“Not all influence is created equal, and we need to understand that.” With that Marcy Massura, digital and social lead for the agency MSLGROUP, began a session on simplifying influencer marketing, given today at the NAB conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
An influencer could be a paid spokesperson, a network of influencers, fan advocates, or employee advocates. The talk was aimed at online personalities (don’t call them bloggers, Massura warned) who have built followings online and are now looking to connect with brands.
There are three core reasons brands look to online influencers, Massura said:
- To build relationships. Strong community relationships can help brands in dark days, such as when they run out of marketing budget but still need to promote a product.
- To amplify a message, especially to specific communities.
- To drive engagement. Marketers love to see proof that their messages were seen and heard, Massura noted.
Know your value, Massura told attendees. While confessing that she once blogged about a pancake mix just for the thrill of getting a free box of pancake mix, she wanted influencers to know that they have something that marketers need.
“Authentic expressions trump passive impressions,” she noted. Why should brands work with influencers? Because influencer content is weighted more heavily. “It’s just human nature: We don’t believe the big guy” but could easily be swayed by a friend or neighbor.
Massura also broke out some marketing math, giving the equation Influence = audience reach (number of followers) x brand affinity (expertise and credibility) x strength of the relationship with followers. Even an influencer with a low number of followers can have a high value to marketers if those followers are highly engaged.
It’s not enough to be a big fish on just one online platform, Massura warned. Brands want influencers who have followers on multiple networks, such as YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. By building followers on multiple networks, influencers become self-syndicating.
For online personalities hoping to work with brands, Massura offered these tips:
- Act professional
- Don’t swear if you want to work with family brands
- Don’t post many angry rants or slams
- Always include a photo in text posts
- Create engaging content
- Don’t only shill for brands, even if you have that many opportunities
After a campaign ends, influencers should offer proof to the agencies that hired them about the metrics their videos or posts got. Doing so will be much appreciated by the agency, and they’ll be more likely to hire that influencer again.