Influencer Marketing 101


Influencer marketing, (also Influence Marketing) is a form of marketing that has emerged from a variety of recent practices and studies, in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

Influencers may be potential buyers themselves, or they may be third parties. These third parties exist either in the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or may be so-called value-added influencers (such as journalists, academics, industry analysts, professional advisers, and so on). [Wiki]

Influencer marketing just works. Being able to tap into the social networks of an influential person or thought leader in an industry and have them share your message usually exceeds expectations from normal marketing campaigns. There are many tactics to influencer marketing:

  • Sponsorships
  • Advertising
  • Direct mail

As you can see the ways a company can build an influencer marketing campaign are very similar to a regular campaign but the main difference is that the people being communicated to is HIGHLY targeted and personalized.

I want to focus on a form of influencer marketing by building a list of these influencers around a specific grouping or category and explain the impact it can have.

Influencer marketing lists

Think about an application like Klout, the social media score was and in some way still is the go to ranking for a person’s status on social media. People would be boasting about how they were ranked #1 on Klout for anything from LinkedIn to content marketing. All Klout had to do was build the algorithm and then let people know that they ranked higher than a group of people. Once the word got out to a handful of influencers that were more than happy to share their ranking, the people came to the site to sign up and see how they ranked among their peers.

Another type of Influencer marketing are the “Top X List of [whatever industry]” We see lists like this all the time.

Who doesn’t know about the The Forbes World’s Billionaires list ?

These lists serve a dual purpose. One that plays on the ego’s of the people listed and that drives awareness for the producing company.

I have been named to a handful of lists over the years;

Just about every time I’m told I’m on one of these lists I share it with my network and so do most if not all of the other influencers being listed. As a tactic, this is smart for companies. Minimal investment on a piece of content that promotes the people they want to spread the word. It works.

The problem over the years is that as more of these lists are created they begin to conflict with each other. 30 under 30, 40 under 40, Best Content Marketing people lists are popping up all over the internet. Who’s list of top influencers matters most? Why is one person listed by one company and not by others?

In many cases it comes down to relationships. Many of these lists are opinion based, meaning there is really no data supporting the inclusion or exclusion of people besides the relationships between the influencer and the content producer.

It’s always nice to be included on a list. Like I said, its appreciated and I typically share the list out to my network if I’m included just because it’s nice to be added along with a group of other thought leaders. But creating a list like this is skill level one and companies should up their game to get in front of the real influencers that look beyond opinion based lists of great people.

The key differentiator is data.

When you take a data driven approach to your influencer marketing campaign and can substantiate your “Top 100 list” with actual numbers and analysis then it can stand the test of time.

Thats why I’ve been such a fan of the LinkedIn Social Selling Index. There is no opinion, it’s all based on data points and it doesn’t matter if we like you or not, if you have an SSI score of 90 then it means YOU are doing something right.

The Forbes list of the Worlds Billionaires is based on wealth. That’s the data point they use.

Always use data in your influencer marketing campaign, if you can use several data points just to make it more solid. When an influencer sees a data driven campaign that ranks them then it has an authenticity to it and they can be proud of being listed instead of thinking to themselves “Thats nice that they added me”.

What are your thoughts on Influencer Marketing Lists? Have you used them, was it successful?

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