Influencer Relationship Building: Panel Discussion at Authentic Marketing Conference

influencer relationship building
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The sphere of marketing is changing drastically, relying more and more on the nuances of digital outreach, according to several experts at the recent Authentic Marketing Conference.

“Influencers” –social media, branding and marketing leaders – spoke on how companies can ramp up corporate public profiles.

The annual conference took place in Los Angeles, Apr. 28, led by MediaLeaders’ Josh Ochs, social media guru and author.

One session, Influencer Relationship Building, was moderated by Kirk Crenshaw, chief marketing officer of Traackr, a digital branding company.

Much discussion was based on the topic of clearing up misunderstandings between brands/corporations and influencers.

“It used to be PR was about getting that feature in Forbes, but now it’s about capitalizing on social media, especially with Millennials,” advised Samantha Wormser, PR and SEO manager at Power Digital Marketing.

“They are definitely into brand awareness, and finding discounts” that incentivize purchase.

“Maybe they won’t redeem your coupon, but through social media, they might actually be looking at your website.”

Underplayed media, she noted, tend to be Instagram and YouTube, though unlike Twitter or Facebook, she cautioned that Instagram should not be used several times a day, lest the message “gets lost in the noise.”

Cathy Tram, self-dubbed ‘beauty influencer’, voiced her frustrations with corporate executives who seek to micro-manage – and upend – the marketers. “A lot of companies want you to do things their way, and not want your expertise.”

Swiss-native Manou Oescheger, travel and fashion blogger, warned against discount decisions and shortcuts.

“I’d rather drive three hours to Death Valley, and take a photo that is worth the trip, as opposed to taking a phone selfie,” for promoting a product.

But a poignant image, however professionally made, does not necessarily guarantee sales, she cautioned. “We promote it and market it, but you won’t know if that has any direct effect.”

Aubrey Beck, director of influencer marketing at Avant Voice, concurred with the other panelists that social media marketing is a long-term interaction between the brand, brand-hired influencers, and consumers — with often unquantifiable results.

“Expect time and resources in the beginning, and know it’s a slow build. If brands are serious about their influencer programs, you have to build these relationships. Influencers are people, and not things you put a quarter in, and something pops out.”

Furthermore, being clear on an influencer’s role – one of promoting – is crucial, she added.

“You think if you give the influencers money, they’ll fix your business? No.”

And finally, another key piece of advice is not to jump too quickly onto the latest social media fad, lest it distract from current core campaigns.

“Do not get pulled away to the newest app. It’s important to set a plan and stick to it. Being agile is important, but it’s also important to know when it’s best to put your blinders on and focus,” noted Beck.


Image L to R: Kirk, Samantha, Cathy, Manou, Aubrey

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Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications globally, over the course of twenty years. More about him can be found at