Social Influence: Leveraging the Power of Influencers to Build Brand Advocacy | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Social Influence: Leveraging the Power of Influencers to Build Brand Advocacy

January 8, 2019

By Amy Belton

Visual Generation/

At the last Influencer Marketing Committee meeting of 2018, several leading marketers shared their brands' unique approaches to leveraging the power of influencer marketing to drive success. Here are their insights, learnings, and key takeaways.


Brand Advocacy: The Foundation of Getting to the "Big Ideas"

Ryan Matiyow from Frito-Lay addressed questions about authentically driving relevancy and advocacy, creating lasting connections, and staying current. "Sixty-five percent of multinational brands plan to increase their influencer marketing investment in the coming 12 months, with a particular focus on Instagram," Matiyow stated. He provided some invaluable pointers:

  • Listen to your consumers and tap into their passions. It's critical to have a pulse on what consumers are saying and focus on where they are passionate, beyond the defined world of your brand.
  • Be deliberate in understanding your brand's role. Understand your brand positioning and what you mean to consumers across culture.
  • Obsess over consumers and their experiences. Beyond implementing ideas you "think" might break through, visualize how your consumers will actually view and engage with an idea and how will it impact them immediately and over time.
  • Invite them in, then go to them. Take a different slant to the key messages that are being pushed out by influencers, but allow them to put their own voice on it and talk about it in their own unique way. Identify up front the key areas and passion points that should align with what's important to your consumers.


A Scientific Approach for Engaging Influencers Beyond Instagram

Jon Levy, Founder of The Influencers, and Siddharth Taparia, SVP and head of marketing transformation at SAP, took attendees through the science behind community-based marketing — connecting with and activating the most influential people in our culture. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Connect strategically. With anything you want to accomplish, make sure you connect to the right people and build trust with them.
  • Give a reason. It's not giving a thing, it's giving them a reason to invest effort into the brand and feel a part of something.
  • Provide novelty. Trigger a response based on how novel or new something is. You must pique curiosity. In order to engage people, something must be novel, or even remarkable.
  • Curate the right space. Curate an environment with like-minded people, and others will go out of their way to be a part of it.
  • Build community through consistency. Provide consistency in community and content and experience. Individuals are hooked and engaged when they invest effort and feel emotionally connected to it.


Maximizing Influencer ROI, Minimizing Influencer Missteps

Influencer marketing is here to stay, but this also means that consumers are getting smarter and expect their favorite influencers to work hard to share authentic content. Kevin Gould, digital talent manager and brand strategist at Kombo Ventures, and Kyler Fish of Fish Fam fame took us through some of the ins and outs of playing effectively in the space:

  • Make sure the partnership makes sense for the influencer. Consumers can tell immediately when something isn't authentic to the brand of the influencer. Be sure that partnerships align to the influencers personal brand and what their audience expects of them.
  • Take the time to plan. Super last-minute or super-rushed partnerships can spell a recipe for disaster. If partnering with an influencer is part of your overall strategy, plan it well in advance and not as a last-minute add-on.
  • Think about how to partner long-term rather than as a one-off. Shift your thinking from short-term campaigns to longer-term partnerships. Use the relationship to drive consumers through the funnel and continue to keep them engaged through your marketing mix.


Reimagining Influencer ROI with a Reimagined Hotel Brand

Influencer marketing can be an intimidating realm for marketers. Though it offers more dynamic objectives in the marketing mix, there is still much to be learned when it comes to ROI. Tru by Hilton partnered with The Marketing Arm to create an evolved approach to calculating influencer ROI that better aligns to the changing ways influencer marketing serves brands through their lifecycle.

As marketing evolution would have it, each category goes through its reckoning. Influencer marketing is now the one under the spotlight. Three years ago, it was growing in scale. Now marketers are looking at it critically.

When Hilton looked to launch their new category disruptor brand Tru, they didn't want to launch in a typical fashion. Influencer marketing was the answer, but that didn't mean they could overlook the basics like measuring the return on their campaign investments. Alexis Glemser, manager of brand marketing looked to The Marketing Arm's manager of data and marketing science Maritza Moreno Calderon and VP of strategy Sara Hightower to bridge the gap between the influencer and the investment.

TMA answered with the Influencer ROI Valuation. By using exclusive tools, expertise and relationships in the industry, they evaluate influencers by using over 22 distinct qualitative and quantitative data outputs. This information is then vetted through their technology and the human touch of experienced influencer experts in the business.

Key factors include brand advocacy, the ability to reach new target audiences, overall fit to the target audience and the brand, quality of their content, and potential virality.

Learn more about this fascinating valuation here.


Amy Belton is a business development director at Social Media Link.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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