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Influencer relations - What can/should you give back?

I recently read a piece on Forbes entitled “How To Get Industry Influencers To Boost Your Social Media Reach” which is basically a how-to for marketers. But should that be the goal? Are you looking to just plaster a market with news and cross your fingers that connections will be made? There are two things in the marketing world that we are not short on – data and people and with the tools that are out there today, public relations and marketing communications pros/agencies should be able to provide much more value than identification of those with large followings. In today’s social media world you can close your eyes, point your mouse and click and say you hit an influencer. But does that person do you, your brand or client any good? We are doing a good amount of work with influencers for our clients today and recently have been spending more and more time on the insights of who these influencers truly are. Taking it to the next level and answering questions like - What do they really share? What do they comment on? How can their POVs help our clients and how can our clients help them?

These are all questions that we want to answer but the most important one is how can we help them. That is what is missing in influencer relations today. Today you hear a lot about influencer marketing and influencer relations and most of the time it is tied directly to the question, “What can you do for me”. There are way too many people in the business world that only engage when they want something from you or need something. Those people are easy to spot and really don’t do anything for you or your business as they view it as a one-way street. The individuals that view influencer relations as a two-way street are the ones that are able to get the most out of the program. But how do you get to this point?

Understanding what the influencers you are targeting really need or focus on goes a long way and is not something that is produced overnight. It takes time. One example I’ve been working on is taking upwards of 60-days to truly breakdown the discussions and followers of a certain market and then we’re going to create insights to each of our clients targeted persona, a content calendar and integrated communications roadmap filled with visuals, videos, off-line and written content tactics that are directed right at these people – each a personalized and tailored experience. And one of the first things we’re going to do is put a plan in place to provide our client with some thoughts and ideas on how they can provide the influencers with valuable content and insights for their audience. We need to be able to show that we are in this together and really do care about the market and community they’ve built. Over time our goal is to create a true relationship and brand ambassadors that are tied to true experiences and sharing of ideas, thoughts and insights.

How are you engaging with influencers today? Have you been able to take the time and get to know those brands or people that influence your target audience? What has worked for you? Let’s share some thoughts, ideas and experiences