Influencer marketing is more important today with COVID-19 than ever before. It’s just different. It has been a rapidly growing cottage industry over the last several years. However, the coronavirus is changing things in this world. Finding the right influencers are more important than ever before to help keep your company in the conversation and continuing to grow.
All influencers are different. All companies are different. While yesterday, companies partnered with many influencers, today it’s more important than ever to find the right people to partner with.
Do you know how to find the right people to partner with for your company? Let me help you understand and leverage different slices of this powerful community.
After talking with dozens of successful influencers from different industries like @EvanKirstel and @TamaraMcCleary, and many companies, I have learned several very important lessons.
Let me share some of what I learned with you. There are some surprises. While some companies and influencers are busier than ever, others have recently slowed down significantly during this current health episode.
To help you better understand the best way to choose the right partner, let’s take a look at the differences between different types and the companies that use them.
Industry analysts, opinion leaders and tech influencers
Smart executives know the power of leveraging relationships with certain key industry analysts, key opinion leaders and key industry influencers in order to continue to grow.
In fact, since companies can no longer meet at regular conferences for a while, many are trying other things like setting up their own online briefings. Others participate with other companies in a sort of online conference.
In recent years, companies have started to hold online events. They have hired industry analysts, opinion leaders and influencers to be participants or speakers.
This unbiased angle often attracts a larger audience. It’s less, like an advertisement and more like an unbiased industry discussion.
First: Two different types of Influencer
Let’s take a closer look at the influencer marketplace. These are typically entrepreneurs and small businesses at heart.
Today, many companies need to focus their efforts and use a rifle approach, not a shotgun in choosing the right people to work with. There are two distinct groups of influencers.
– Some are Influencers first and foremost. More often than not, these are generalists who help their clients get the word out about a product or service. They share their postings on social media.
– Others first are Industry Analysts, Consultants, Key Influencers or Opinion Leaders. They come at this from the opposite direction. Their opinions and thoughts are part of the industry-wide conversation. They raise interesting questions and challenge the status-quo.
This second group is as busy as ever. They may also write columns, speak at industry meetings and share their thoughts and opinions with the marketplace. These are important industry voices. Many companies have learned the value of this smaller group.
After doing their primary business, many of them also share their and comments and thoughts on social media as an influencer.
There seems to be a big difference in the way these two different groups operate and the value they bring for different reasons.
Today, companies who understand they will continue doing business through and after this COVID-19 crisis is over are choosing the people they work with more carefully.
Companies need to continue to stay relevant in a noisy environment
Executives know they need to keep their company’s competitive position in the industry. If they do not focus on keeping their company in the conversation, they will simply get lost in all the noise around coronavirus and everything else over the next year or two in the media.
That means companies need to be a thought leader if they want to continue to lead in their industry. They must stay focused, stay on target and continue to invest in advertising, marketing and public relations.
I have found many companies who are very active with the influencer community. However, I have also noticed now they choose more carefully the people they work with.
Rather than the shotgun approach, successful companies are taking a more targeted focus. They are looking for people that can help them retain their competitive position and win in the marketplace.
Today’s marketplace may look different, but the goal is still the same… to win.
Second: Two different Influencer angles
There are two different angles that influencers take. Some are generalists and others are targeted.
Some influencers are generalists and focus on one company in an industry and work with several different industries. These are not industry experts. They are often more generalist in nature. They may have a large follower group that companies want to reach.
Other influencers are targeted and focus on particular industry or sector. They work with many competitors in the same industry. These are more often well-known experts in that particular industry.
This targeted group are often very influential industry experts. These are very important to work with since they are key players in the industry.
Both generalist and targeted influencers can be powerful, but in very different ways.
5G wireless, health care, telehealth, autonomous vehicles, tech influencers
Consider wireless. The 5G revolution impacts everything. That means wireless carriers, wireless handset makers, wireless network builders and all the other companies in the wireless industry.
That also impacts other industries as well. Industries like healthcare with TeleHealth, TeleMedicine, automotive with self-driving cars, automated driving, navigation, entertainment and so more.
In fact, this new 5G wireless technology will continue to spread to and advance industry after industry over the next decade. That is both a challenge and an opportunity.
5G wireless network builders like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia
As an example, the 5G Automotive Association or 5GAA shows how automakers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes and others are partnering with 5G wireless technology companies like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia and Huawei. This association let’s these leaders talk and share information and advance the connected car experience.
It’s so important for larger wireless carriers like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. Also, for smaller competitors like US Cellular, C-Spire Wireless and others. Even for MVNO players like the cable TV wireless services Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and T-Mobile.
AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Altice Mobile
It is just as important for network builders like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia and others. And for handset makers like Apple, Google Android, Samsung Galaxy and more.
There are also plenty of smaller, lesser known companies who are just as important to the industry. Some of these are larger players and others are smaller, but they all need to be seen and heard if they want to continue to lead and be successful.
As you can see, many companies large and small need to get their message heard in an increasingly noisy industry.
That is an important reason to choose the right influencers to work with.
Keep your brand name in the news to remain competitive
In the meantime, it’s more important than ever for companies to keep their messages out into the noisy marketplace. It’s very important for them to stake their claim and to be there as a leader when the dust settles.
It is important for consumers, business customers, investors, workers and partners. Companies must maintain their leadership.
Think of leadership like a growth wave. It goes up, crests then comes down. As long as you are on the growth side of the wave, your company is healthy. Once your company crests and is on the falling side, you are in trouble. You become an afterthought. You become invisible to customers, workers and investors.
Companies must stay on rising side of growth wave to remain relevant
That’s why you must stay on the growing side of the growth wave. If not, you will just disappear into the background noise around us all.
Today, it’s harder than ever to break through all the noise with the health issue front and center.
However, that’s exactly what every competitor needs to do. That’s why it’s important for them to continue to keep their brand name relevant in the marketplace.
That’s why every company must carefully partner with the right influencers, analysts and opinion leaders to help in them growth. This is a very important tool for every company, especially during these trying times.
So, even though influencer marketing is changing, if you understand these key differences in the influencer marketplace and how to choose wisely, you and your company can remain at the top of your game, today and going forward.
Bottom line… you must stay on the rising side of the growth wave.