One of the primary objectives of any digital marketing agency is to influence the influencers.
This is a much bigger challenge than most realize for a variety of reasons.
- Determining influencers, from the outside, is time consuming research
- Monitoring influencers, across a variety of industries, is challenging
- Engaging influencers, as an outsider, is clumsy
- Influencing influencers is impossible without authentic engagement
Managing this process and consistently yielding results is in need of technology. For years we have used a scotch tape and chewing gum constructed solution that includes piecemeal, largely consumer driven, increasingly bloating, social media software. Here are a couple of tools we use regularly:
- Google Reader
Don’t get me wrong, they can be used reasonably effectively; however, they hinge on a couple of factors that are problematic.
- Google Reader, which is headed for the grave will leave us with no RSS management platform
- Twitter, which is an effective newswire, but increasingly less effective for engaging influence and does not directly engage the content
- Our first step needs to be engaging influencer’s content. Influencers are generally influential by the nature of their content and the thought leadership that it showcases. Therefore, if you want to get their attention and authentically ensure them that you’re interested in their vision and collaborating in the same thought-space (I think I just made that up), you need to engage and interact with their content–comment, discuss, share.
- We need to leverage a technology that allows us to efficiently collect influencer content. I think this is OPML and OPML directories (Google Reader did this to some degree) that provide a portable lists of industry specific–potentially influencer curated–news sources.
- We need to leverage a technology that allow us to efficiently manage content flows. This is, of course, some open RSS architecture that aggregates in (near) real-time a river of content from subscribed, OPML acquired, news sources.
- That RSS river needs to be supported by a reading system that allows us to quickly and efficiently engage the content in a way that moves ideas and thought leadership forward–links to comment and promote. It probably looks something like this.
The result is that we begin to engage influencers in a more natural and compelling way–the way real people do–read, think, comment, think, blog, link, rinse and repeat.
What do you think? Would this be useful? How do you manage your influencer engagement? Does it give you results?