Influence marketing has long been thought to involve celebrities and the most-followed social media accounts redistributing or posting fresh content on a topic. Many people believe this approach is a silver bullet.

It’s not.

While this tactic can occasionally yield results, it’s a safe bet they’ll be short-lived. Organizations affected by public opinion and public policy need to think about the long game.

Full Duplex takes a very different approach that has yielded great results for clients in multiple industries at the national, regional and local levels.

Influence marketing done right

I only use the term influence marketing because that’s the language “understood” by C-level executives and online advocacy newcomers. I prefer the terms niche marketing and interest marketing.

Our approach involves several steps, each equally important:

Step one: mine

  1. Identify keywords, phrases, terms and language used surrounding your issue of interest.
  2. Search for and gather conversations using that language.
  3. Search for social media profiles that include relevant terms in their account descriptions.

Step two: analyze

  1. Code and organize the conversations (gathered in step one) based on the stance of participants and the concerns they’ve expressed. This includes coding sub-themes.
  2. Identify the participants whose relevant content is the most-retweeted/shared by others (by sub-theme where possible). These people are among your “key participants.”
  3. Identify the participants whose relevant content attracts the most replies/comments (by sub-theme where possible). These people are also among your “key participants.”
  4. Analyze participants for additional interests that can be leveraged to further develop and sustain engagement (e.g. participants in a conversation about sustainable energy might also be interested in golf, Netflix and Van Halen).

Step three: plan

  1. Develop lists of key participants by issue for proactive outreach efforts. Draw on a mix of appropriate social media, considering blogs, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat and others.
  2. Develop key messages and creative specific to sub-themes.
  3. Develop a content/narrative calendar for all of your publishing and outreach efforts.

Step four: outreach

  1. Engage key participants in proactive (and productive) discussions on relevant critical issues.
  2. Follow ongoing productive discussions by all participants for opportunities to comment. Establish yourself as a participant!
  3. Publish creative content related to relevant critical issues to your various platforms. Promote that content both organically and through paid/sponsored content (where practical).

Step five: sustain

  1. Post content related to additional interests (see step two, point four) to maintain attention (and hopefully) relevance.
  2. Where practical and appropriate, comment on current events, including those that sit within your target audience’s additional interests.
  3. Constantly assess all of your content for potential “collisions” with local, national and world events. Pull or reschedule anything that could be problematic.

Don’t be fooled by the “velvet ropes and red carpet.” Real action happens where people congregate, especially where they extend your reach into other interest networks.

Featured image: Velvet rope thing (De Lorean) uploaded to Flickr by Nik Stanbridge.

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