My today’s guest is Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, New York Time best-selling author, expert in customer service, podcaster, and (ready for this?) “the most re-tweeted person in the world among digital marketers.” To my great pity, he isn’t able to make it to our inaugural Influencer Marketing Days show, but he was able to find time to answer a few of my questions about influencer marketing: where it currently is and where it should be going.

So, with great pleasure, I bring you this interview below:

Question: While the concept is centuries old, influencer marketing became the “buzz word” only a couple of years ago, and advertisers’ interest in it is only getting stronger. What do you think about influencer marketing?

Jay BaerJay: Influencer Marketing is especially hot now as companies and brands seek to find some one to break through clutter and competition for attention. Like all overheated marketing concepts, it’s a lot harder to do well than most people believe.

Question: What’s the biggest misconception you’ve seen brands have about influencer marketing?

Jay: The biggest issue is that brands confuse influence and audience. “Influence” means you can cause behavior change. Most “influencer marketing” attempts cannot and do not do this, they just reach a lot of eyeballs but don’t actually drive any real results. The most effective influencers often have smaller, more homogenous audiences where their opinion carries real weight.

Question: What top 3 mistakes should advertisers be aware of as they look into getting their feet wet in/with influencer marketing?

Jay:

  1. Selecting influencers based on reach, not demonstrated ability to change consumer behavior
  2. Not putting solid measurement protocols in place
  3. Not being extremely clear with influencers about what is expected, when, and how to disclose relationship

Question: What is the biggest overlooked influencer marketing opportunity, in your opinion?

Jay: Advocates. Also known as “citizen influencers.” These are customers (or employees) that may not have a huge audience, but have massive credibility.

Question: With 2017 just around the corner, what would you recommend for advertisers to consider implementing as soon as Q4 is over (a New Year’s influencer marketing resolution of sorts)?

Jay: Start looking for your advocates. Figure out who were your biggest customer cheerleaders in 2016 and start making plans for how to harness and amplify that passion next year.

Question: What do you believe to be the biggest challenge that advertisers face in terms of influencer marketing, and what steps can they take to overcome it?

Jay: Not knowing what to spend, where, and why. Lots of experimentation right now, but also a lot of snake oil being sold.

Question: If you were to leave brands with one piece of influencer marketing advice, what would it be?

Jay: Play the long game. Influencer marketing is not a 2-week campaign. You want real relationships with real influencers over a period of months or years. That’s what actually works.

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