I recently had a conversation with a work friend around Opt-In influencer networks and how authenticity is often impacted when recruiting people into programs this way. When I asked my friend to elaborate, it seemed that they felt opt in networks focused solely on reach numbers and lacked personal connection. I see your point, sir.
Although I agree that personal connection remains the most important factor in developing a successful influencer program, incorporating an opt-in approach can help streamline identification and ensure brands have an opportunity to research everyone interested in collaborating with them. Having a central hub to funnel creators who know about and like your brand is a fantastic way to qualify authenticity.
It’s 2017, people.
Social media follower counts don’t equal content influence and engagement. As a marketer working in the influencer marketing space we know this by now. The goal remains the same, to change consumer behaviors through influencer advocacy. But in 2017 that influence has to be based on the trust influencers have developed and nurtured overtime with their audiences, rather than focusing solely on growing their numbers. Last year for example, we saw a huge rise in micro-influencers as companies realized their target consumers were trusting and being influenced far more by peer-to-peer recommendations than direct brand advertising.
Brands CAN still maintain authenticity with Opt-In Influencer Networking.
If you’re spending most of your day keeping track of your opt-in’s social followers and traffic metrics, you’re simply wasting your time. Your energy should be going to nurturing relationships with your network so that you can activate influencers quickly when campaign or partnership opportunities arise. Having an “Always-On” influencer network to reach out to anytime is one of the most convenient ways to gain page views, conversions, and authentic earned media. Here are a few tips for maintaining authenticity…
Personalize the experience
For brands that have organic online fan bases already, opting in content creators using public sign up forms can be a bit scary. With a major influx of applicants, being personal can of course be challenging. To combat this, try managing your recruitment efforts using software automation like GroupHigh that allows you to deploy a form on your own homepage that links to your account. That way, you can automatically send registrants a quick thank you email with more information right when they sign up.
Keep in touch
We know that influencer marketing has downright incredible ancillary value, but its value can take time to generate, identify, and report on. That’s why relationship maintenance is so important. Even if you’re not actively running an influencer campaign, make sure you’re staying in touch via monthly emails, social media interaction, or other communication that keeps your network engaged. Offering regular opportunities for partnership, coupon codes, or free product can help keep the mentions flowing as well. One of our favorite brand examples is Bhakti Chai company, who has several CTA’s on their website for folks to opt-in and work with them.
Be a HUMAN
Word of mouth marketing is all about authentic human connection. As Lindsay Bell from Marketing Profs explains, “One-on-one engagement on social media tops any type of pre-programmed, generic promotional messaging. Delivering quality, human experiences to the consumer, whether at events or when providing customer service support (especially when providing customer service support!) will help build trust in your brand, and drive “word of mouth Millennials” to share these brand interactions with their communities.” When done correctly, recruiting an opt-in influencer network doesn’t have to be impersonal.
For more information about opt-in influencer networks or GroupHigh’s approach to network building, feel free to reach out!