Influencer Programs have been the buzz for some time and when programs are done well, there can be great business success. The key however, is getting it right. Here are 5 myths that could be hurting your bottom line:
There are many opinions on Influencer Programs and more than one definition of an influencer. In my opinion, Michael Brito’s definition works well:
“Influencers tend to have a wide reach due to their large social networks, and need to try and maintain independence and offer unbiased opinions as they tend to be category bloggers, journalists, etc.” This definition and more can be found in Michael’s book: Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Enterprise Social Media.
Understanding and getting consensus from management on the definition and role of Influencers in your program is key.
Myth No. 2 – Influencers = Advocates
While both are good and have a role to play, they are different. Advocates are more likely to be customers or employees. They have some sort tie to your organization.
Influencers, independent persons, who speak positively about your product or service, can be invaluable. The positive endorsement happens because the person believes in the product, service or company, despite not being officially affiliated.
Myth No. 3 – All you need are Influencers
Influencer Programs should never be considered in isolation. They should be part of a larger integrated marketing plan that supports top of the funnel awareness.
Myth No. 4 – Audience = Influence
When defining your Program and identifying Influencers, be judicial in your selection process. The number of followers or fans that someone has doesn’t necessarily reflect Influence. Remember that many people “buy” followers. Be prepared to review your Influencers. How often to do they share or comment in social? Who is in their networks? Do they interact with their networks?
Myth No. 5 It’s a One Way Street
Influencer Programs should be about building relationships. Learn about your Influencers and build an authentic relationships. Be prepared to promote and share their content and expertise. The more you learn about the Influencer the more he or she will be interested in learning about you, your brand and what you stand for.
This is my take on Influencers. What is your take?
(A version of this post originally appeared on the salesforce blog.)