Brands are realizing that the one-and-done, pay-and-pray influencer strategy — when you spend a big chunk of your budget on a big-name influencer and hope it brings some ROI — doesn’t often have great returns.
There has been a lot of talk around micro-influencers and nano-influencers, but picking someone with a smaller-yet-engaged following isn’t a magical marketing solution either. The key is finding the right influencer and engaging them in the right kind of campaign, run in the right places and at the right time.
How do you know when you’ve found the right influencer? You want someone who is regularly engaging with your target audience.
This is where an influencer graph can help. The graph will help you completely map an influencer’s content and the audience who actually consumes it, ensuring there is synergy between the two.
Here are three steps to get you started on your influencer graph.
Profile your ideal audience
Know the kinds of people you’re trying to reach. If your team hasn’t refreshed your target audience in a while, there’s no time like the present to do so.
Do you have existing personas? Be sure to go over those and update and/or expand them as necessary. While they might be up to date for your target audience in some aspects of your business or sales pipeline, they could be different elsewhere (on social media, for example).
Be as detailed as possible with the resources your team has available. You want to be sure this information is accessible to everyone who needs it, from marketing and sales to developers building out products and UX. Truly understanding your audience means keeping everyone in mind through every step of the customer lifecycle.
How does your audience’s needs change over time? Who is influential to them will change as time goes on and might be different in different places. Later in the cycle might be a good time to tap internal brand advocates as influencers, for example.
Map out the influencers
You can do this manually, of course, or you can engage the right technology and/or partners to make this process easier.
If you’re putting in the work to get to know your audience, chances are you’ll have a good idea of who they find to be influential. The key is map out their influence rather than simply create a list of influencers who might be a good fit for your campaign or partnership.
Where are they most influential? Is it just on one platform or across several? Does their audience differ between platforms? Do they have strong relationships with other influencers and, if so, how do their respective audiences overlap? How much does your target audience overlap with those audiences?
It’s important to have these answers ahead of time to understand the true potential of working with a prospective influencer. If there’s a lot of overlap between the influencer’s audience and your target audience, you should probably move forward with a campaign or partnership.
Don’t engage an influencer simply because he or she has a big following. You’ll be wasting the potential your campaign or partnership could find in someone who is a better match.
Map out the content these influencers create
Which content is your target audience consuming from these influencers? Which content is getting the highest level of engagement from your target audience?
With this information, you can formulate a game plan when pitching an influencer and, down the line, use it to better refine the content that influencer generates for your campaign. Knowing these metrics gives you the best chance of success with your marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is a trendy tactic to tap into. When approached the right way, it strengthens the base of your entire marketing strategy by focusing on the most important base element: the right audience.
And knowing who your audience is will translate to creating better, more targeted content that will, in turn, drive better results.
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