In its purest form, influencers (though it might be bandied around as a trendy communication strategy now) are really what we would call word-of-mouth references. Going back to the annals of time, it was always about who you know. Even today, if someone comes to you as a reference from someone you know, you would give them more credence over anyone else. In a nutshell, these influencers are doing the same, whether through traditional media or on social media.

Since all businesses are part of an eco-system, your influencer strategy needs to consider this. From the investors, to the partners and employees to your customers, they all influence your business decisions as well as how you evolve and grow.

Essentially, unless you have the big bucks and, even then, unless the big “influencers” are relevant to you and your business, there is no point in picking someone to ally with unless they are relevant to your business. You need to first evaluate your business goals and decide what you want to get out of using influencers and who these influencers are. You need to identify YOUR influencers and build it into your communications strategy.

This means identifying the platform and medium (influencer) that communicates with most, if not all, of your target audience. It means talking and researching these influencers and leveraging the ones that are aligned to your ethics and business practices; ones that will work WITH you. It’s not about numbers but about aligning your strategy and finding the right people that would work in partnership to enhance your communications and engage with your eco-system.

So, before you hop on the bandwagon, make sure you have:

  • Your business goals (not your social media) set and in sight at all times
  • Select the influencer that is right for YOUR business and not just another person touting numbers
  • Create KPIs for all aspects of your relationship with the key influencer(s)
  • Create a partnership rather than just another business transaction

To be honest, we are all influencers at some level. If you think about it, we are influenced by our family and close friends and, vice versa, we influence others (or try to) when it comes to decisions that are as trivial as colour choices to major life decisions. I read a very interesting article written by Anthony Permal on micro-influencers that I whole-heartedly agree with. I am not going into all the details but do have a read yourself – it’s worth bookmarking.

So, who are your influencers?

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