Is your influencer engagement strategy cutting-edge? Or yesterday’s news? Want some tricks of the trade to really shine? Luckily, the folks at Augure are on it, with The State of Influencer Engagement 2015. They asked 600 marketing and communications professionals (across 30 sectors in 32 countries) about the challenges, drivers, and best practices affecting influencer relationship management. Some of their findings just might surprise you!
Appreciate Your Influencers
Influencers continue to be a popular and effective marketing/communications tool, especially for 85% of small businesses in the U.S. For example, 84% of professionals surveyed expected to launch influencer campaigns in 2015. We also find companies devoting more of their budgets to influencer engagement. They view influencers as extremely useful for enhancing brand notoriety, and to a lesser extent, customer loyalty and sales leads.
These days, influencers are partners, not just “amplifiers” cheering from the sidelines. Communications professionals increasingly value and incorporate their input, encouraging them to co-author content and shape overall communication strategies.
Content marketing is now considered the influencer’s primary function (67%), far above corporate communications (32%). Perhaps due to Google’s complicated algorithms, SEO rates even lower on the list (23%).
It’s also interesting to note that, while the Head of PR generally manages influencer relationships at most large-scale American companies (32%), one trend on the rise is the role of the Content Marketing Manager, catching up at 21%.
Understand the Challenges
75% of responders define their main challenge as simply identifying the right influencers. Other top pain points include finding the right engagement tactics (69%) and measuring influencer activity (53%).
Contrary to what you might assume, even small businesses find these three concerns most pressing, as opposed to lack of budget (26%) or qualified staff (8%).
Make Your Best Practices Better
How do businesses find influencers? Twitter, digital monitoring tools, press and blog databases, and Google are the most popular—though least effective—platforms. Instead, specialized management tools (influencer engagement software and marketplaces) are perceived to have more impact.
Interestingly, the trusty press release has fallen out of favor as an engagement tool. Companies see more success collaborating on events, blog posts (i.e. guest bloggers, interviews, or mentions), and video.
And perhaps surprisingly, most professionals eschew LinkedIn in favor of Twitter (68%), blogs (54%), and Facebook (51%) as their method of choice for interacting with influencers. It’s worth adding that, among American responders, Facebook took first place.
Now…what makes influencers tick? It’s actually not money, but the prospect of boosting their visibility and reach (55%), followed by improving content (45%) and shaping their image (29%). Because they want to be taken seriously as opinion leaders, they look to brands like yours for extra clout. A smart business understands this and adopts a strategy that lets influencers express their views. Finally, influencers love to share high-quality stuff, so reward them with exclusive info, experts, and resources that only you can provide. You’re the gatekeeper…give them the right keys!
Inspired yet? Read the full results of Augure’s in-depth study here.