Working with industry-influencers is an important element of an advanced marketing effort — as Wendy Marx explains in AdvertisingAge.
As Marx details — influencer marketing is the development of ongoing relationships with respected industry influentials (e.g blogger, writers, consultants and others) — who engage devoted audiences via close connections with brands and companies. Influencer marketing, therefore, helps to uniquely and significantly amplify a brand to key audiences in ways other marketing efforts do not.
Social media has increased the importance of influencers
“For seemingly forever, marketers have used influential people to sell a product or service”, Marx writes. “What’s new is social media and the internet, which give more people an opportunity to be an influencer, as well as easier ways to engage.” And as Catherine Heath explains succinctly: “Influencers have always existed, and the internet is their new medium.”
Influencer marketing remains “under-utilized”
But as Marx details — influencer marketing is under-utilized: “According to a recent survey by Traackr and Top Rank Marketing, 43% of companies report being in the experimental stages of influencer marketing; another 28% said their programs are tactical. The numbers are more lopsided on the B2B side: just 15% of B2B marketers report having an ongoing, integrated program.”
Professional services and influencer marketing
As Angela Antenero has written — “financial services influencers include journalists, finance writers, bloggers, company stakeholders and executives, industry bodies and even satisfied clients of companies themselves who happily promote a product or service within their networks.” This analysis can be equally applied to other professional services firms in law, governmental relations and accounting, among other specialisms.
Antenero also explains that influencers have three things in common: “a following, trust and… the ability to guide their audience.” “In a saturated digital world” she explains, “with so many voices competing for attention – those with social influence are becoming increasingly needed for financial services to target, giving them an edge to cut through the noise.”
Law Firm Suites details on their blog 4 ways influencer marketing can help law firms:
- A lower cost than a majority of other marketing techniques
- A higher average marketing ROI
- Provides access to a much larger audience
- Receiving a recommendation from a trusted source increases your firm’s credibility
How to work with influencers
Melissa Coito explains in ThriveHive that: “Reaching out to bloggers and social media influencers should be a thoughtfully planned and executed process” — focused on developing a mutually beneficial relationship.
Once you’ve identified appropriate influencers — establish the relationship via some initial engagement on social media – then follow-up with a personalized email. Should that influencer then express an interest in working with you — determine an appropriate, specific offer. Then track the results of influencer collaborations and seek to establish “ongoing brand ambassador relationships”.
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