Just like in life, with influencer marketing it isn’t always how many people you know, but how well you know them that drives success. On the sixth of Convince and Convert’s Influencer Pros Podcast, Cision Canada’s Interim Managing Director Heidi Sullivan spoke with Shonali Burke, CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, about how to create an effective influencer marketing program through building relationships.

Burke, a leading expert on social media marketing and influencer relations, shared her experiences getting influencer marketing campaigns off the ground, likely before the term “influencer” came to the forefront.

Here are her three tips:

1. Influencer relationships aren’t plug-and-play.

What works in Ontario won’t necessarily work in India. Burke shared that every market has its sweet spot and client education around this fact is extremely valuable. She cited that in some locales, like Southeast Asia, traditional advertising and endorsement marketing is incredibly effective while in others the same tactics will fall flat. Knowing your own skill set and the client’s budget can help you steer a brand away from biting off more than you both can chew.

2. Community is at the heart of the most successful cause marketing campaigns.

What makes cause marketing live and breathe is the community that is built around the campaign — and influencers can help build it. Think about Movember or the 2011 United Nations Refugee Agency’s Blue Key campaign that Burke conducted. She invited influencers to buy and wear Blue Key Pins in support of the world’s refugees and asked to write blog post promoting the program. The Blue Key campaign labeled its members to be ambassadors of the and even created their own private Facebook group to coordinate promotion efforts. The community itself grew the program helping it have a life of its own. The key here is that influencers were asked to engage in a way that suited them without mandates but rather as part of a greater community.

3. Relationships take time to build.

Top-line influencers receive hundreds of pitches a week. To get their attention, really know who you are targeting and be persistent says Burke. Not every campaign suits a specific influencer, so make sure what you are asking an influencer to engage on actually fits their audience and brand before pitching. This way, if they do read your pitch, you aren’t wasting anyone’s time and they will be more likely to engage with your project. If at first you don’t succeed, feel free to try again but do so respectively. Burke explains on this podcast than any relationship worth building takes time.

Listen to the podcast and learn why relationships are the secret to great influencer campaigns.


About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

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