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Influencer Marketing: Should You Pursue High Profile or Socially Authoritative Brand Advocates?

Posted on Sep 3rd, 2015
Written by TopRank Marketing
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  • Influencer Marketing: Should You Pursue High Profile or Socially Authoritative Brand Advocates?
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    We’ve been talking a lot about influencers lately – and with good reason. The right mix of thought leaders and valuable content can catapult any integrated marketing campaign into vast new heights and audiences. Finding and connecting with those ideal influencers, however, has always been the challenge.

    While there are multiple discovery tools available for influencer marketing research, identifying your influencers is only part of the battle. The next part is reconciling them with your overall program objectives. It’s here that we’ve witnessed disconnects between marketing teams and their executive leadership – and where the need for executive buy-in is crucial for any influencer marketing campaign. Executives may crave big names – chief executives of major industry organizations who may/may not have an active social presence.

    Additionally, any influencer marketing campaign should always provide value to your influencers (as well as your brand). In order to get the right influencers on board, it needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship.

    As you look to achieve executive buy-in for any influencer campaigns, recognize the pros/cons of social influence as the primary determinant for your research.

    Seeking High Profile Influencers

    Those who venture into the world of influencer marketing may dream of attracting major executives or thought leaders into their campaigns. These influencers may likely contribute regularly to high-visibility blogs like Forbes, Search Engine Watch, or their own personal blogs.

    Collaborating with a high profile influencer could add instant credibility to your marketing initiatives, though relying on this metric alone can reduce overall amplification potential.

    • Pros of Collaborating with High Profile Influencers
      • Immediate access to a large audience, with a variety of audience and traits
      • Instant credibility for your message with media, press relations
    • Potential Hurdles of Collaborating with High Profile Influencers
      • If social presence is limited, campaign might not have long-term viability
      • Getting participation from high profile influencers may be challenging

    Availability is the primary barrier for connecting with big names for your content. Assume that most high-visibility influencers are fielding requests like yours every day, and might not have the time to fully dedicate themselves to your program. Again, this is where the value you offer to the influencers you work with comes into play. Do what you can to make it easy for them to participate and clearly articulate the potential value to them for collaborating.

    Focusing on Socially Active Influencers

    When we look to define what makes an influencer, clout definitely plays a factor. But what if we also look for those who trade major publication bylines for frequent social activities?

    These are your potential advocates – influencers who already dedicate significant time to foster their social communities. They may or may not have the immediate draw of big name contacts, but they can offer sustained support beyond the initial campaign launch.

    • Pros of Socially Active Influencers
      • Built-in social amplification opportunities with current audience
      • Greater availability and variety in verticals and messaging
    • Potential Hurdles Working with Socially Active Influencers
      • Overall reach limited may be limited
      • Must build credibility overtime without well-known influencers

    Building credibility is the main challenge in collaborating with influencers that are socially active but are not high profile. However, they in turn offer greater opportunities for long-term relationships between themselves and your brand.

    Circle Back to the Objectives

    When weighing the decision to prioritize what types of influencers you pursue, it always helps to review the overall program objectives. Is your influencer campaign built around awareness of a major initiative or product launch? Perhaps you may want to consider collaborating with some high profile influencers to add credibility to your brand message.

    Conversely, are you looking to build a long-term campaign that dissects industry changes and teaches new processes? In this case, socially active influencers might be advantageous in that evergreen scenario.

    What combination of high profile and socially authoritative influences have you found works best for your organization?

    Image via Shutterstock