Five rules of engaging influencers

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Most organizations approach Influencer Engagement as commercial transactions. And, expect influencers to do their bidding. There is no denying that commercial aspects are important. However, influencer engagement cannot be treated the same way as a celebrity endorsement. Influencing is a very subtle art form that requires the influencer to maintain his or her disassociation from the brand.

Listed below are five rules that will make your engagements with influencers more productive.

Rule 1: Adapt your communication style
An influencer is not your spokesperson. And, there is no reason why they should speak like you do. Allow your influencers to maintain their style. Give them the key communication points and let them craft the message in their own words. Message or messages in own style will make the message look authentic and thus make it believable.

Rule 2: Make them feel special
Influencer messaging works best when they have something different to say to about your brand. Give your influencers insider news, sneak previews, let them experience superior service, something that only they bring to their audience.

Rule 3: Listen first, act later
More often than not, brands fail to listen to their influencers. Influencers by definition have an audience. They engage with their audience often and have a feel for the underlying trends. Engaging with influencers to gather insights will make the influencer more involved with your brand and also give you an opportunity to put together more meaningful messages.

Rule 4: Encourage engagement beyond social channels
Influencers often engage with their audiences in more than one channel. Beyond social media streams, they might be writing blogs, appearing on public speaking assignments, appearing as experts on news channels. Understand the full ecosystem in which the influencer operates and then decide how best to engage with a particular influencer.

Rule 5: Less is more
Too much of anything is bad. And nothing can be truer that this in Influencer Engagement. An influencer cannot be asked to mention a brand name or product too often unless there is a logical link. For example, an influencer mentioning eating at a new restaurant once is perfectly logical. Mentioning an automotive brand or model, multiple times, over few weeks is logical because automotive purchases are long drawn process. There are multiple stages (brand selection, model selection, test driving, financing, delivery, first ride, first service, etc.) and at each step, there is an opportunity to mention the brand.

Remember, your influencers have the reach and power to make a difference to your brand. Go beyond hiring. Engage with them to unlock the true potential of Influencer Marketing.

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