Will Influence Marketing Really Create ROI ?
Businesses can no longer ignore social media. Social networking is the “800 pound gorilla” in the room, but there is much debate about whether investment in social media actually brings a profitable return.
In their upcoming book, Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Influence Marketing in Social Media Marketing, Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella propose “a model that demonstrates how the growing practice of influence marketing can measurably impact purchase decisions instead of simply driving brand awareness.” They point out that “marketing efforts developed with a focus on generating profits often fail to consider the customer experience (italics mine) and ends up negatively impacting the generation of revenue and/or profit.”
They contend that their strategy will “help you manage the influence paths that lead consumers to buy.” Here are some of their main points:
- Put the customer—not the influencer—at the center, and plan influence marketing accordingly
- Recognize where each prospect stands in the purchase life cycle right now
- Clarify how your consumers move from brand preference to purchase
- Identify key micro-influencers who impact decisions at every stage
- Gain indispensable insights into the context of online relationships
- Recognize situational factors that derail social media brand recommendations
- Understand social influence scoring models and overcome their limitations
- Re-engineer and predict influence paths to generate measurable action
- Master the “4 Ms” of influence marketing: make, manage, monitor, measure
- Transform influence marketing from a “nice-to-have” exercise into a powerful strategy
Connecting with Influencers
Nyerr Parham, Marketing Manager at Appinions, posted a helpful article on her web site, in which she states:
The foundation of influence marketing is building relationships with individuals who are in a position to help your brand increase awareness, build reputation, connect with an audience, and make sales. The basis for all of these goals is the development of a relationship with an influencer.
So once you’ve decided to reach out to influencers, should you do so as a brand or as an individual? Just who owns (or should own) these influencer relationships?
Our answer: Influencers want to develop relationships with people, so it makes sense to reach out as yourself – a living and breathing person – rather than a brand.
On his TweakYourBiz.com web site, Greg Fry wrote:
Companies have started to realise two things:
- People who traditionally had little influence offline have become very very influential online.
- Unless they engage effectively with their target audience online their numbers will have little or no ROI.
For this reason we are seeing the more social media savvy companies starting to focus on building more meaningful relationships with their communities online and spending more time identifying and engaging with the most influential online consumers in their industry.
Mark W. Shaefer, author of the book Return On Influence, has studied the problem of measuring social influence intensively. Attempting to keep current with the latest developments in the field, he writes in his blog named “grow”:
1) This is a historically important time where personal power has been enabled through our ability to publish on the web.
2) The nature of power and influence in the online world is vastly different than what we are accustomed to in the offline world. It’s important for businesses and individuals to understand this — your paradigm has to shift.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Writing about the French Revolution against dictatorship by the monarchy, Victor Hugo famously said, “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
“Social Influence Strategy”
I believe that social influence has always been extremely important, and the explosion of social media is a game changer. I intend to continue to research this issue and write about it on my new blog, “Social Influence Strategy.com.” If you agree that this is an interesting subject, please “stay tuned.” And please share your comments below.