Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to think about each of these types, both to ensure you are utilizing all of your available influencer channels, and also to ensure you are working with them in the most effective way possible.
You will have a different relationship with each type of influencer, and the way you engage, motivate and activate them will vary as well.
Influencer Types To Build Into Your Plan
At some level, anyone that has an experience with your brand and your products could be an influencer. That includes fans/followers, those people that engage with your brand on social media, receive your email blasts and like your latest Instagram photo. They’re an important part of your marketing mix – your owned and earned audience. The key is to identify who has the most influence from those that already have a relationship with your brand and products. Would some be great brand ambassadors? Are there individuals and groups you should spend more time building a relationship with to maximize their promotion of your brand?
The first step in building a successful influencer marketing campaign is to segment your influencers into (at least) 3 categories:
#1 Micro Influencers (think long tail)
Most marketers are familiar with the long tail of search marketing (SEO). Brands used to focus their keyword marketing on just 5 to 10 top keywords. Eventually they realized that a ton of value is contained in not just those top keywords, but the thousands of other “long tail” keywords.
The same concept holds true in Influencer Marketing. Many brands today are focusing on their top 5 or 10 influencers. But the true power of influencer marketing lies in the thousands of everyday influencers – micro influencers. They are your most loyal customers and raving fans. They’re motivated by passion and interest in your products. Of the three types of influencers you should cultivate into your strategy, they are the most accessible.
This is also the reason Jeremy and I started Sideqik. We wanted to provide the tools and automation that allows any business to build relationships with and activate their micro influencers.
While these influencers may have less connections, their collective reach adds up to massive numbers for your brand. The typical ambassador has 500+ connections on social media. With the right strategy and program in place, you can build relationships with them and reach authenticity at scale.
#2 Professional and Semi-Pro Influencers
This group includes people that make a living from or are known for their personal brand, including bloggers, Youtube and Twitch streamers, executives, pro-staff, sportsmen and guides, etc.
Seth Godin talks about people and brands that have loyal “tribe”, a group of people that follow and listen to them. Often these influencers have found a niche and formed a tribe of people who value their opinions. An important aspect of working with this type of influencer is to ensure that their motivations and incentives are aligned with yours, while also maintaining authenticity. The best campaigns with these influencers are based on a real relationship with the brand, so that their recommendations are authentic.
#3 Celebrities & Journalists Influencers
How many marketers have heard their boss say “If only we had ______ talking about us”? Fill in any celebrity name, whether a movie A-lister or one of the top names in your industry.
Whether you’re looking at Blake Shelton, RGIII or PewDiePie, these influencers have massive reach. Nearly every customer at Sideqik has or begins working with celebrities in their industry by phase two of the Influencer Marketing rollout.
It’s serendipitous when a celebrity is really a fan of your company and you have a relationship with them. But most brands do not start with those relationships already in place. The problem with recruiting celebrities is that marketers often waste valuable time and marketing resources with nothing to show for their efforts.
The most successful brands have marketers that see the value in reaching not just the A-list names but also the next tier within their industry, in addition to their Long Tail influencers. Who are the athletes, players, authors, musicians and actors that your potential customers pay attention to? Who can you build authentic and mutually beneficial relationships with?
Success Comes From Quality and Quantity
Many agencies and tools will tell you that it’s the quality, not quantity, that matter for the success of your influencer marketing. While quality is always important, businesses see a massive increase in the value of their influencer marketing when they can scale their programs.
After having worked with hundreds of brands, I can confidently tell you that successful brands have found that marketing automation combined with a great influencer marketing strategy lets your brand tap into the best of both quantity and quality. Most companies are able to activate influencers that let them extend their reach by 50x – 200x what they could reach from their email list alone (link to article 2 in series), within the first phase of their Influencer Marketing program.