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Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing #semrushchat

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Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing #semrushchat

Becky Shindell
Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing #semrushchat

Many companies are now investing their efforts and resources into influence marketing. A new global research study "Influence 2.0" by TopRank, Altimeter and Traackr, outlines what is both working and not working for influencer marketing and also identifies its future trends. According to the report, 71% of marketers say their influencer marketing programs are either strategic or highly strategic. Also, more than a half of marketers believe that it will be integrated into all marketing activities in the next three years.

During our latest SEMrush Chat, we had special guest, Matt Siltala, President of Avalaunch Media, a speaker, and a photographer to talk about this powerful form of marketing. Together with him and our participants, we discussed tactics for influencing others and the pros and cons of influencer marketing. We also discussed how B2B companies can use it to promote their brand, which tools and processes can help you find influencers in 2017, and more.

Check out this chat recap to find out how to grow your influence on the web:

Q1. What are some simple tactics a brand or company could take to influence others they do not have authority over?

Understanding what drives consumers’ decision is a real challenge. However, if you are not influencing others, your competitors probably are. Many successful marketers are always searching for new ways to influence others.

Our chat participants shared tactics you can use to improve your brand’s influence on others you don’t have authority over yet.

  • Find the right influencers for your brand

The success of an influencer marketing campaign relies heavily on carefully selected influencers. Matt Siltala pointed out that you need to find real influencers who actively engage with their followers and then create a list a relevant influencers for your brand. Then, he recommended to find out if these influencers from your list have media kits. Carefully studying the influencer’s preferences makes it easier to reach out to them later. This information can help you to learn what they need from you. Then, you should also give these influencers a clear understanding of what you want from them.

When searching for influencers, you don’t always have to go big with influencer marketing. Instead of targeting only the most powerful players in your industry, you can build a strong network of micro-influencers who are relevant to your niche and can have the desired impact on your target audience. According to Eti Nachum, when it comes to influencers with a fewer number of followers, a large percentage will be people they actually know and are more likely to listen to their recommendations.

  • Utilize the audience of influencers

An influencer is the one who can connect your business with your target consumers. When aligning with an influencer, they bring both their audience and their audience’s network. As a result, an influencer will drive more traffic to your website and increase your social media exposure. You can spread your message to a broader audience through influencer’s networks.

Nevertheless, when searching for the right influencers to promote your brand’s message, you need to make sure that their audience will care what you’re going to say. You should think about the topic they would pay attention to.  

  • Build trust

People tend to purchase from companies that they know, because these brands seem more trustworthy to them. The bottom line is that the more your audience trusts you, the higher chance they will choose your product among other similar products. To build trust with your audience, you need to be honest, open, consistent, and available at all times.

  • Honesty. Be honest with your consumers and be able to admit your mistakes. Don’t try to cover up your own faults because people will know about it. If they see that you’re trying to hide your mistakes, instead of admitting them, they will no longer trust you.

  • Openness. Be clear and have open communication with your audience. Provide them with all important information they may need.

  • Consistency. Being consistent generates trust and promotes clarity. For example, if you provide content on a consistent basis, your audience members will make visiting your blog a habit, because they will be expecting what you’ve promised.

  • Availability. For companies that provide immediate responses to their users, it’s much easier to gain their audience’s trust. People will be grateful, if you answer their questions as soon as possible. “Develop trust. The more people trust your brand, the more likely they will be to follow what you say,” tweeted AcceleratorMarketing‏ @AcceleratorMktg.

  • Share problem-solving content

High-quality content that solves users’ problems is a powerful tool for influencing consumer behavior. Every piece of content you produce should be designed to influence your audience to like your brand, listen to it, talk about it, and buy from it. To craft your quality, problem-solving content, you need carefully analyze your audience, their preferences, and pain points, establish your purpose, and provide a real value.

  • Be a leader that people want to follow

Bill Slawski mentioned several important tactics to influence others. All these techniques come down to the main idea of being a leader that people want to follow. You need to develop skills that make a great, ‘follow-worthy’ leader. This includes being authoritative and helpful, sharing quality content and useful resources, communicating with your audience and showing respect to them.  

Matt Siltala also made a great point saying that you need to be real: “The main thing here is relationship building and making sure that is your main focus. Be real.” This will help you look more authentic and trustworthy.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q1

Influence marketing is all about relationships. If done right, these relationships can help you to better influence your audience and gain more advocacy for your brand.

Q2. In the wake of the Fyre Festival fiasco, do you believe the effectiveness of celebrity influencers will take a hit? Why/why not?

By now you have probably heard about the Fyre Festival fiasco that different medias have been discussing lately. The organizers hired 400 Instagram influencers, including professional football players, surfers, producers, DJ, and famous models, who promised luxury and exclusivity. But contrary to the high expectations, visitors were ‘surprised’ by what they were offered: bread, cheese, and salad with dressing and disaster relief tents.

What does this mean for the future of celebrity influencers who promoted the event so heavily?

Matt Siltala pointed out that people love celebrities and can turn a blind eye to practically anything as long as they keep doing what they do best. However, he also believes that influencers will now pay more attention to the things they promote.

Some people tend to put blind trust in what top-tier influencers are saying. Situations like the one with Fyre Festival may encourage them to pay more careful attention to celebrities’ words.

Companies use celebrity influencers because they deliver credibility and trust. However, brands need to think more strategically. Paying celebrity doesn’t necessarily guarantee success and the outcome a company may expect. 

As influence marketing is increasing in popularity, an increasing number of influencers are also exploiting their high status. However, along with the rising trend, consumer mistrust is also growing. People may now be abandoning those influencers whose social media profiles are flooded with advertising and marketing. If celebrities are simply being paid to promote, it may be not the best approach.

In order to create a genuine connection between an influencer and your brand, it's important to make this connection based on something more than just money. As a brand, you should build long-term relationships with celebrities, or even a single celebrity, who is right for your brand so you can better earn your audience’s trust.

Paying influencers has its pros and cons: “let’s face it, celebrities and brand endorsements are always going to be tricky and with potential pitfalls” Andy Drinkwater‏ @iqseo. But with the right, more strategic approach, you can get the desired results and get access to thousands upon thousands people.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q2

As you can see, our chat guests believe that no matter what, people will always listen to celebrities. However, influencers now need to pay more attention to what they are saying.

Q3. What are the pros and cons of influencer marketing? How lucrative is it to a business?

Influencer marketing has big potential payoffs. However, implementing an effective influencer marketing campaign can be both complicated and time-consuming. Before investing your time and resources into it, you can evaluate some pros and cons of influence marketing:

Pros of influencer marketing

  • Selling products. The most obvious benefit of influencer marketing is that it can sell products. According to eMarketer, 54% of female consumers purchased a product or service after seeing it in an influencer’s post. 

  • Generating awareness. By working with the right influencers, companies can significantly increase their brand awareness. It’s especially useful for those businesses that are trying to fight their way into a highly competitive space.

  • Exposing your content to a new audience. Influencer marketing can help you attract new people to your content. Before publishing a piece of content, you can reach out to an influencer and ask them to share their point of view on your topic. By getting a killer quote from an industry expert you can expose your content to a much broader audience.  

Cons of influencer marketing

  • High expenses. Implementing an effective influencer marketing campaign can be expensive. What’s more, without a proper research that can help you find the right influencers, all money will be wasted:

  • Saturation. Different companies use the same influencers, therefore the market of influencer marketing is becoming increasingly saturated. As a result, Val Vesa‏ suggests that the same influencers can even become spammy. In the oversaturated advertising world, people want a more authentic, personal, and trustworthy voice.

  • Challenges of measuring impact. Measuring influencer marketing campaigns is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face. According to Linqia’s report, 78% of the marketers surveyed said that measuring influencer marketing ROI will be their top challenge in 2017. These campaigns are usually run alongside other marketing activities, which is why it can be difficult to understand which conversions were generated by influencer marketing efforts.

Andy Drinkwater‏ also mentioned that your choice of whether or not to implement influencer marketing largely depends on your audience: “It depends a lot on the audience. If I saw a celebrity promoting SEO tools, I might not take any notice.”

SEMrush Chat Recap Q3

Influencer marketing provides multiple opportunities, however, it does present certain risks. Evaluating its pros and cons our chat participants mentioned can help you to decide if influencer marketing is the right choice for your brand.

Q4. Say you’re a B2B company, how could you use influencer marketing to promote your brand?

Influencer marketing can be effective not only for consumer brands, but for B2B companies as well. B2B companies have a great opportunity to connect with industry influencers who serve as thought leaders in their niche. Here are some things to bear in mind when planning an influencer marketing campaign for your B2B company:

  • Research. This process is crucial for both B2B and B2C companies. You need to determine who and what your target audience is influenced by and then pick industry influencers who are the right for your brand. Once you have a solid understanding of your specific influencers, you need to collect as much information as possible about them and then try to reach out to them. Keep in mind that you should not only focus on the most well-known names in your niche, you can also turn your attention to the new thought leaders and up-and-comers. “Do your research and don't pick the first one out of the bag. Credentials can be a huge bonus in these circumstances,” pointed out Andy Drinkwater‏.

  • Mutually beneficial partnership. Smart B2B companies invest their efforts in building mutually beneficial relationships and making multiple connections. By influencing their followers about your company other businesses may be able to help you to establish your brand and your reputation, and vice versa. “This is where the influencer being real is a big deal, and it’s less about the platform and more about the influencer,” tweeted Matt Siltala‏.

  • Social media influencers. Building solid relationships with social media influencers in your industry can be very beneficial for your business, regardless of their size. Because social media influencers are those who can build relationships for you by reaching your customers through their blogs and social networks.

  • Asking influencers for a review. You can try to ask an influencer in your industry for a review. However, if you ask them to review your product or service when it doesn't align with an influencer's purpose, they are likely to be annoyed that you wasted their time. Therefore, you need to respect influencers’ time and follow their guidelines. Also, it's important reach out to influencers in a way that makes it clear what you want from them.  

If you define the right influencers for your business and develop a clear influencer strategy, you can significantly increase your B2B brand’s visibility, gain new audiences, and expand your message reach.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q4

To find out more on the topic, you can also check out three essential questions and answers that B2B marketers need to consider by Lee Odden.

Q5. What are the best tools or processes you would suggest to find influencers in 2017?

So far we’ve been discussing different influencer marketing techniques, however, before leveraging that influence to build your own authority and increase your brand’s visibility, you need to know who these influencers are and where to find them. Thankfully, there are multiple influencer marketing platforms and tools. Here are some resources that our chat participants use to find influencers:

If you aren't working with the right people, there's no point in doing influencer marketing. When searching for influencers, you need to look at how aligned their messaging is with your brand.

Regardless of whether or not your desired influencer rejects your proposal to work together or to provide a review of your product, you don’t have to stress about it. There are many other influencers to reach out to in your industry.  “Understand if one influencer says no, there are many more to approach,” tweeted Matt Siltala‏.

Also, keep in mind that many of your clients are your influencers as well. Therefore, you need to make sure that your marketing campaign fits in with your audience. 

Let’s sum up.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q5

That’s it for today!

Many thanks to Matt Siltala and our other chat guests for providing great insights into how to find and network with your influencers.

What are your predictions for the future of influencer marketing? We would love to hear your thoughts!  

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Becky Shindell is the US Social Media Manager at SEMrush and host of the weekly #SEMrushchat. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter. You can find Becky at many of the US Digital Marketing Conferences, feel free to say hi!
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