There’s a lot to agree with in this Forbes article by Nichole Brandt, VP of Influencer Marketing at XOMA:
Influencers should be incorporated into every aspect of marketing — from product creation to market research and all the way through campaign planning and marketing execution. Integrating influencers into every step of product development is the future of the industry.
Brandt then provides four good reasons to do so:
- Influencers are super consumers
- Influencers are subject experts
- Influencers create compelling content which resonates with their following
- Including influencers throughout the marketing process turns them from influencers to a more-credible brand advocate
The key to reaping these benefits is two-fold:
- Contracting with the most appropriate influencer
- Forming a long-term partnership between brand and influencer
Contracting with influencers
First brands must effectively identify the most appropriate influencer(s) to work with. Marketers need to look beyond the obvious metrics of reach and relevance and ensure that the influencers’ tone of voice and values are aligned with those of your brand.
Brands should also track back through the published content of each short-listed influencer to get a feel of the ratio of branded vs organic content. Too much-sponsored material from too many disparate brands is turnoff for followers.
Influence is accretive; it strengthens over time. To generate the most effective influencer work brands must trust their chosen influencers to create the content they know will resonate the best with their followers.
The relationship must be a true partnership – mutually beneficial. As the two entities get to know each other they can expose each other to new thinking and new creative approaches.