I really love pizza. I even consider myself a pizza expert to a certain degree. I’ve eaten lots of different kinds of pizza all over the world. I know a lot about pizza because I’ve eaten a lot of pizza.

What does that have to do with influencer marketing?

More about that later.

Influencer marketing isn’t just about getting a bunch of celebrities to Tweet or post your message to their followers.

Brands are indeed finding success by developing relationships with important influencers. This helps establish trust and offer more opportunities for engagement with fans and customers. And the best part, it happens more organically with a far more authentic broadcast.

But, influencer marketing isn’t about the brand or the influencer.

It’s about the customer.

Defining the right customer audience is essential to the success of any influencer marketing campaign.

So how do we drill deeper into the market to find that perfect message-to-market audience match?

Narrow The Demographics

While it’s easy to be lulled into a broad sweep when targeting people with an influencer marketing campaign, it must excite the targeted customer audience about specific things. This requires a deeper look into any influencer and their channel.

What are the specific things each individual influencer might be passionate about?

What are the sub-categories of interest that helps differentiate them within their market?

These are the important distinctions when targeting the right brand-to-influencer pairing. The subtle nuances which distinguish one blogger from another within a much broader category might be the very linchpin upon which an influencer marketing campaign succeeds or fails.

For example, if a food brand is looking to connect with a foodie audience for their new packaged vegetarian food lines, the broad category of “food blogger” can also include influencers who write about nothing but pizza recipes.

Recognize The Influencer’s Community

An influencer is going to be more concerned with their audience’s reaction to anything they promote. Their audience exists because they want to hear what the influencer has to say about the topic. The key to success in influencer marketing is finding the right message-to-market match that helps add value to the influencer and their audience.

Influencers typically aren’t one-way traditional broadcasters. They help foster a community around their topic, even creating discussion groups and forums for their audience.

Successful influencer marketing is based upon building quality relationships with select people and reaching their secondary, and in our case, third and fourth audiences as the campaign amplifies through sharing strategies. This is the result of understanding online communities and how information “goes viral”. By packaging a message as being easily repeated and acted upon, a community can better participate in the campaign.

This is the moment when a campaign becomes an experience for the market. A successful influencer marketing campaign will take on a life of its own, and add value to the audience… so much value they’re compelled to engage and participate.

The recent ALS ice bucket challenge is a great example of this experiential concept. While the campaign has been beaten to death by analysts and marketing types, it does serve as an example of a viral experience that even transcends the very purpose for which it was started.

Tailor The Influencer Marketing Strategy For The Community

When planning an influencer marketing campaign, painting a broad brush stroke across the entire vertical market is an easy mistake. Remember that each influencer isn’t just a gate-keeper to some treasure chest audience. They are people with individual ideas, goals, and passions. This might require efforts to tailor the campaign specifically to the influencer and their channel. While this creates additional effort, time, and resources, it can pay off big.

Providing something of significant, unique value to an influencer for their audience can solidify a long-term relationship. Paying someone cash to cut-and-paste some ghost-written content is one thing. Creating an entire media campaign specifically around the influencer and their channel is something entirely different. Each brand must evaluate the return on this sort of activity, and there’s no right or wrong answer. It requires case-by-case evaluation and testing.

In the end, influencer marketing success is always about the relationship – the relationship between the brand and the influencer, the relationship between the influencer and the audience, and ultimately the relationship that can be built between the audience and the brand.

Oh yeah, what did all of this have to do with me and pizza?

If you’re a food company with a vegetarian product to promote, I’m probably not your influencer.

How are you using influencer marketing to amplify your brand or promotions?

 

Michael Hiles

GenX writer, speaker, mentor, C-level digital, & tech business guy. Sold my first website project in 1994. The rest is history. Serial entrepreneur. I work with lots of startups as managing director of Founder Institute Cincinnati. Bourbon, coffee, Legos, things that explode. Husband & daddy.

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