The Influencer Approach to Marketing

Written by Center for Social Commerce

Published on August 5, 2015

By Andrew Petro

After attending a BuzzFeed webinar, the concept of influencer marketing really started to click with me. The moderators discussed “Content Development for the Millennial Generation.” One quote resonated with me in particular:

“When you try to market to everyone, you’re not marketing to anyone.”

The theme here is that brands everywhere are not considering their audience. They’re sending generic messages to a group of people that, frankly, don’t care. Online customers in particular are irritated by this lack of customization. According to the 2013 Online Personal Experience study by Janrain, nearly 75 percent of online consumers get frustrated with websites when promotional content appears to have nothing to do with their interests.

For years, PR practitioners aimed to disseminate their messaging to broad audiences via large media outlets instead of implementing more effective targeting strategies. Professionals pitched big-name news outlets like The New York Times simply because they thought this would get their messages to the most people and influence them accordingly. However, these outlets don’t influence every group in the same way—especially in the digital age.

According to an infographic from The Shelf, blogs were found to be the third-most influential digital resource when making purchases. Forty-seven percent of U.S. readers consult blogs for finding new trends and ideas and 35 percent look to blogs for discovering new products. Sharing content through influencers was also found to increase conversion rates for brands.

Influencer marketing has been proven to be successful, but what is it?

This approach places a brand’s message in the hands of person that has influence over potential consumers. A buzz word nowadays, influence is defined by its attributes: Relevance, Reach and Resonance. But, what does that mean and how can brands use this model to engage with their audience?

Simply Measured, a social media analytics and measurement platform used by brands across the globe, defines these three attributes:

  • Reach:The ability to reach an audience that is valuable to your brand.
  • Relevance: The creation of content that is relevant to your brand, or relevant to a topic that’s important to your brand.
  • Resonance: The proliferation of engagement with relevant content by an audience that is valuable to your brand.

When organizations consider reaching out to potential influencers, they need to consider these three qualities a prerequisite to pitching—and they are not mutually exclusive. Just because The New York Times has a huge reach, does not mean it is relevant for your brand. Similarly, if someone is influential on one topic, this does not mean they are influential on the next.

If organizations want to cut through the digital clutter, they need to carefully consider their audience’s influencers.

Who is the audience? What kind of content do they find relevant? What do they engage with the most? After answering these three imperative questions, a brand will no longer be marketing to everyone and will be one step closer to increasing engagement and ROI.