Influencers: Who are they and why are they important?

Many organizations, companies and brands have an influencer engagement strategy. But what does that mean, and is it right for your organization?  

Identifying Influencers

When we work with an organization new to influencer engagement, the first question we often get is, “Who do you define as in influencer?” What a great question! This is the best place to start in personalizing the influencer experience to your brand! 

Influencers are individuals with a platform, usually social media or a blog, and a significant audience. “Significant audience” is subjective to your goals with the engagement experience and budget. Choosing the correct audience is also dependent on your goals. In our work with clients, we’ve engaged food and lifestyle bloggers, registered dieticians, regulators, farmer bloggers, veterinarians, scientists and reporters. The range of your subject matter will determine the range of influencers that would be a good fit for your brand.  

When building your influencer tribe, consider your organization’s brand values, your communication strategies and the overarching goal of the influencer tour or event. We’ve worked with a brand that created an agriculture focused STEM curriculum that cultivated relationships with influential educators to develop a training series.  

Our goal at Look East is to make a connection between brands and influencers. The brand fully owns the relationship, and we encourage that interaction. One of our clients, National Pork Board, has become a master at utilizing their tribe of influencers for candid feedback on internal projects. Many of these influencer relationships grew out of tours we organized. 


Working with Influencers 

Look East began influencer engagement nearly a decade ago. In that time, the digital landscape and influencer requirements have drastically changed. When we began our journey, influencers were eager to join blogger tours for the sake of engagement and new content to write about. However, today’s influencer is much more tactical, well-connected and business savvy.  taste-farm-food

If you are considering hosting an influencer tour or event, it is important to know before building your budget that today’s engagement is dependent on a pay-to-play model and accompanied by relationship management. If a brand wants to engage influencers with a significant following, realize their availability is limited and their reach comes with a premium.  

When assembling your dream team of influencers, keep group dynamics in mind. Interaction between influencers and networking is a key part of the event. Finding a happy balance of cohesiveness is ideal. Influencers that truly enjoy the tour and the company of others at the experience are likely to have a more positive experience and that will come across in their content.  

See how one of our tours connected influencers from across the nation. 

The Power of Influencers 

Why go to all the trouble to identify influencers? Because they have the power to reach people that your messaging never could.  

Marketing Dive suggests at least 86 percent of marketers have relied on influencer engagement in the past year. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of organizations are increasing marketing budgets to accommodate for increasing that engagement.  

Why would a brand want to employ influencer engagement as a marketing strategy? In a world of suspicious consumers, authentic marketing is best received through brand ambassadors they trust. These influencers are able to tell their unique testimonial in a way that’s familiar and credible to their followers. The stamp of approval for a product or service develops a credibility among the audience that may not be achieved through traditional marketing. 

Influencers can be a powerful component of your strategy. Are you ready to step into the new era of brand marketing? 

In an upcoming post, we’ll look at best practices for engaging with influencers.