Influencer relations is the new relationship marketing.
Why this matters:
We can’t rely on one-way messages broadcast through traditional media channels anymore. Today’s consumers are more connected than ever and expect conversations with the brands they love.
This is where influencer relations come in. By building solid relationships with key influencers, you can create a dialogue with your customers that builds trust and loyalty. Yes, influencer relationship marketing is the new trend. Not because it’s a fancy buzzword or sounds cool; it works and can deliver real business value.
What are Influencer Relations?
Influencer relations can be a powerful component of your marketing mix. But what is it exactly? Influencer relations is building and maintaining relationships with key individuals who can influence others’ opinions, behaviors, and purchase decisions. These individuals may be bloggers, journalists, social media influencers, or other thought leaders in your industry. You can tap into their audience by developing solid relationships with them and amplifying your message.
You can start with these B2B tech influencer lists to get started.
There are a few key reasons why influencer relations are essential. First, it helps you reach new audiences that you wouldn’t go through traditional marketing channels. By aligning yourself with tech influencers, their followers will notice your brand and may even consider doing business with you. Additionally, influencer relations help build trust and credibility for your brand. When potential customers see that you have a good relationship with someone they respect, they’re more likely to trust you.
Influencer Relations is Not Influencer Marketing
Influencer relations are not synonymous with influencer marketing. One is not more important than the other; they are just different. I might refer to it as influencer relationship marketing, yes. This video breaks down the differences between influencer relations and influencer marketing.
The difference between influencer relations and influencer marketing is pretty straightforward. If I had to define the difference with one word, I would say “paid,” but more on that later. You are essentially paying an influencer to promote your product or service with influencer marketing. This can be a great way to get your message in front of a large audience quickly, but it’s essential to ensure that the influencer is a good fit for your brand and that their values align with yours.
With influencer relations, you are not paying the influencer. Instead, you build a relationship with them based on mutual respect and trust. This takes time and effort but can pay off big in the long run.
Influencer Relations: The New Influencer Relationship Marketing
Maybe it’s just semantics, but it is critical to understand the difference between influencer relations and influencer marketing. Words matter. Meaning matters. And in this case, our words can impact teams and organizations.
Maybe a little too dramatic, but let me explain.
I see it as an extension of traditional media relations, but in this case, you treat non-media influencers the way you would a journalist.
You reach out, build relationships, and send pitches and products for review. And then, it’s up to the influencer to respond. Sometimes this is referred to as earned influencer engagement. Influencer relations as a job function is usually a part of the corporate communications and PR team. This is because there is no monetary exchange, so naturally, it makes sense that it’s a public relations function.
Influencer marketing is different, and there are two components:
- Organic influencer engagement
- Paid influencer marketing
In both cases, a program like this will always start with rigorous analytics to identify the individuals to collaborate with and bring into the brand ecosystem. Influencer mapping is critical to this process because it helps identify and uncover new influencers that may not have been on your radar.
Organic Influencer Marketing Should Replace Organic Social
Organic influencer marketing combines data & analytics with content and storytelling that positions your brand at the center of relevant conversations with targeted individuals. It works like this:
- Use the 1:9:90 influencer model to find the right group of influencers
- Add them to a real-time listening panel using a platform like Brandwatch
- Monitor their habits, conversations, sharing patterns, and media consumption in real-time
- Once a trend is spotted, activate the data-drive content engine
It’s using social listening to monitor a core group of influencers and create content based on what they say. This must be done in real-time, meaning you must have an agile, creative, and analytics team.
I should also add that successful influencer marketing programs sometimes don’t require any engagement. It’s a matter of researching their conversations and integrating their words and language into owned and earned content and storytelling.
The result is that your data-driven content will appear high in Google Search Results. Also, there is very little value in organic social media. Organic influencer marketing can deliver better engagement, reach, and general social media KPIs.
Paid Influencer Programs Are Just That. Paid.
You pay an influencer or a group of influencers to collaborate with paid influencer marketing programs. Here are a few examples:
- Co-collaborate with influencers to create an ebook or white paper
- Virtual panel discussions or 1:1 video collaborations between influencers and executives
- Use influencers as content creators and promoters of content
Influencer engagement applies to both influencer marketing and influencer relations. It’s simply the back and forth between the influencers and representatives of the brand, either publicly or privately.
Final Thoughts on Influencer Relationship Marketing
Influencer relations is building and maintaining positive relationships with key online influencers. While they may seem similar to influencer marketing, they are different. Influencer marketing is a more direct approach that focuses on using paid sponsorships or endorsements to gain exposure to a product or service.
On the other hand, influencer relations take a more organic approach, relying on developing genuine relationships with influencers who will naturally talk about your product or service because they believe in it. Paid influencer programs should only be a last resort when organic methods haven’t worked. Ultimately, you must focus on creating authentic relationships with influential people to see actual results from your influencer relations program. Both are equally important and will play a critical role within the PESO model.
Q: What is the difference between influencer marketing and relations?
A: Influencer marketing is a more direct approach that focuses on using paid sponsorships or endorsements to gain exposure for a product or service. On the other hand, influencer relations take a more organic approach, relying on developing genuine relationships with influencers who will naturally talk about your product or service because they believe in it. You might find this influencer marketing ebook helpful in understanding the distinctions between each.
Q: What is the best way to measure the success of an influencer relations program?
A: While there are several ways to measure the success of an influencer relations program, some of the most common indicators include increased brand awareness, reach, and engagement.
Q: Is it better to focus on a few key influencers or build relationships with a more significant number of influencers?
A: It depends on your goals. To increase brand awareness, reach, and engagement, it’s probably best to focus on building relationships with many influencers. However, if you’re trying to target a specific audience or niche, it may be more beneficial to focus on a smaller number of key influencers.
Q: What’s the best way to start building relationships with influencers?
A: The best way to start building relationships with influencers is by identifying your target audience and finding the right people with the most significant impact on that audience.