It’s hard to consume any form of media without running into an influencer these days. Their massive followings and cult-like audiences can create enviable communities and, for some, the quality of their content rivals even the best agency and brand work. They seem to know their audiences through and through and, what’s more, many of their loyal fans feel as if they are listening to a good friend when their favorite influencer talks.

It’s a brand-consumer relationship most brands and marketers strive to have with their customers, so the rise of influencer marketing is really no surprise.

But how do brands tap into the veritable power of influencer marketing to create successful marketing initiatives that can be tracked? And when should they not bother at all?

In this virtual roundtable video recap, Judy Hackett, CMO, Emerging Businesses, Dun & Bradstreet, and Jim Lin, SVP, Digital Strategist, Ketchum reviewed the anatomy of a great influencer and shared ways marketers are leveraging the online ecosystem of bloggers and online influencers in order to successfully promote their brands.

Whether you are a B2C or B2B brand, it is possible to find a natural fit for influencer marketing in your brand’s overall strategy, but there is some inherent risk involved. As Lin and Hackett pointed out, though, many of the obstacles that marketers face when working with influencers are the same of any marketing initiative – showing ROI, effectively engaging audiences with a message, driving sales through stories – and can often be prevented by thoroughly screening influencers before you even approach them with a partnership.

Where and what to look for in an influencer? 

Before working with any influencer, remember that this process is a process that begins before your initial conversation. Brands must do due diligence to find the right person for their product and message – which is not necessarily the biggest person in the space.

Depending on your vertical and industry, finding an influencer that speaks to your target audience may take time, but even in the B2B world, there are celebrities in your space. Look to people who have industry blogs, reviews sites and Youtube channels. Evaluate your audience behaviors and watch the things and people they are watching.

And don’t overlook micro-influencers. Marketers who spend the time cultivating relationships with these influencers often realize the partnership results in a more specific and engaged audience, a more involved influencer (since they don’t get as many partnerships), a lower price for work and results that are just as good – if not better – than their mega-influencer counterparts.

The anatomy of an influencer

Once you’ve identified an influencer, Lin and Hackett provided the following notes to think about when evaluating if they are the right match for you and you for them.

  • Brains – They must be creative storytellers. Without that creativity, the message is meaningless.
  • Eyes and ears – Do they have an ability and history of identifying and reporting on audience feedback?
  • Mouth – Can they spark conversations about your brand? This is their starting point for your relationship with you and them.
  • Heart – Audiences understand influencers are paid, so heart lends to their ability to be authentic and transparent about their work and opinions.
  • Hands – How connected are they with blogger friendships, associations, organizations, and of course their audiences? Get the influencers that influence other influencers through their own relationships.
  • Gut – What is their instinct and experience? Can they communicate to you about their industry, audience, and platform?
  • Crotch – Will they keep it appropriate? Remember that when you put your brand name is on their content, their content is association with YOU!
  • Knee – Do they have knee jerk reactions to current events and controversial topics? You want stable people that think before they speak.
  • Legs – Does their content have legs that would stand on it’s own whether or not you work with them?
  • Foot – What is their cross-platform reach – it’s not just about a sole blog or social platform.

Watch the video recap of the entire conversation below to get insights and examples of how marketers are effectively launching successful influencer partnerships.

The Ecosystem of Brands, Bloggers, and Online Influencers

Judy Hackett, CMO of Emerging Businesses at Dun & Bradstreet and Jim Lin, VP Digital Strategist at Ketchum reviewed ways marketers are leveraging an online ecosystem of bloggers and online influencers to successfully promote their brands