Feb 03, 2017

The Secrets of Influencer Marketing


Influencer marketing is one of my favorite topics, and for good reason – over the past eight or so years, we’ve used influencer marketing to demonstrate exponential increases in key business areas, like client retention, brand awareness and event attendance. There’s been an absolute explosion in brands talking about influencer marketing, and having come back from a conference where I just spoke to communicators about influencer relations best practices, I decided to share a few secrets with you on how to make your influencer efforts more effective.

Anyone can be an influencer – as long as they inspire someone to act. 

Rather than only focusing on social media influencers, expand your horizons to include journalists, experts, academics and even simply organic advocates on your friends list or networks. Your target audiences may look to one, several or all of these for information. The key is focusing less on the number of followers, and focusing more on the quality of their content, conversations and engagement with their audiences. The most important evaluation – is the person you’re considering inspiring their audiences to reply, share, complete a task or buy? If not, the answer is they’re simply not an influencer.

It doesn’t have to cost money. 

One common misconception that I consistently hear is that brands believe influencers are pay-for-play. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. While there are a good number of influencers that make their living by endorsing brands that pay for their influence, that isn’t the only route. Many influencers are interested in the media coverage that may come with a brand partnership to elevate themselves, early access to new products or services, or even behind the scenes experiences that aren’t accessible to others. So, when partnering with an influencer, be sure to provide value to the influencer similar to the value you’re hoping to gain from the influencers participation.

People trust others that are like themselves the most. 

Our good friends at Edelman released their latest Trust Barometer report and the results are shocking – trust is at an all-time low. Friends and family are the most trusted sources of information today. Therefore, the best influencers make their audience feel like their friends, and like they are a part of their family. These influencers are known for creating content and a connection that is 1:1. People trust other people that are like themselves – so finding an influencer that is more like your target audience will earn more trust.

For more influencer marketing secrets, watch the replay of my webinar and read the new guide, Targeted Outreach: Turn Influencers Into Brand Advocates to find out how to:

  • Discover the most impactful influencers in your industry
  • Identify the perfect brand partner with the right insights
  • Engage influencers effectively through focused outreach
  • Motivate the right influencers to tell your brand story


Author Stacey Miller is the director of communications at Cision, where she oversees the company’s media, analyst and influencer relations strategies as well as social media and internal comms. A 10-year veteran of the company, Stacey pioneered a data-based storytelling approach and isn’t afraid to dig deep into the analytics. Follow her @staceylamiller.


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