It’s who knows you that matters
Influence marketing has been around since near the beginning of civilisation. We used to call it social climbing in our personal lives, being seen with the people that mattered, being accepted by the right social groups.
During the ‘80s we really took the psychology behind that into marketing with the diversion of marketing budget into celebrity endorsement, associating our products with their success.
In our social media world we need to place influence marketing at the very centre of our strategy. Our credibility lies not in what we say, but in who is prepared to listen and talk to us in turn.
If I was a wannabe business guru and I’m seen to be a regular part of the Dragon’s Den crew conversations, whether tweets, blogs or whatever, some of their ‘stardust’ rubs off as credibility on me. Likewise, if I was a young fashion designer and am seen to be having cyber-social engagement with the likes of Stella McCartney, Zandra Rhodes et al., the same thing is going to happen – it’s only human.
So, the objective? To become regarded as an industry expert or leader. The strategy?
By creating an extensive online presence, to increase and engage new leads who have been influenced by our iconic, or at least, highly regarded connections. And that might be at any stage in the sales funnel, from initial awareness to close of sale.
These connections will act, by inference, as brand advocates, giving reassurance and recognition to our products by their status, especially in B2B and expert advice markets.
The tactics? Identify the influencers who matter today. Start to engage by joining in their chats on Twitter and Google+ ; reinforcing and adding to their comments and opinions. Get on Google+ Hangouts and Communities and get involved, use these conversations to grow your Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook networks, Create your own Twitter bio and check out other people’s using Followerwonk or a similar SEOmoz app.
Don’t go for head on fawning, use the content of what you say, how current and informed it is, to create the bond. Content is everything; original ideas well articulated and positive, perhaps responding to something the target has posted, will make many more friends than dull platitudes.
Finally, make sure they know who you are. Link your Google+ profile to your content, and your website. Make sure that finding out more about you is no more than a click away and get those influencers hooked.