Done right, Influencer Marketing can be an incredibly impactful marketing modality that’s limited only by your vision and creativity. Rather than interrupting your potential customers’ online experience with garish ads, influencers who genuinely believe in your brand can incorporate your content seamlessly and authentically in conversations with their respective communities.
What’s exciting about Influencer Marketing is the fact that it’s constantly evolving, and there’s no “one size fits all” for every B2B or B2C brand. Success requires a nimble mindset, constant experimentation, a great deal of patience, and an unwavering commitment to authentic relationship building and storytelling.
To remove the guesswork from the equation, I’ve invited Marsha Collier, Mark Fidelman, Sam Fiorella, Erik Qualman, Magdalena Urbaniak, and 21 other industry leaders to share their favorite campaigns (which they’ve personally had a hand in delivering) in the free eBook, The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Playbook of 2018.
Here’s just a handful of them, with strategies ranging from newsjacking, creating a B2B web series that’s made for YouTube audiences, and community building to activate legions of micro-influencers around win-win propositions while promoting your personal passions.
Play #1 Marsha Collier: Newsjacking
“The Influencer Marketing campaign I personally thought was well done [and participated in] was Alphabet’s International Women’s Day Campaign. It was a resounding success in that Alphabet dominated the topic on social media.”
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 (as well as flex its world-renown data analytics muscles) Alphabet promoted the stories of everyday women worldwide.
Alphabet launched the campaign with a global interactive Google Doodle featuring 12 female artists – including American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, professional wrestler Ronda Rousey, and actress/film producer Charlize Theron. Each shared their stories and responded to questions via video.
Alphabet also released its global search data trends report on gender equality, which includes the top-searched how-to questions and issues on the topic. They brought the results to life in their Searching for Gender Equality video, which has racked up more than 36 million views. Finally, the team prepared customized graphics of the influencers for each of the women to help promote their findings.
Play #2 Mark Fidelman: B2B Web Video Series Made for YouTube
In 2017, Oracle commissioned Mark Fidelman and his agency Fanatics Media to spotlight 10 world-class brands (including Neiman Marcus, Mastercard, Vitamix, Rent the Runway, and Docusign) known for delivering smarter, superior experiences to today’s constantly connected customers. Mark’s novel B2B Web video series, entitled CX Factor, appeals to notoriously difficult-to-reach IT decision makers.
“To drive engagement, we focused on the human interest angle and pragmatic advice we can all learn from these brands, with only passing reference to the Oracle CX cloud services that power them,” explained Mark. “To drive traffic, we invited CX influencers including Shep Hyken, Mike Wittenstein, Chris Crandell, Stan Phelps, and Ted Rubin to come on the show to ask the guests questions, and later promote their respective episodes on Facebook, Twitter, and on their blogs. Tony Robbins also helped promote the series, which gave the series a big boost in popularity.
“Thanks to a combination of organic mentions, press coverage, and paid media, the shows generated 10 times more views and impressions than Oracle’s typical video content,” he added.
To drive leads, Oracle’s dedicated microsite showcases all 10 episodes and includes links to gated content regarding enabling CX services.
Play #3 Sam Fiorella: Build a Community to (Re) Build Your Brand
ECHO Means Business is a B2B Influencer Marketing campaign developed by Sam Fiorella and Sensei Marketing for ECHO USA, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of outdoor power equipment. The campaign’s goals included a change in brand perception among naysayers, as well as a repositioning of the brand among all constituents.
“Tactically, we built a website, social media channels, and a mobile app that formed the premier industry community and content hub comprised of a volunteer group of landscapers, arborists, and other ground maintenance professionals,” explained Sam. “In the group, fans of various product brands dedicate time to sharing their professional experiences starting, building, and managing their businesses with other pros to help each grow their businesses, earn more revenue, and/or become more profitable.”
“Strategically, we fostered and utilized content for first-hand use and feedback created by the pros themselves. This included articles, live interviews, discussion groups, newsletters, videos, as well as live events and trade show experiences.”
Sensei Marketing continuously analyzes participation and content to identify market demand and trends, buyer motivations, and decision-making criteria. It also identifies micro-influencers from within the growing community who align with the audience’s demographics to offer credible and trustworthy industry feedback, experiences, and recommendations.
Play #4 Magdalena Urbaniak: Enlist Micro-Influencers By The Hundreds
Brand24, a fast-growing social media monitoring company, enlists 100 micro industry influencers per eBook to promote who’s who compendiums for a series of verticals for their mutual benefit. Their most recent eBook, Top 100 Digital Marketers Report of 2018, gives Digital Marketing influencers (including micro-influencers) exposure while delivering incredible value to Brand24 audiences.
“For 7 months, we collected over 2.8 million online mentions of 600+ marketers from all over the world,” said Magda. “We used our Brand24 social monitoring tool to see who, when, and why people were talking about each particular marketer. This is how we identified the top 100 names of marketers people were mentioning the most.” These names included Jay Baer, Mark Schaefer, Sujan Patel, Joel Comm, Dorie Clark, Jeff Sheehan, Matt Heinz, and Tim Hughes.
“We put them all in one comprehensive report, which we launched in February 2018,” she continued. “It generated huge attention and traffic because of its content and quality. It helped us both engage our target market – top marketers in the industry – and generated publicity as a company that provides useful marketing data.”
Play #5 Erik Qualman: Promote Your Passions
When bestselling author and motivational speaker Erik Qualman runs influencer campaigns, he likes to take what he calls a “360-degree approach.” This means committing at least twelve months to any given project. Understandably, he carefully selects campaigns that reflect causes he’s passionate about.
“One of my favorite campaigns from 2017/2018 was a partnership with the NCAA which aimed to help educate and inspire student-athletes to build their personal brand on campus, online and beyond,” he explained. “Based on my book What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube, we developed a series of helpful videos and on-campus content to educate student-athletes about how to produce their ‘best digital self.’
“My favorite part, as it always is, was my in-person interaction with the student-athletes. When I say 360 degrees, I truly mean getting boots on the ground and meeting people in person – as well as digitally. Success was measured quantitatively via engagement, views, likes, retweets, visits, and more. Qualitatively, it was measured by the impact we had on individual students lives. Were they becoming better digital citizens? Were they helping to improve team morale?”
“In some instances, we prevented cyberbullying; in extreme cases, we may have even saved a life.”
By following the advice of these Influencer Marketing experts, as well as continuing to practice Influencer Marketing day in and day out as part of Nimble’s marketing strategy, our knowledge of the space continues to grow. While there is no universal approach to Influencer Marketing, one factor consistently stands out: authentic relationship building is at the heart of every successful collaboration.
Download The 2018 Ultimate Influencer Marketing Playbook to see more successful campaigns of 2017 and 2018, complete with success strategies, common fails and favorite toolkits.
Guest author: Jon Ferrara is a CRM and Relationship Management entrepreneur and noted speaker about Social Media’s effects on Sales and Marketing. In his most recent venture Nimble, he has re-imagined CRM by building a simply smarter social sales and marketing platform for Office 365 and G Suite. Nimble helps you prospect smarter, build better relationships and close more business everywhere you work. Jon is best known as the co-founder of GoldMine Software Corp, one of the early pioneers in the Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software categories for Small to Medium sized Businesses (SMBs). He has been recognized on Forbes as one of the Top 10 Social CEOs, Top 10 Social Salespeople in The World, and a Top 100 Marketing Influencer.