Up until now, influencer marketing programs have been largely one-dimensional – produce content for a specific campaign use case. But research has shown over and over again that consumers today trust people like them. Not only that – consumers actively seek out and rely on peer experiences to inform their purchase decisions, across the customer journey. Driven by advances in technology and the democratization of information, influence no longer comes from the top, but increasingly, through peer networks.
This nearly demands that marketers evolve their influencer marketing strategy from campaign tactic to omni-channel strategy, as well as perceptions around what influencer marketing can accomplish. Evolving to an omni-channel, always-on influencer marketing strategy that’s designed to generate content that can (and will) be repurposed across channels requires that influencer, advocate, referral, and loyalty programs are integrated with and aligned to your larger marketing communications roadmap and editorial calendar.
This not only helps to identify content requirements to include in influencer campaign briefs and opportunities to differentiate your overall communications strategy, but emphasizes the following throughout the customer experience:
Relevance to shoppers when they see influencers they follow across different channels, including search, as well as content aligned with cultural and seasonal events throughout the year.
Transparency to shoppers when they see other influencers’ and customers’ experiences (ratings, reviews) communicated across touchpoints – even preempting the research phase, enabling broadcast touchpoints to become a point of discovery.
Consistency to shoppers when influencer-generated and user-generated content reinforces primary campaign themes across paid and owned channels as well as reflected in customer feedback. The consistency of customer experience is critical to accelerating and reinforcing consumer trust, in which products featured in influencer-generated content are validated by advocate interactions on social and ratings & reviews on product pages.
Alignment across internal marketing departments and agencies. In this moment – do you know what your brand’s SEO strategy is? What storyboards and content is being developed for your next :30 sec TV spot? How your research team is polling consumers for new insights? It’s all connected, and they are among the number of opportunities for influencers to help improve your marketing operations.
In our 2018 Strategy & Planning Playbook, we asked marketers to audit their existing customer journey and map target consumers’ circle of influence at each touchpoint, adding influencer marketing swimlanes for each influence personas (influencers, advocates, referrers, loyalists), further mapping IGC, UGC, and channels to that touchpoint.
In this next exercise, using the template below (also linked here), add those insights to the new influencer, advocate, referrer and loyalist swimlanes on your marketing communications roadmap and 2018 editorial calendar, not only aligning those content strategies, but identifying how you now must adapt corresponding influencer content briefs to support complementary channel strategies in response.