Follow the leader: the strategy behind Influence Marketing

Tyson Christmas NuggetsTyson Foods had unprecedented sales of chicken nuggets by Christmas, selling out their stock completely in just a few weeks. This was not the result of a new print, online, or commercial campaign. Rather, it was because they decorated nuggets like Christmas cookies and shared the idea with key Mommy bloggers who then shared the images on their social networks. The decorated nuggets resulted in over eight million impressions on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and YouTube – and surpassed the company’s goal by 70%!

It’s a whole new world, with brand new targets to identify — a world where encouraging key social influencers to share experiences across social media channels is an emerging path to marketing success.

Why did marketing to the Mommy bloggers, Tweeters and Facebookers lead to such a successful campaign? Because these people directly influence the buying decisions of their followers. They are the influencers. Once key influencers are identified for a specific market, they are who brands should be marketed to. Having key influencers tout a product or service is the best way to have a brand stand out in the vast sea of digital noise.

Statistics show that when email content is distributed to an audience of millions of people, the click-through rate is half of one percent. But content sent to the top 50 influencers in a market results in a click-through rate closer to 9.5 to 10 percent.

How is this possible? Because the influencers are passionate about sharing information within their social media circles. The influencers’ goals are to be relevant in their communities, not just one of the crowd. Once a marketer can identify the influencers and provide them with desired content, the influencer will respect and build a relationship with the provider. The result: he or she will share the content with the targeted community.

Building a relationship with key influencers in old fashioned terms can be key. Instead of e-blasts and direct mail campaigns, key influencers are being courted via event invitations, phone contact and personal emails. It’s a combination of new ideas meeting traditional relationship building. According to a recent report in Forbes magazine, “targeted influencer marketing in targeted niches drives 16 times more engagement than paid or owned media”.

No wonder top marketers and brands are utilizing this powerful new marketing method. Chicken nuggets, anyone?

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