November 14, 2017

The influencer marketing landscape has gotten really complex. In the past three months alone, online mentions of the term influencer have increased by more than 30% and

new types of influencers, new platforms/technologies, new ways of working, and even new regulations can make it difficult to keep up.

Below are three things we recommend you stop doing to help make an impact on your influencer strategy:

  1. Stop Calling Them Influencers

While celebrities, traditional reporters and bloggers were once upheld as the classic definition of an influencer, today’s landscape doesn’t rule anyone out. Twitter alone verifies more than 1,000 new influencer profiles a day, giving all types of people the influential blue check mark that consumers have come to trust. 

To avoid ambiguity and confusion among your team and partners, develop an internal language that everyone understands and is specific enough to help those less familiar – for example ‘micro influencer’ may not go far enough but ‘every day brand fans’ or ‘mindfulness thought leaders’ gives more detail.

The biggest reason to stop calling them influencers is that authentic influencers do not use that word to define themselves. They are photographers, chefs, lifestyle bloggers, etc. Be conscious that when you engage with them that they have cultivated their personal brands and followings with care and any outreach to them should not be generic.

“I don’t identify with the term influencer as it’s not what I set out to do. I never started a blog to become a blogger. I started it to share my passion for food and recipe creation.” – Kit Graham, The Kittchen 

  1. Stop Partnering with the Same People

The obvious choice is not always the right one. In the past, factors like reach (how many followers they have) and receptivity (would they be open to talking about our message or do we already have a relationship with them) were the only metrics used to determine partners because they were easy and accessible.

People with true influence will have a combination of several factors including scale, engagement, connectivity, appeal and receptivity. We at Golin call these types of influencers accelerators because they do more than just shout a message, they are able to drive a cultural conversation.

The catch is they may not be just celebs or social stars, they can also be members of the media, other brands, businesses, organizations, etc. It’s important that you audit the conversation holistically and look beyond vanity metrics to find these accelerator holy grails.

  1. Stop Having Your Influencers Share One-off Posts

There is nothing wrong with paying influencers to promote your message if it’s done authentically but often the relationship stops when the money/funding runs out. When you consider there has been a 25% increase in uses of #ad, #sponsored and #partner in the past three months alone on Twitter, you start to wonder whether consumers will tune out these messages like they do traditional digital ads.

By seeking out those already involved in the conversation or that have a sincere interest in your brand/message and engaging them in creative ways beyond just promoting a single message, you can save money and create a more impactful relationship that is mutually beneficial.

“For me, success isn’t just based on metrics but on whether or not the work is something I’m proud of and can share on my portfolio. It’s helpful when clients know what they like about my style and let me build something that capitalizes on my strengths. – Daniel Kelleghan, Chicago Photographer

Influencer marketing definitely takes time and it’s best to test/learn what works for your brand, industry or message. Start with these three tactics and you will already be ahead of most companies engaging in influencer marketing.

  • Develop a common lexicon for both internal and external engagement
  • Think outside the box with who you work with by considering metrics that get beyond vanity
  • Engage influencers in more authentic, long- lasting ways that give them a reason to be truly involved and excited about your message in a way that plays to their strengths

At Golin we lead influencer work and strategies for some of the world’s most engaged brands (including McDonald’s, Nintendo and Unilever) and have relationships with hundreds of influencers.