influencer engagementGuest Post by Jordan Feise

[Ed: Jordan works for Traackr, an SBC client; we developed the Academy of Influencer Marketing together. Her guest-posting on WUL has no ties to AIM or any form of compensation; I asked her to submit a GP because she’s killer smaht.]

Influencer marketing has officially gone mainstream. 84% of brands plan to integrate influencers into their current marketing strategy.

Agencies and enterprises alike are investing in and executing successful influencer marketing campaigns. (Check out these success stories from Philips and Travelocity.)

Although most brands have adopted the practice of influencer marketing in some way, shape, or form, the level of maturity within brand’s influencer marketing practices varies greatly. Some brands are just beginning to discover who their relevant influencers are and other brands are pioneering ways to tie their influencer marketing efforts to revenue.

While most brands fall somewhere in between these two extremes, there are brands at both ends of the spectrum. The majority of brands are aware of the influencers who their buyers know, like and trust, but identifying these influencers is only the first step. The next piece of the puzzle is to establish relationships with them and integrate influencers into your current marketing strategy.

Often, the most daunting part of influencer marketing is beginning to build a relationship with an influencer. How should you approach the influencer? What should you say? (Or more importantly, what should you not say?)

Influencer engagement is the difference between a successful long-term influencer strategy and an influencer campaign that yields marginal results.

The challenging part of influencer engagement is that there is no formula for getting influencer engagement right. Each influencer has unique wants and your engagement strategy should cater to their needs.

Influencer engagement is not one-size-fits all.

Personalized outreach will help your influencer strategy be successful. Although there is no “silver bullet” for influencer engagement, here are the 4 secrets to influencer engagement that every marketer should know:

1. Always add value.

Find strategic asks that the influencer will want to be a part of. By finding things that influencers will benefit from, you not only greatly increase the chances of them wanting to participate, but you also show them that you are dedicated to helping them grow as well. The best influencer-brand relationships are mutually beneficial. Brands can quickly turn off influencers by reaching out and only talking about themselves and what the influencer can do for their brand.

Instead, show the influencer how you can add value to them overtime.

2. Give, give, get.

As a rule of thumb, give to the influencer before ever asking anything of them. This does not mean re-tweeting them once and then emailing them asking for a 1000 word blog post the next day. This means having two engagement moments that are focused on relationship building and supporting them. This rule should motivate you to start engaging with influencers now. If you start engaging now, when the time comes for you to ask an influencer to work with your brand the relationship will already be established.

Give value to your influencers twice before asking anything of them.

3. Start a conversation.

If you are unsure how to initially reach out to an influencer or re-engage with one, try asking a relevant question about the space. Asking an influencer for their input will not only let them know you value their opinion, but it will also get the conversation started in a natural way. Once you have broken the ice, it will be much easier to shift the conversation to ways you could begin to support each other.

Pro Tip: Let the influencer know you value their opinions by featuring their insights in a blog post or relaying their feedback back to the product team.

4. Be transparent.

Let influencers know what your intentions are. Do you want to work with this influencer for a specific campaign, or are you hoping for them to become an extension of your marketing organization? Make sure everyone is on the same page. Letting your influencers know what your goals are helps everyone to align and rally around the same cause. Let an influencer know what your influencer marketing goals are and chances are they will help you to achieve them.

It is vital to be transparent with your influencers.

At the end of the day, my final piece of advice would be to remember that influencers are human too. Yes, some of them may have massive followings on social media, or may be an authority figure in your space, but there is no reason for you to over think your outreach tactics.

Do you have an influencer engagement secret? Please share your thoughts on influencer engagement in the comments below.

Jordan FeiseJordan Feise is on the marketing team at Traackr, an influencer management platform. As the Influencer Marketing Manager, Jordan is passionate about building relationships with innovative thinkers and change agents in the marketing space. Feel free to tweet @jfeiseee with all of your influencer marketing questions. In her spare time, Jordan enjoys exploring San Francisco on long runs around the city.