The Biggest Mistake You Can Make With Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Klout scores may be sabotaging your influencer marketing program

As a marketer, you’re always looking for new ways to get your message in front of your target audience so you can attract more leads and convert them into customers.

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making With Your Influencer Marketing Strategy: Sam Fiorella

Sam Fiorella at the Marketo Marketing Nation Roadshow in Toronto. (Photo credit: Twitpic by @voipguru)

You may connect with customers at trade shows, email your list and share your blog posts on social media. According to Sam Fiorella, Partner at Sensei Marketing and author of Influence Marketing, this is no longer enough.

Sam was the keynote speaker at last week’s Marketo Marketing Nation Roadshow in Toronto.

He discussed how today’s buyers tune out messages that come from marketing departments – even messages with excellent content. Instead, they rely on advice from their peers and colleagues when they make buying decisions.

According to Forrester, 80% of all B2B purchases include a word of mouth recommendation.

To get your message in front of more potential customers, you need people to recommend your products and services.

Sam discussed how many marketers are trying to do this by forming relationships with influencers and building influencer marketing strategies. They hope influencers will talk about how great their products are and that the influencers’ large audiences will flock to their websites to buy their stuff.

But this method can sometimes do more harm than good.

How can you make influencer marketing work for you?

Look beyond an influencer’s Klout score

According to Sam, the biggest mistake marketers make with their influencer marketing strategies is focusing solely on people with high Klout scores. Klout is a social influence score that is based on how many conversations you create and how large your audience is. Unfortunately, an influencer can have a high Klout score but zero influence over your target audience.

“It’s not enough to just understand who has a large audience,” said Sam. “You must understand who influences your customers.”

Sam recommended turning your focus away from “macro influencers” (e.g., celebrities and gurus with huge audiences who drive awareness). Instead, you should focus on the “micro influencers” who sway your customers’ buying decisions.

“If you can get the micro influencers to talk about your product, you can reach a larger audience and get more qualified leads in your system,” Sam explained.

Map the buyer’s journey

The second key to influencer marketing success is to understand how your customers move through the sales cycle.

Many marketers target influencers based on keywords. For example, if you sell e-commerce software, you might target an influencer who has a large audience and an e-commerce background. You may give her a free subscription to your software in the hope that she will recommend it. However, just because this influencer talks about e-commerce, it doesn’t mean that her audience wants to buy your e-commerce software.

Sam recommended that you evaluate every factor that goes into your customers’ buying decisions before you target influencers. What are their top concerns during each stage of the sales cycle? Where do they perform research during each stage?

Once you understand how your customers move through the sales cycle, you can target the right influencers with your influencer marketing program. For example, if you find out that your customers post questions to a specific LinkedIn group during the middle of the sales cycle, you can target someone who has influence in that group. This allows you to align your content with the right influencers in the right networks at the right times.

“Always focus on the customer, not the influencer,” said Sam.

What’s next?

influence-advocacyWebinar: At The Intersection Of Influence And Advocacy

Watch this on-demand webinar featuring Forrester analyst Zachary Reiss-Davis to learn more about B2B marketing strategies that blend the traditional authority of influencers like bloggers and industry analysts, with the new power of advocates – passionate fans that promote your company and products.
Watch the webinar

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