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7 ingredients to creating an influencer marketing strategy from scratch

If you’re new to the influencer marketing game and need to create a strategy from scratch, this post is for you! And even if you’ve created an influencer strategy in the past, you’ll want to check out our seven ingredients, as they may add some spice to your efforts.

Also – maybe you’re missing one or two of these ingredients, and it’s why your influencer souffle falls flat. Let’s find out!

Ingredient #1. A Generous Helping of Brand Perception

You will not find relevant influencers to sprinkle on top of your brand’s marketing concoction until you understand yourself. Well, your brand’s “self,” rather. And it’s not an easy thing to do.

For example, although McDonald’s creation of a vegetarian option is laudable:

McDonald's plant-based veggie burger

That does not mean its plant-based veggie burger is dominating the brand conversation/perception about the brand:

McDonald's plant-based veggie burger is dominating the brand conversation:perception about the brand

That’s not to imply that McDonald’s isn’t well aware of the disconnect. It’s meant purely to highlight that a gap exists between what a brand would like said about it online and what is actually posted, and gaining traction, about it.

Understanding your brand’s perception online is one of the most important ingredients, as the rest hinge on its success. So, be sure to explore sentiment around it regularly – as it also can shift quickly, sending your recipe sideways.

But combining your newfound brand understanding with equal parts ongoing audience understanding, it will be nearly impossible to miss out on a sentiment shift.

Ingredient #2. An Abundance of Audience Understanding

Creating memorable and meaningful customer experiences (CX) is the end goal of all of your efforts, of course. So, it makes sense that audience understanding must be a key ingredient in the influencer strategy you’re cooking up. And it will be present in abundance.

Learn what your audience cares about, and what influences them to make purchasing decisions. Do this by collecting mentions of brands and topics that you’d like to analyze an audience’s perception around.

It will help you uncover interests, activities and preferences unique to your audience. And to make correspondingly unique and tailored offerings, presented to your audience by very strategically curated influencers to whom your audience can relate.

A beer brand seeking to break in to the ‘mom wine drinking segment’ might uncover adjacencies between women who like the outdoors and propensity toward drinking the cold brew. And they’d uncover relevant influencers in the process, thanks to our exceptionally powerful image analytics capabilities:

Beer brand's key influencer ingredient - uncovering adjacencies between women who like the outdoors and propensity toward drinking the cold brew

With brand and audience data, you’re almost ready to start combining ingredients. You just need a smidge of unmet needs/new ideas extract.

Ingredient #3. Smidge of Unmet Needs/New Ideas Extract

From the data you’ve captured in your brand perception and audience understanding search, you’ve uncovered mounds of tasty data to bake into your influencer strategy. And you’ll want an influencer who can:

  • Help reinforce the brand perception you seek
  • Understand and work with the brand perception that’s currently out there
  • Fit in perfectly with your audience

We’ll get to how you find these folks in just a minute!

But, right now, we have an additional ingredient that separates exceptional influencer strategies from those that are basic. And that’s adding a smidge of unmet needs/new ideas extract to your brand perception/CX mix before popping it in the blender.

Identifying unmet needs goes beyond an acceptance of recurring customer care issues as things that need to change to capturing previously unexplored data – and exploring it! These unmet needs can lead to new product or service ideas, so they’re powerful bits of intel.

For example, in the “cosmetics” category, a clearly unmet need revolves around a lack of “more concise makeup regimens.” A brand could hop on that, creating a series of influencer-led tutorials covering precisely that:

Cosmetics company identifying influencer ingredient by discovering unmet need revolves around a lack of “more concise makeup regimens.”

Or they could tuck the info away for use in a later recipe.

Just keep in mind, your competitors have access to publicly available data as well. So, if you find a juicy nugget that should be acted upon, do it quickly. And maybe include it in your competitive intelligence side dish, so you don’t forget about it . . .

Ingredient #4. Create a Competitive Intelligence Side Dish

As your ingredients start to form something exciting, you’ll want an accompaniment. Something to supplement the main dish. And that something should be a competitive intelligence side dish.

You’ll want to repeat your brand and audience exploration, but substituting competitor names for your brand. This way you can see how the conversation looks around their efforts and the perception/desired promotional intent disconnect.

An apt comparison to McDonalds is, of course, Burger King. Its most recent promotion is around its Impossible Whopper:

Burger King's Impossible Whopper ad

And brand perception shows the #ImpossibleWhopper hashtag as trending, among others:

brand perception shows the #ImpossibleWhopper hashtag as trending - so they're capturing key influencer marketing ingredient

There’s lots left besides to explore, but it does show that Burger King is good at getting its promotions out to its audience! And this likely involves some influencer assistance, which is always good to sprinkle on top.

Ingredient #5. Sprinkle Relevant Influencers on Top

Back to McDonalds. As we explore sentiment around the fast food giant, and see a spike on August 10, 2019, we can click into the fluctuation summary to see what caused it:

exploring sentiment around McDonalds and fluctuation summary to reveal influencer ingredients

And then we discover Murph and his owner. A beautiful pooch with an engaged and adoring following. Potential brand mascot? Definitely. Or at least a potential influencer to add to McDonald’s short list!

Murph the dog as potential influencer for brand

This is just one of many ways to source influencers, of course. Brands can also explore the Authors tab to see who is talking in your space:

Key influencer ingredient involves brands exploring the Authors tab to see who is talking in your space

And you can expressly search for influencers in your category to get a sense of who is directing the conversation – and how their engagement levels look. But that’s not all! You can also segment the influencers by a variety of segments, including:

  • Fashion and entertainment
  • Health, sports and outdoors
  • Gamers
  • Food and travel
  • And many more

Can also segment the influencers by a variety of segments

And now that you have all of this intel at your fingertips, you need to pop it into a muffin tray as it’s far too much to digest at once.

Ingredient #6. Create Bite-sized Chunks

Create dashboards to monitor all of your efforts and influencers. You’ll want many different views to be sure you’re capturing relevant data for a give purpose.

You’ll want to focus on five key areas, with corresponding dashboards for each (all available in NetBase):

All are essential to constructing an outcome that exceeds your brand’s social listening expectations. These bite-sized chunks, reported out, make the data manageable on the client end.

That doesn’t mean its data that’s easily obtained, of course – your creation is incredibly complex, powered by lots of variables you’ve uncovered during this process. But the output shouldn’t feel that way.

Identity PR details this in action. It was able to extract relevant, highly niche data from both Republican and Democrat conferences for a nonpolitical telecommunications client. And it was all due to its social listening and social monitoring skills.

Identity PR speaking to some essential influencer strategy ingredients

And watching it as it bakes may not work well in the culinary world, but the social sphere requires it . . .

Ingredient #7. Watch as It’s Baking, Regulating Heat as Needed

Create your supremely informed promotions that speak to your target audiences very specific brand expectations. But don’t just push the promotions out via your branded channels, you have influencers to partner with, new ideas to take advantage of; and, unmet needs to explore.

You need to spend some time matching your highly engaged influencers to hot topics, and briefing them around existing and aspirational brand perception. You’ll want to arm them with talking points that speak to brand and category concerns and offer guidance around capturing new intel for your brand as you go.

A weekly check-in to see how they perceive their efforts will be helpful, but you’ll already know what’s happening behind the scenes, as you’ll have access to their channel and social web data via NetBase:

access to influencers' channel and social web data via NetBase

With this access, you can explore their efforts as precisely as you explore your own.

And if you don’t have that access set up yet, contact us for a demo to see how it could look. Don’t wait too long though – there are lots of chefs in your category kitchen gathering ingredients as you read this!

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