In recent years, senior executives and business leaders are more involved in the social transformation of organizations. The latest surveys show that senior managers and CEO are overcoming their fears of social networks. Companies are now integrating social media into their marketing strategies. However, even though this is encouraging, the best is yet to come, as shown by a new study by the European firm Augure.
The Targeting and Identification of Influencers: A Challenge for Companies
The main challenge for brands and companies in each campaign of social media influence marketing (SMI) is to single out, target and identify good influencers. In fact, this is the main key to the success of an influencers marketing campaign.
What emerges from the Augure study is that it’s not so much a question of tools and applications than processes and methods. Companies must first target the social platforms based on the objectives and target audience. Then, to identify the right influencers, brands and organizations should consider a number of contextual factors; analyze their activities and relevance of their content, understand their Social Graph and know with whom they exchange and interact with in the community. There is no recipe, and this is a long process, that will make use of different channels and several software tools.
However, the study results demonstrate that the brands and companies still seem to be content with a rather superficial targeting, by searching based more on algorithms rather than contextual analysis. 42% of the respondent companies favor Twitter and manage their activity on the social network, and 37% choose Google. 20% opt for market platforms, where the identification of tools and targeting influencers, are increasingly sophisticated and efficient.
On the other hand, the companies surveyed didn’t adopted LinkedIn yet, which nevertheless occupies a more and more important role in the influence of marketing strategies in social media. And, over 25% of respondents still support the use of TOP lists of followers, or refer to Klout to identify influencers.
The Relationships with Influencers: A Team Effort
Similarly, since the success of a influence marketing campaign in social media may involve many stakeholders, relationships with influencers should not be entrusted to a single person or a single department within a business. Each speaker in the chain, starting with the leaders and senior executives, must be involved at one time or another in the relationship. The influence of social media marketing is not based solely on public relations and marketing, but also through the customer service and human resources management. In this context, the CEO should be the first to transmit the values and culture of their organization, and to lead by example.
The study by the firm Augure however, reveals that from a large part of the respondents, relationships with influencers during a campaign in social networks remains within the public relations (28%) or community manager (17%). But, companies believe the campaigns should be entrusted to company officers (17%), or to the communication and marketing director (11%).
The Online Customer Acquisition Method Most Effective and Fast
For the future, 1 in 5 companies (20%) do not intend to budget any money for influencer engagement, and only 6% are dissatisfied with the results of their campaigns and are reducing their budget for the next year. The situation remains encouraging for 75% of respondents; 33% of respondents will increase their budget, while 41% intend to maintain the same level.
Similar results from the Tomoson’s study that reveals SMI marketing has been the fast-growth online customer acquisition method for 22% of the respondents. 70% of respondents say they are very satisfied, which may explain why 59% of respondents are increasing their budget to devote to marketing influencers. (Read also: Social Media Influence Marketing : Why Blogs Matter)
Towards Greater Involvement of Leaders, with the Arrival of X and Y
According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, and INC, senior managers and executives (CEO) of companies are increasingly young, dynamic and innovative and thus more willing to adopt social media for their business or organization. A positive trend confirmed by 2 important studies in the United States.
Since 1980, according to statistics reported by DOMO / CEO.com, the average age of the leaders of Fortune 100 has decreased, from 60 years to 56 years. And, since 2011, 20% of the CEO’s of major companies in the information and communication field are under 40 years of age. With the rise of independent entrepreneurship that is currently seen in Generation Y, we can already predict that this figure will increase in the coming years, when they’ll become their own boss. (See also: Generation C – The rise of independent entrepreneurship)
In short, if one relies on the Augure study and the US studies, most senior executives and CEO’s are quickly embracing new marketing paradigms in social media networks. More executives and CEO’s are involved in the process, and embrace influence marketing concepts in social media. This is, in my opinion, great news for the future of the social media influence marketing industry.
What do you think? Do you think the companies and brands add influence marketing in social media into their strategy? Are senior managers and executives sufficiently involved? Will the situation evolve positively in the coming years? Share your thoughts and experiences with us.