Influencer Marketing MatchmakingBy Laura Petrolino

Today I’m going to talk about influencer marketing, but first I’m going to talk about me (#onlychildFTW).

I’m on vacation this week. This means a few things:

  1. I won’t be responding to your comments below (I’ll want to, but if I do, Gini Dietrich will cut of my head…for realz).
  2. Just for the record, Gini definitely practices what she preaches and is forcing me to go on vacation. I told our team the other day I’m pretty sure the only thing Gini and I have ever argued about while I’ve been at Arment Dietrich is vacation and sick days—as in she enforces them like a scary dictator and I try to negotiate my way out of them.I remember the first time I got really sick while working here and I was (through fits of coughing) stating my case as to why I could work perfectly fine with a fever. Finally after about 20 minutes of this back and forth Gini simple said, “Laura, this is not a negotiation.” She won the stubborn war. Really she’s quite the tyrant.
  3. A part of me worries this is all a big plan to eliminate me. If that is the case, my strategy is to just pretend the entire incident didn’t happen and go about work as usual until she gives up. That’s when you all come in. I will rely on you to carry on in the same manner to back me up. Perhaps if all of us do it together, she’ll become confused and give up.

Whew…ok, now that we got those housekeeping items out of the way, we know can resume our regularly scheduled blog.

Influencer Marketing: The Actual Topic of This Blog Post

If you are in communications, influencer marketing is likely a topic you’ve thought a lot about.

It is a very important part of any communications plan, and can be executed in many different ways, across all media types.

In fact, the variety of influencer marketing opportunities available to communication pros is perhaps what makes it such a powerful part of overall strategy. Every organization has the opportunity to deploy it in their own strategy in a way that best…well “influences” their target consumer.

Some examples of forms it might take:

  • Earned media placements and blogger outreach
  • Content driven opportunities (guest blogs on your own properties, contributed content on influencer properties)
  • Influencers as spokespeople
  • Social media driven campaigns
  • Brand ambassador programs
  • Influencer communities (much like what we have here on Spin Sucks)
  • Review sites and other forms of word of mouth marketing

Influencers are Different than Celebrities

Ok, so influencer marketing is a choose your own adventure type of a gig (please jump to page 56 if you want to journey down the well and page 85 if you want to climb the mountain), and that doesn’t just apply to choice of tactic alone.

The most important part of influencer marketing is…well, the influencer.

<drops mic>

And the biggest mistake organizations often make when choosing their influencers is thinking that influencer = celebrity.

That’s poor influencer marketing math.

While your best influencer might be a celebrity or well-known name/public figure (both generally and in your niche), that’s not always the case.

While a well known figure with a large following may get your message out farther, their endorsement or mention might also motivate fewer actual sales or conversions.


A large following or big name might imply influence, but doesn’t necessarily translate into influence which converts or matters in particular to an organization’s niche market segment. Instead an influencer with a much smaller following but higher trust factor will be more valuable. Hence the success of traditional WOM marketing tactics and brand ambassador programs.


How do you determine the best influencer for your organization?

KISSMetrics has three essentials to examine:

  • Context: Does the influencer make sense for your brand?
  • Reach: Is the influencer able to amplify your message?
  • Actionability: Can the influencer provoke action among your target consumer?

In order to assist you in this process, I’d like to introduce my new product, Influencer

Matching you with the right influencer for your organization. While this is still in beta, I’ll give you a bit of behind the scenes on how this product works.

You input your goals and objectives (otherwise known as your communications plan).

Influencer then evaluates your target consumer—their motivations, pain points, where and how they collect and absorb information, and who they trust (also known as your buyer personas or market research).

You stalk them through all their social networks and online hangouts. You follow their blog and content, you learn about their communities, you understand their interests and goals, as well as those of the communities they speak to.

You wink, they wink….. (aka: BUILD RELATIONSHIPS)

You fall in love (the relationship is mutually beneficial and supportive).

Don’t Wait for the Release

The good news is you can do this on your own with some research, some strategy, and a basic understanding of relationships, humans, and communications.

Relationships should always be at a forefront of any influencer marketing effort, as well as an understanding that relationships aren’t built overnight and truly powerful influencer marketing is an investment, not a quick solution.

Tomorrow GroupHigh is hosting their annual Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit, which I have the honor of being part of—along with an amazing line-up of experts in various aspects of influencer marketing. It’s a day of 15 minute presentations and resources to help inspire your influencer marketing mojo (even without Influencer

I can’t wait to check out some of the other presentations (after my vacation of course….otherwise #GiniWrath).

Plus, it’s free!

And on that note…I leave you for the week. Please miss me and post sweet nothings for me to read and feel loved upon my return next week.

 Photo: My dog Oliver and a goat he fell in love with. This match wasn’t made by Influencer, but the same theory applies. 

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

View all posts by Laura Petrolino