OST hosted the 2nd Influencer Marketing Huddle in London yesterday in partnership with influencer marketing platform, Onalytica. The half-day workshop was attended by representatives of 45 brands and speakers including Tim McLoughlin from Hotels.com, Ryan Visser from VMware.com, Luke Brynley-Jones from OST and Sarah Goodall from Tribal Impact.
Here are 7 of the top tips shared by our expert speakers:
1. Avoid influencers who just want paying
All of our speakers preferred to offer influencers mutual benefits, rather than paying cash for services. To maintain the credibility of the overall message, brands need to work with influencers who genuinely (a) buy into their vision and (b) see the value in a mutual collaboration.
If the influencer isn't interested in the brand and is simply trying to earn some cash, that will be self-evident in the content they share. Working with them could provoke a negative reaction among fans.
2. Quality beats quantity
Brands are far better to identify a few key influencers and grow strong relationships with them over time, than develop an unmanageable programm with hundreds of influencers.
Managing lot of influencers, many of whom may be irrelevant to your brand, will dilute your brand message and result in a lack of authenticity (which is the death of credibility!). It's all about the long game, and as your company grows, your influencers and their influence will grow too. That's the whole point of an equal value partnership.
3. Authenticity beats reach
Tim McLoughlin from Hotels.com also said a fascinating thing: "We don't look for travel influencers, we look for connected people who travel". Elaborating on this, he suggested that the authenticity of 'real people' and the increased engagement that their fans provide, delivers better value for the brand than working with expensive A-listers whose reach is massive, but offer lower engagment rates.
4. Help influencers to create great content
Hotels.com shared a funny/sad case study in which an influencer visited a beautiful city (expenses paid) but then shared scores of close-up selfie videos without showing any of the city landmarks. The result was unengaging, pointless and costly.
As part of their influencer programme Hotels.com now sends a photographer to follow their influencers around a city. This ensures the influencer is in the video/photo but also provides the wider context that viewers want to see.
5. Brief your influencers
Our speakers emphasised that when you're working with influencers, you need to brief them like you would an agency. Be clear with them about what you want them to do, but also make sure you understand their side of the relationship. It's about give and take.
That said, influencer activity must always be authentic. Content should be created in their own way, using their own unique voice. That's probably the reason you reached out to them in the first place!
6. Influencer marketing works perfectly with Employee Advocacy
Although you may only look for influencers externally, you can also use the skills and audience that your colleagues/employees have. Sarah Goodall of Tribal Impact suggested finding colleagues who are well connected and keen to engage online. When they're ready and willing, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can connect with influencers as peers and be instrumental in building positive influencer relationships.
7. Promote influencer content instead of your own
One of the most fascinating points from Ryan Visser of VMware was his conviction that brands do better to encourage influencers to create content about the brands products/services and then promote their content via the brands owned and paid media instead of content on the brands own site.
The ideal of taking micro-influencers and building up their profile and web traffic is anathema to normal B2B marketing practice, but according to Ryan, can deliver massive increases in clicks and enquiries.
We'll be running another Influencer Marketing Huddle in London early in 2018. If you'd to attend, drop us a line via our contact page and we'll be in touch.