The biggest mistake brands make when trying to engage influencers is not first trying to understand who they are and what they stand for. They think it is all about the money, and simply the numbers and reach. I write a lot about Looking People in the Eye Digitally… so for me the most important influencer marketing tool is building relationships. Influencer marketing, when used to its best effect, is about building a network of business relationships that will yield results over time.

You’ll get as much out of the program as you put into it. So if your goal is to find a platform, and make this like programmatic advertising, and do whatever you can to automate the process… you will be throwing the majority of your budget down the drain.

In addition Empowering Your Employees to collaborate with your marketing team as micro-influencers (Employee Created Content, #ECC) can blow your content production and reach out of the water… so break free and go internal and local (employees at locations can create relevant, contextual, local content every day)! Do this and you’ll see a profound effect on your brand relationship with customers.

Always keep in mind the best influencers, those who truly “influence” others are everyday people… employees, friends, neighbors, family, and colleagues. EVERYONE INFLUENCES SOMEONE.

The vast majority of what Brands consider and refer to as “Influencers” are media creators and storytellers… their content very often is great content, marketing and advertising, but keep in mind it serves as, and should be measured as, a media buy.

A Network Gives You Reach… But A Community Gives You Power! Relationships are like muscle tissue… the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become. So if you are only focused on the Money… You risk completely overlooking the People.

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