Carolee Sherwood: Tortoise vs. Hare: An Influencer Marketing Case Study

Tortoise vs. Hare: An Influencer Marketing Case Study

 

You know the story. There’s a score to settle between the tortoise and the hare. The hare is haphazard and in a big hurry. The tortoise is methodical and willing to pace himself. If influencer marketing were a race, my money would be on the tortoise.

Of course, influencer marketing’s a strategy, not a race. Even still, hare’s need not apply. Word on the street is, in their haste, hares implement several ill-advised tactics, including

  • leaving spammy blog comments (“Great post, but have you seen mine?“)
  • tagging popular profiles randomly (“Hey, @You! Wanna help me sell myself?”)
  • blasting the masses with identical text (reproducing content like, well, rabbits) and
  • popping up with pitches out of the blue.

As you may know, tortoises commit to the long-haul instead. Their approach is much more suited to influencer marketing, which requires

  • in-depth research (identifying not only influencers but also hot topics and trends)
  • patient observation (studying influencers’ content and style, for example)
  • meaningful social networking (contributing to influencers’ conversations) and
  • contextual pitches (mentioning products/services or requesting assistance as it becomes appropriate).

So, as you set expectations for influencer marketing, practice this mantra in your best tortoise voice: “Dude, don’t rush me.”

Of course, if you prefer, you could put it more eloquently, like this, for example: Sure, there are situations that dictate short-term solutions and mass outreach, but in most cases that just replicates existing marketing activities. Creating true influence as a brand means investing time in building deep relationships with consumers, and creating an extension of your brand nationally or globally (Brandon Evans in AdAge DIGITAL). Or like this: The benefits of influencer marketing will not happen overnight. Building solid relationships takes time and effort (Amanda Maksymiw in The Future Buzz).

It’s tempting to take short-cuts and jump right in with pitches, but avoid the urge. There are situations where it’s alright to work more quickly, as when finding just the right influencers to promote efforts like deals or contests. However, for the most part, influencer strategies help you target very specific audiences with whom you need to develop credibility. To succeed, you’ll need to be prepared for an investment of your time. The good news? The relationships you build will be solid and, most likely, long-term.

The tortoise outlives the hare, dude.

Originally published 14 June 2012 on blog.mlinc.com. Carolee Sherwood is a Conversation Manager at Media Logic