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By Mila Araujo, {grow} Community Member

Influencers are already beginning to get weary of the lame approaches brands and agencies take to try to coddle up to them. You have to earn your keep with today’s busy influencer. How do you do that?

The thought leaders of the web take their word seriously and they don’t want to be seen as sell outs. Providing ways for influencers to highlight your product or service in a way that aligns with their personal brand and mission is the only approach to influencer marketing.

If you are thinking of “buying influence” for your brand, it is unlikely that any of the Internet “stars” out there are going to engage in paid promotion of products unless it is directly related to their area of expertise, their audience’s interests, or their own personal interests, here’s why:

People who have a strong level of influence have three important factors to consider:

  1. They have established authority based on their knowledge and experience in their field
  2. They are reliable and trustworthy – in other words, their opinions are honest and cannot be bought
  3. They must remain consistent in their direction to maintain this authority. It will confuse their audience by marketing or promoting totally unrelated items

Non-profits have an advantage in the influence marketing space, since their message is usually is based on human emotion and a story that can be of interest to a diverse audience.

Before engaging with influencers, get to know their topics, their values, their passions and concerns before engaging, Tailor your message in a way that will make your product or service relevant to them.

So who can brands turn to for influence marketing?

The key to finding influencers is by providing people with value directly related to their field of interest.

  • Give them something that makes their lives or work more efficient (tools, technology, apps)
  • Offer an unusual experience (huge opportunity in the travel and hospitality industry).
  • Solve a problem
  • Create content that will be highly valued by their audience
  • Offer exclusive access. They don;t want to run an infographic or review the same product being sent to a thousand other people.

Influencers are tired of getting mass emails asking for ad space, or random requests that shows the brand took no time to learn about who they are. It’s insulting really — influencers have tons of information out there, yet a brand can’t be bothered with doing their research on who the person is before sending these requests?

Focusing on respecting the human aspects of the lives of influencers is the absolute only way to break into this area with genuine results.

Influencers are people first.

A brand interested in influence marketing should create partnerships with Influencers, not “buy outs”

  • Include budget for creating or supporting events that highlight the brand’s own vision and values – they will find like-minded influencers from these activities
  • Don’t ask to be the primary focus of an article or review. Be satisfied with a mention in a genuine way.
  • Inviting influencers to share their points of view on your brand pages, rather than on the Infuencer’s own channels. This protects the influencer from polluting their own channels with unrelated content.
  • Focus on respecting the human aspects of the lives of influencers. Deliver value, not an expectation of brand entitlement.

Your Turn – What do you think?

  • As an influencer, what are you looking for from brands and companies?
  • How do you balance content integrity versus opportunities for monetization?
  • What brands are doing influence marketing well? Which ones are is driving you crazy?

milaMila Araujo writes about Leadership, Social Media and Customer Service for several sites, including her Perspectives blog  which explores different angles and  ideas into understanding  social media and how to use it to drive business forward and build community. She is the producer of the 140 Conference Montreal. Connect with her on Twitter @Milaspage

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