How do You Influence the Influencers?

Pointing and Gawking

What are the best ways to influence those people your customers watch for cues?

Last week we had a good discussion about how you can up your real (influence) score. As theory goes that is pretty good information. However, as you know from being a practitioner, results often are a consequence of creative executions.

I was thinking about an example to illustrate, when the perfect one showed up in my RSS feed.

When your market is marketers

You definitely need to be on Twitter. That will give you the chance to pitch one marketer and get one free. In that post, I outlined three ways that are better than sending a direct pitch and provided examples of each.

This better way would be win win for you and the busy professional you're pitching. It even involves influence on many levels and doesn't require budgets you may not have, especially if you're in bootstrapping mode (which I admire, BTW). My first suggestion was:

Do something remarkable — hold the pitch until *after* you impressed a whole bunch of people with an initiative or a project that aligns with your mission. In fact, consider the project your pitch. It works.

I used the Influencer Project by Thoughtlead as an example. And you can learn about it in my conversation with Sam Rosen, CEO. Guess what? There is one company out there that is paying attention. Aren't you curious to know why everyone is still talking about them?

They get the marketers doing the marketing for them.

Here's how it works from a recent example. Send a poorly targeted email about a well known brand to someone who scores high points on your platform and is known for blogging about marketing stuff he picks up here and there. 

David Armano has a larger than normal social graph indeed. If I had to take an educated guess without looking at who is part of his networks, I would venture it is overwhelmingly marketers or people who are interested in marketing. He is a gifted visual storyteller, so include creatives with that slice.


You send the email and wait for the post, literally.

Nike gets some exposure, Klout gets even more. Because now they have the attention of Armano and that of the marketers in his network who are eager to go to their clients with a ready out-of-the-box solution for influence.

The blogger outreach is embedded with it. I'm writing about it, yet I received no pitch. Many more have written about Klout because of the mere suggestion that the tool does what many are working hard to figure out — or not.

In the comments to Dave's post, you can see that Jason Keath also talks about having received the email, so that's two people marketers look to for cues. Ed is almost right, the pitch was perfect if it was designed, as I suspect, to create awareness about Klout's capability for marketers.

Influencing the influencers

People watch other people they perceive as being "like them", even aspirationally, for cues. So if you're trying to influence marketers, as in the example above, then starting a conversation with a respected marketer who has a following is a good strategy.

The one mistake I keep seeing from many agencies is that they go after the same small pool of people with a high follower count in their influencer outreach without discrimination. We're talking about a very small fraction of the online population who gets all the pitches.

And these people may or may not be read and liked by your customers. The first question you need to ask yourself when looking to connecting with people who have influence in your circle is one of relevance — who are your customers looking up to? Not you, your customers.

In some instances, the answer may be "no one". Well, then, you have an opportunity to develop that one go-to resource, or discover someone, a group even, who is passionate about your brand. This is what Fiskar and Brains on Fire did with Fiskateers.

Remember the Pesi logo change? What would have happened if in conjunction with the marketing blogger outreach, the company had also connected with the brand's fans and stories? That's where the real mojo is.

Pepsi has since changed its ways and reached out to fans, the Pepsi Cooler group on FriendFeed is still active, although the membership has only increased sixfold since it was started, and the company's refresh initiative has helped communities everywhere.

If you cannot bring yourself to forget the marketing celebrities on Twitter, you'd be well served in integrating the real influencers in your program. Isn't now a perfect time to start thinking about who your customers watch for cues?

PS: I don't even drink soda, a habit I never lost growing up in the land of mineral water.

[reference to pointing and gawking on Herd]

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