Simply engaging influencers to create and distribute original content isn’t enough.

Brands hoping to utilize social media for business purposes are hip to the concept of influencer marketing by now. Although influencer marketing isn’t a new concept by any stretch, in its newest form influencer marketing has seen brands working with popular social media users to create content that appears directly in the users channel and is broadcast to their audience of up to millions of engaged fans and followers.

Many brands have turned to agencies to help them identify, engage and activate these popular and trusted influencers for social media campaigns. Unfortunately there are valuable opportunities that are often missed by self-serve platforms, or remain unseen by most agencies that develop campaigns.

What brands should do:

1. Know where to listen

Everyday over 532M statuses are updated, and 2M blog posts are written (including this one). Brands need to filter through the noise and connect with people who share their values not just those with large followings. In many cases engaging an individual with 3,000 followers can result in a stronger connection, and establish a brand ambassador relationship whereas engaging an individual with 300,000 followers can result in the mere spiking of commonly tracked vanity metrics.

2. Influence the influencer

Brands need to connect with the right influencers at the right time. Any brand can reach out to an influencer and try to negotiate a sponsorship, but not just any brand can make an influencer feel like they’re more than just the other end of a transaction. Establishing partnerships, and developing social brand ambassadors takes time and experience, self-serve platforms use a single measure of social intelligence when pairing influencers (reach), brands need to connect with influencers in a much more authentic and interesting manner.

3. Create the conversation

Brands need to filter through the noise and connect with users who share their values.

Brands need to do more than simply know who is talking about them. When an influencer spreads a brand’s message, their audience engages with that content and each one of those engagements is an opportunity for a brand to create the conversation. Most influencer campaigns unfortunately employ the ‘Set it & Forget it’ approach missing many opportunities. Brands need to filter through the noise and connect with users who share their values.

4. Be the content

Universal truth – all brands have difficulty creating great content. It’s no secret – every brand wants to create a viral campaign. The real truth is, it’s easier than you think, from leveraging the power of the crowd to coordinate social flash mobs, to utilizing social listening tools to be seen ahead of the curve, for every brand – an opportunity exists.

Influencer marketing represents a tremendous opportunity for forward thinking brands and as budgets continue to shift towards digital marketing, the importance of influencer marketing will continue to grow rapidly.

For more information about using influencer marketing to engage with your audience, please email me at [email protected].