If you’ve been working social media or word-of-mouth marketing for long, it shouldn’t surprise you that 16% of Web users create 80% of brand impressions. WOM marketers have operated under an 80/20 principle for a long time — now they’ve got the data to back it up.
But now that we have this information, what do we do with it? How do we take this information about an influencers’ role in creating brand impressions and turn it into something we can use? I think there are three natural questions that stem from these reports.
How do I identify the connectors and mavens who speak to my target audience? By their very nature, influencers want to be found. They tend to be active and visible in their communities. If you’re not sure who you should be talking to, that may be a sign that you need to learn more about your target community.
How much of my energy should I put into engaging influencers? Anyone who has ever tried to win over an influencer knows what a time sink it can be. You can spend hours pitching to one person and come up empty again and again. So, take a diversified approach. Think of your marketing plan the way you would a stock portfolio. You want a mixture of risk and reward levels. Pitching to connectors and mavens is a high-risk, high-reward scenario. Make sure you balance those efforts with campaigns that aren’t all-or-nothing.
How do I engage them? This is the hardest part — and getting an influencer’s attention will only get more difficult as more marketers target them. There are plenty of easy ways to rise above the din — but one of the best may be to start early. Don’t aim for the biggest fish — aim for the little fish that’s growing fastest. If you can form a relationship with someone before everyone wants his or her attention, you’ve got a much better chance of making an impact.
Will you change your marketing strategy in light of this information? How should marketers use this new data? What companies do an especially fine job of reaching out to influencers?
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