We often operate on both sides of the influencer engagement equation at Heinz Marketing. Our teams have helped numerous companies develop and launch their influencer engagement efforts, and we are often courted as influencers in the B2B marketing space as well. As such, we often get to see first-hand some great examples of influencer engagement and some terrible ones.
The bad ones are typically well-intentioned, just misguided. So I share the following examples without “outing” the sender but as an example of what not to do based on how they often are received and perceived.
Example #1: I am not a mercenary
There are, in almost every industry, a handful of influencers that operate in a pay-for-play model. This is a familiar model for those managing partner channels but is off-putting and occasionally insulting to influencers who strive to maintain their independence and lack of bias.
Last week I received an email offering to pay for my influence. A portion of the email read as follows:
I’m reaching out because we work with many top influencers like yourself to help their network get access to top remote workers while growing their business. Here is why influencers partner with us: You get $0.50 cents for every hour billed to clients that you refer forever! We even increase that to $1.00 per hour for our top influencers. The program is on pace to pay out over $150,000 in 2017.
I appreciate the effort, but going straight to paying for my attention isn’t going to scale very well.
Example #2: I am not a reporter
Many companies think of press, analysts and influencers in a similar light. Ultimately you want each of them to share stories about your brand to their audiences. But each operate in very different environments. Implying that one is like the other is at best off-putting, and at worst makes you look amateur and sets a bad impression that kills future potential engagement.
Also last week I got an email from a company I didn’t know with the following first line:
I wanted to make sure you saw the latest news from CompanyX. Do you have room for this as an online news brief?
This came from a PR agency so it was bad enough that, were I a reporter, they’re doing cold outreach and immediately asking for coverage. But as a non-journalist, we don’t do news briefs. I’m sure other recipients were equally off-put by the one-size-fits-all approach here.
It is really easy to make one or both of these simple mistakes with the best of intentions. Sometimes stepping one degree away from the program, or getting perspectives from recipients, can check the wrong tactics and get you back in the first direction.