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How a GREAT Marketer Befriends an Influencer

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Have you ever watched a reality competition? You know, one of those Survivor-style shows that puts strangers in a stressful situation to battle for a last-person-standing prize?

Don’t be ashamed if you have. I’m a pop culture snob, but still found myself transfixed by ten seasons of America’s Next Top Model. On that show, amidst the freak-outs and tantrums, I noticed one recurring line of dialogue:

“I’m not here to make friends.”

You’ll hear it on almost every reality competition. There’s always one person who alienates everyone else with that specific phrase. Usually it’s followed by, “I’m here to win.”

The funny thing is, in all the hours I wisely invested watching would-be models snipe at each other, no one who said that ever won. Not once. In fact, they tended to get kicked off earlier than anyone else.

It’s easy for marketers to feel like we’re not here to make friends. Even in influencer marketing, it’s all about that ROI. Influencer, you get me what I need, we’ll compensate you, and that’s the end of it. We’re here to win.

But just like the models and aspiring pop idols of the world, you’ll find that putting effort into building friendships pays off in the end. If you want influencers who are excited about working with you, creating work they’re excited to promote, it pays to cultivate a friendship. Not just from a, “it’s nicer to work with people when you’re nice” angle, either—it’s better for the business side, too.

Here are three ways you can cultivate friendships with your influencers.

#1 – Consider People outside of their Interaction with Your Business

This is a piece of advice I’ve given to marketers thinking about their customers, but it applies to influencers as well. Yes, you’re vetting the influencer for the size of their audience and if their audience aligns with your message. But while you’re doing that, consider what they do when they’re not answering your email.

What are they like? Do they have a good sense of humor? What are their hobbies? Do they talk about their family, their pets, their collection of vintage chainsaws? What kind of music are they into? What movies do they love? It’s worth doing a little digging to find out. And I don’t mean just social media stalking, either. These questions can start a conversation you might not have had otherwise. We all love talking about ourselves—give them a chance to share interests you might have in common.

#2 – Take – Don’t Fake – A Personal Interest

Last December, I got a greeting card in the mail. It had my name and addresses hand-written on the envelope, but no return address. Intrigued, I opened it to read: “Best holiday wishes to you and yours from your friends at [Insurance Company].” I looked at the envelope again, and this time could tell their hand-written address was just a handwriting font. Just like that, any illusion of personal interest they were trying to create was gone.

With your influencers, it’s worth taking time to express a genuine personal interest. Let your correspondence show that you have taken time to learn something about them. Send a meme that made you laugh, that you know they would love. Send them a vintage chainsaw to add to their collection. That thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Just make sure you do your homework under point #1, so you’re not faking the funk. You wouldn’t want to send chocolates to a diabetic, or a vintage chainsaw to someone who collects old Happy Meal toys. That’s just a waste of a good chainsaw.

#3 – Strive for Genuine, Enthusiastic Co-Creation

At TopRank, we try to involve influencers in the creation process as actively as possible. We make sure influencers know exactly what project we’re working on, why we would love their input, and which other influencers are already on board. We keep the enthusiasm up throughout the process with progress reports. We show them the finished project before we publish it so they can make final edits. And we always make sure to message them right before the project posts, to make it easy for them to promote it.

Compare that approach to simply saying, “Hey, can we get a quote about Happy Meal toys for a blog,” followed by…well, no follow-up at all. There’s no comparison.

How a GREAT Marketer Befriends an Influencer

Let’s face it: We are here to make friends. In marketing, as in life, friends make good things even better. So to help you cultivate lasting friendships with the influencers in your life, we created this cute-but-serious storybook with some key points to keep in mind. Read it to your kids before bed tonight…or to your significant other while you’re binge-watching America’s Next Top Model.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
How a GREAT Marketer Befriends an Influencer | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post How a GREAT Marketer Befriends an Influencer appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

It's plain to see that B2B marketers, at large, see the value in social media. The latest B2B benchmarking research from CMI and MarketingProfs found that nearly two out of three respondents (61%) increased their usage of social media for content marketing purposes in the previous year. Another new report shows that social content is atop the list of focal areas for B2B marketers in the coming year.

It’s also fair to say, based on various data points and conversations with folks in the biz, that most of us feel we could be doing better with social. The size of the audiences on these platforms make them essential to any digital strategy, but breaking through suppressive algorithms and showing clear ROI is a perpetual challenge for brands.

One pivotal key to excelling with social media marketing is understanding all the tools you have at your disposal. Each platform offers a number of capabilities that seem to be underutilized by marketers who either don’t know they exist, or don’t fully recognize their potential impact.

With this in mind, we’re setting out to highlight some of the most useful yet overlooked features for driving results on social media platforms. Today we're focusing on the channel most pertinent to B2B marketers: LinkedIn*, with its member base of more than half a billion professionals.

Take Notice of These 5 Marketing Tools & Features on LinkedIn

Whether your goal is building brand awareness, generating leads, or boosting conversions, these five fundamental functionalities can provide a big assist if you aren't taking advantage of them already.

#1: Robust (and Now Simplified) Audience Targeting

LinkedIn recently overhauled its Campaign Manager tool (the interface through which marketers build, manage, and measure ads) around an objective-based advertising framework. The basic purpose of this initiative was to make it easier for users to align every element of their campaigns with the overarching objective. One of the slickest improvements to come out of this is the audience setup experience, which is now simpler and more intuitive.

From a B2B marketing perspective, the depth of available professional targeting parameters is by far LinkedIn’s biggest relative advantage compared to other social platforms. Nowhere else can you accurately filter audiences based on facets such as Job Title and Job Seniority. This provides unparalleled ability to reach decision makers and purchase influencers directly.

The revamped interface makes it quicker and more straightforward to select a qualified audience in line with your campaign goals.

[embed]https://youtu.be/AAx60JxxWFg[/embed]

#2: Revamped LinkedIn Analytics

The latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report via Social Media Examiner found more than half of respondents (54%) either uncertain or disagreeing that they are “able to measure the return on investment (ROI) for my organic social media activities.”

This is another area of Campaign Manager that LinkedIn recently spruced up. Given that advertising on this platform tends to be more expensive than other social networks, it’s especially important to ensure you’re getting return on that spend. The new reporting experience makes it easier to see results at a glance, and make optimization tweaks on the fly.

The underlying appeal of LinkedIn’s targeting facets also applies to its reporting mechanism; you can get an aggregated look at who is viewing and engaging with your content (i.e., which companies, which job titles, which experience levels). These insights can help you align your LinkedIn strategy and even your content marketing strategy more generally.

#3: Content Suggestions

Can’t figure out what to share on social media? That’s a common enough challenge. The Content Suggestions tab, found on the top nav bar within LinkedIn Page admin center, offers ample inspiration. It serves up a list of third-party articles your defined audience is engaging with — essentially a readily available stream of targeted, trending content.

Not only does this make it easy for marketers and social media managers to find share-worthy content that’s more likely to resonate with their followings, but it can also fuel employee advocacy efforts.

#4: Website Retargeting

Retargeting is a popular digital marketing tactic, which involves serving ads to people who’ve already encountered your brand. The element of familiarity, plus a concrete demonstration of past interest, tends to drive considerably higher clicks and conversions than standard ads.  

Through its Matched Audiences feature, LinkedIn allows you to place a pixel on your company’s website, then serve ads to people who’ve visited it before, while they’re on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to follow up with someone in a different context. One especially savvy approach is to create customized retargeting creative based on the specific section of your site a person visited (i.e., upper-funnel messaging for someone who went to your “About” page, and lower-funnel for someone who checked out a solution page.)

[embed]https://youtu.be/SgXlOH-1pPk[/embed]

#5: Lead Gen Forms

This might be my favorite marketing tool on LinkedIn, and it definitely seems like one that more B2B brands could be utilizing. Lead Gen Forms are leveraged in combination with various types of ads, enabling your company to collect valuable contact info (and additional data about a prospect) from an individual who downloads something of value with minimal friction.

Unlike most gated-asset forms, which require a user to tediously fill out multiple fields, Lead Gen Forms automatically populate based on the member’s LinkedIn profile data. As such, it takes only a couple of seconds to get through the process. Because you’re attaining a more comprehensive snapshot of people who download, you can better qualify them as leads in comparison with other form-fills that often procure only a name, phone number, and email.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Xe1E59N6A&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

Step Up Your LinkedIn Marketing Game

LinkedIn can be one of the most valuable components of a holistic B2B marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier, there’s no denying it’s a pricier place to play than most other social networks, but you’re also paying for access to a higher-quality audience. Using the five features above can help you understand, segment, reach, and engage this audience efficiently while closely tracking the impact of your efforts.

Another underutilized tool on LinkedIn is video, which has been a key focus for the platform recently. Learn about all the metrics and specs for video on LinkedIn, as well as every other major social network!

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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