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[eBook] Influencer Engagement: 15 Ways to Fail & 25 Ways to WIN

Posted on Mar 31st, 2016
Written by TopRank Marketing
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    Influencer Engagement - 15 fails and 25 wins

    Schadenfreude (n.): Pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.

    Who doesn’t like watching a good fail? As long as the subject isn’t seriously injured, we can all enjoy a hearty laugh at the guy who slips on the banana peel, the woman who gets her shoe caught in a grate, or the kid getting bopped by the family cat. Even if you’re the one who fails, you know eventually it will be a funny story you can tell at parties.

    While these minor pratfalls are all in good fun, failing at influencer engagement isn’t as entertaining. Instead of a few bruises and an amusing anecdote, an influencer outreach fail can end your campaign before it starts. And there are far more ways to fail than you might imagine.

    But you don’t have to be a cautionary tale. There are more ways to win at influencer engagement than there are banana peels in your way. At TopRank Marketing, we create and manage influencer marketing programs for  some of today’s top B2B and B2C brands. We made the mistakes so you don’t have to. Over time, we have built a solid strategy for building lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with influencers.

    To help you avoid being the object of other marketers’ schadenfreude, we created a new eBook, 15 Ways to Fail & 25 Ways to Win with Influencer Engagement. We asked some of our favorite marketing influencers how people have failed to build relationships with them in the past, then added advice based on our years of experience.

    The result is a first-hand account of how to succeed in influencer marketing, with insight from both influencers and the marketers who excel at creating relationships with them.


    Here are a few ways marketers failed to engage our influencers:

    Reaching out cold: “I get requests from people I know really well every week. What makes you think I’ll make time to work with you if I’ve never interacted with you before? Take some time to comment on my posts, rate my podcast, review my book. I’ll return the favor in a heartbeat.” Andrew Davis, Founder, Monumental Shift Click to Tweet

    Inappropriate asks: “As in asks for promoting your product (books, webinars, conferences, etc.) in exchange for affiliate revenue: Please DON’T.” Carlos Gil, Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software Click to Tweet

    Asking too soon: “My pet peeve is when someone follows me on Twitter or Instagram and/or fans me on Facebook and immediately reaches out to me with a request to check out their business.” Kim Garst, Bestselling Author and Keynote Speaker Click to Tweet

    Using the wrong communication channels: “Sending me a message about LinkedIn using Facebook.” Jason Miller, Group manager, Content Marketing & Social Media, LinkedIn Click to Tweet

    Impersonal pitches: “When companies send out generic en masse pitches, like a robo-call, but via email. The personal touch can make or break an influencer’s decision to engage.” Chad Pollitt, Co-Founder & VP of Audience, Relevance Click to Tweet

    Lack of credibility: “Competition for effective influencers’ time is high, so reaching out using a Gmail address and pointing to a little known brand hosted on a hyphenated domain with poor design isn’t going to motivate anyone to engage.” Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing Click to Tweet

    Lazy duplicated messages: “When you get that really interesting Tweet inviting you to take a look at something and then when you click through to it you also see that they have composed basically the same message to 579 other people on Twitter.” Jon Jantsch, Founder, Duct Tape Marketing Click to Tweet

    Delegated, impersonal outreach: “Reach out to me directly yourself. Do NOT delegate this critical step to your marketing agency, PR professional, team member, assistant or intern. Do it yourself and make your note personal. If you want me to respond, I expect you to do the asking yourself.” Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide Click to Tweet

    Asking without giving first: “Not greasing the skids. Influencers are most likely to add commentary if there is some kind of existing relationship. This means at least some kind of history where the person reaching out has already been sharing the influencer content.” Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute Click to Tweet

    Being too salesy: “Asking for 30 minutes of my time to discuss a “partnership” – which actually means you want me to sell your stuff to my clients.” Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist, Marketing Interactions Click to Tweet

    Asking them to sell for you: “Your influencer is there to help you increase the awareness, association and consideration of your brand in a certain space – not to shill for you.” Gerry Moran, Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant  Click to Tweet

    Too much focus on the brand: “Don’t tell me your story, let me tell my story. ‘LESS fabrication, MORE facilitation’ = a boost to your Return on Relationship, #RonR” Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist, Evangelist & Acting CMO, The Rubin Organization Click to Tweet

    Placing too many demands on the influencer: “Set the tone and rules upfront. Influencers can’t be expected to take part in everything you do, so say that. Set the ground rules and expectations.” Bryan Kramer, President & CEO, PureMatter Brand Marketing & Interactive Click to Tweet

    Spamming with automated messages: “Signing up for an app that spams your “top influencer” with automated messages is a sure path to a rocky relationship.” Glen Gilmore, Principal, Gilmore Business Network Click to Tweet

    Failure to follow up: “Not following up with that blog post, eBook, or copy of the interview the influencer contributed to. Influencers are indeed interested in seeing the fruits of their labors.” Rebecca Lieb, Principal, Conglomotron LLC Click to Tweet

    If you have a few scrapes and bruises from your past influencer marketing attempts, it’s time to be an example instead of a cautionary tale. Check out the SlideShare below for the tips you need to start winning:

    Take these tips with you wherever you go: Download your copy of 15 Ways to fail & 25 Ways to Win with Influencer Engagement.

    Learn Even More Influencer Marketing Wins at Social Media Marketing World

    On April 19th, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden will be presenting the “Influencer Marketing Playbook: How to Identify, Qualify & Recruit Effective Influencers” at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. If you like what you saw here and want to learn even more from one of the top authorities on influencer marketing, be sure to check out Lee’s session details.

    Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing is a TopRank Marketing client.