Influencer marketing is becoming a key area of attention for chief marketing officers who want to increase the impact of their brand on social media. But is it possible to build true ‘affinity at scale’?
The question raises critical considerations:
- Is the ecosystem large enough to grow my influencer target community X times?
- How can I move from campaign-based outreach to ongoing conversations?
- How much does it cost and how much human resource do I need?
- What is the best organisation to maximise the efficiency of our practice?
Our experience working with early adopting global brands provides us with great illustrations of the solutions that complex organisations implement to solve their scaling challenge, mainly around the four following key elements:
1. Influencer mapping
- Because influence is defined by context, audience segmentation is the most successful strategy to expand your influencer base. Think beyond your core product; look at interest points from your customer. Aligning with your customer journey can prove extremely powerful.
- Context being also about local communities and languages, expanding your programme geographically can be very efficient. It is relevant for leading brands like Microsoft, but also for local organisations with an international customer base.
- Look beyond social media stars: Although influence is concentrated in the hands of few people, Stanislas Magniant of Coca-Cola demonstrated that focusing on more influencers with smaller reach provided stronger engagement and organic outcome.
2. Sustaining engagement
- Planning your engagement for each influencer or influencer archetype gives you visibility over your activities’ frequency and is key to integrate your campaigns into your activation strategies.
- Setting up an always-on programme and engaging on a daily basis is without any doubt the best way to create proximity and relevance within your targeted communities over time.
- The WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) of Minter Dial ensures your engagement remains relevant: think ‘help help help’ before thinking ‘get get get’ to maintain the interest of your influencers over time.
- Don’t always solicit the same individuals who are your strongest advocates: work along your influencer funnel from the bottom up through the ‘engagement ladder’ and build a wider set of supporters.
- Automation? Well, here is the bad idea. Mass emailing or building campaigns through influencer marketplaces goes directly against what influencer relationships stand for: organic impact on conversations for your brand.
- Influencer programmes can be cross-functional and impact multiple teams within your organisation, which provides a great opportunity to maximise impact and scale through existing resources.
- Best resources to own the practice? There is no one answer. While Coca-Cola leverages its customer service teams’ experience, Orange created a dedicated resource to manage activities centrally and coordinate the different stakeholders.
- Externalisation can be a powerful option. Leading French retailer Monoprix has built a sophisticated programme across product categories through selected agency partners that activate relationships.
- Mixing personal and scalable engagement activities can help optimise resources, as implemented by Asos for its #AccessAllASOS programme targeted at its most influential fans.
- Global programmes leverage local resources. As Stanislas Magniant said: “You can give a general direction, propose materials and ideas, but influencer programmes are about relationship-building and require local presence to execute the strategy.”
- As John Hartley of Samsung Europe puts it re; governance: “Governing the many conversations is a significant challenge if you are talking to people about a wide range of products, across many markets, through many channels.”
- With industry bodies starting to crack down on disguised paid endorsements, compliance with local regulations is becoming critical; implementing internal controls and processes but also awareness and education within the organisation.
- With increased resources being invested, consistent KPIs and reporting become fundamental. A clear measurement framework such the one recommended by AMEC provides a strong foundation to scale investment overtime based on return metrics.
As organisations scale their programs, technology also becomes a critical success factor.
Expected benefits from the right technology partner should include: efficiency and increased productivity of the teams; data driven decision making; increased impact through prioritisation on the most relevant content and people; cross functional and multi user collaboration; adoption/UX; global footprint; and consistent measurement frameworks.
With the right technology partner, organisations can implement processes, stimulate collaboration, optimise their resources and above all maximise the impact of their investments and efforts.
Nicolas Chabot, senior vice-president EMEA, Traackr
Tel: +44 20 3239 2127