from influencers. Want to know if influencers enjoy co-creating content with your brand? Ask them what is working and what some opportunities for improving the experience might be.

Keep This List Close

It doesn’t matter if you’re just exploring influencer marketing or have seen some success already, these 20 tips should be top of mind for any influencer program, large or small.

What have you found to be one of the most critical elements for influencer co-creation success for your brand?

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