Producing various types of brand content on multiple online platforms is a must for businesses today. Creating website content, blogs and social media posts that inspire and are easily shared is the secret to growing a strong, loyal customer base and following.
One great way to acquire content for your brand is to enlist the help of one or more brand influencers — savvy people with large audiences of their own — to champion your brand. Similar to entertainment celebrities and sports personalities who are hired as ‘brand ambassadors’ to speak for companies and reflect those companies’ images and values, brand influencers are the celebrities of the Web, hired to speak for companies online and influence consumers via word of mouth through their vast ‘reach.’
In the social media world, a brand influencer with a large reach and a vibrant, trusted social voice is invaluable. According to research released last month by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX), American social media users ages 18-64 spend an average of 3.2 hours per day “socializing” online. But how do you find the brand influencer that will reach your target demo and that’s perfect for your needs?
Look In Your Own Backyard
Chances are, the best brand influencers for your company are people you’ve already encountered online. Endeared to your brand, they’ve talked to you on your website or social media networks and have talked about you to people on their own sites and networks. They love your brand and are, perhaps, just waiting for you to notice them. So, take a long look at the people who are communicating most with you on Facebook and Twitter. Are they at the top of their fields and known for their insightful or flattering comments? Are they thoughtful? Authentic? Do those they engage consider them thought leaders? If so, reach out to them!
Use Your Connections to Strategize
A lot of my clients ask me to connect them to influential fashion bloggers, but with over 11,000 fashion blogs listed on Technorati, finding those that are the most influential would be a monumental task. To tackle this problem, I suggest that they use their current connections to network in very strategic ways. If they sift through their networks like a media buyer sifts through known influential publications, they will find people with followers that match their target demos.
Authenticity Is Job One
By far, the most important quality in a brand influencer is authenticity. If your spokesperson’s voice resonates as false, your customers and fans will quickly question his (and by extension, your) honesty and commitment. You want to make sure the person you choose is a match for your brand, a perfect mix of creativity, knowledge, and professionalism, and never comes across as sales-y or phony.
Shari Rudolph, co-founder and CMO of Bonfaire, Inc., explains the importance of the brand ambassador in the online accessory store’s overall marketing mix. “Our brand ambassadors have been carefully selected as key influencers in their respective fields and social networks. They are not all fashion bloggers, but they (and their followers) are exactly the type of women we want to represent our ideal target consumer. We believe that each ambassador should present Bonfaire and communicate our value proposition in an authentic ways that resonate with the real women love to our brand. Our brand ambassadors’ word-of-mouth endorsements go much further than any form of paid advertising.”
Make an Offer that’s on Par with Value
Once you’ve found the perfect brand influencer, you must decide what to offer — exposure, product, salary, tickets to events, or some other form of payment. Remember, compensation, in any form, should reflect the position’s worth to the company. While it might be tempting to offer exposure in an attempt to save money, don’t lose sight of the value of a good influencer.
Create and Engage!
A key component of your marketing mix, your brand influencer will cut through all of the advertisement noise of any campaign. Speaking authentically to your audiences on multiple platforms, he or she will champion your brand in imaginative and highly-rewarding ways.
This article was originally published on the 21st of Feb, 2013 on SocialMediopolis
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