The time has come where no social media strategy is complete without an influencer marketing strategy. Ten years ago, five years, two years ago, even, when you created a social media plan your plan focused on the properties you oversaw (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter) and the content you were placing on those channels. The great social media manager was the great content creator. The times are changing. Now your social media plan needs to be not only about great content, but also about the web of influencers you work with to grow your brand’s presence beyond your social media channels.

influencer marketing ROIWhat is an influencer?

Influencers are people who have influence over another group of people. There are influencers, online and offline, in a multitude of categories. An influencer could be a social media influencer, or a journalist or a politician or your mom’s best friend who runs the local knitting club.

In this case, the influencers that I am talking about are social media influencers i.e. those people who have one or more channels where they exert influencer over an audience, big or small. In this day in age, literally every single person who has more than one person following them is an influencer. To determine your influencers, you need to get crisp on your goals. Then you need to determine how you measure influence.

How to determine your influencers.

To determine your influencers, you need to start by understanding your business goals. Once you determine how having a network of influencers will directly benefit your business needs, you can begin to determine your influencer network. Tools like Traackr can be helpful in culling your first list of influencer targets to build a list. Once you’ve created a list, you need to, as Nicole Smith, Influencer Relations Manager at Intel, states look into the three Rs: Reach, Resonance and Relevance.

  • Reach: Who do they reach? Is it who your business wants to reach?
  • Resonance: What are they saying? Is it what you want your brand to say? Who are they saying it to and how?
  • Relevance: Are they relevant to your audience? Are they relevant to your brand? Could they in anyway hurt your brand?

Then you need to mix art and science. A human touch is critical to understanding and choosing the influencers that you want to engage with deeply.

Then what?

If you’ve successfully created a great list, you’ll begin to see a network grow but you’ll need to be patient. Unlike other social media tactics influencer marketing is a long tail strategy that could take months or years to see strong results. And yet, when you do see results, they can incredibly strong. A poll last year indicated that for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, brands saw a $6.58 ROI. To see similar results you need to start with a strong strategic approach and a discerning eye for cultivating the right talent.

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