To ensure that your voice is heard by the right audiences, you need to identify the right influencers – your digital stakeholders – in key markets. They are the voices online who understand your client’s issues or industry, are open to engagement, influence discussion, and are seen as trustworthy resources by their peers. Companies can align their influencer engagement efforts to strategic objectives by building solid relationships online and turning them from stakeholders into partners, or influencers who take an action on your company’s behalf.
Here are a few ways to build strong partnerships for your company:
1. Uncover a company’s priorities and existing relationships.
Have a conversation with a company about its priorities and existing partners. Priorities or goals for an online partnership require dialogue and aren’t typically summed up in few sentences. These conversations can prompt the company to reassess its goals and learn they may be different than were originally thought. Also, make sure the client informs you of any existing partnerships that they have, online or off. This is a great time to begin developing an online stakeholder map to provide a visual representation.
2. Refine your list so that you’re offering the best potential partners.
A never-ending scroll of sustainability or health bloggers is overwhelming and doesn’t help accomplish a program or company’s goals to create partnerships with key stakeholders or simply engage with partners. Consider using tools like our own BlogLevel or Compete to cut down your list of potential partners to a manageable number making sure to select partners most relevant to the company’s key issues. While a stakeholder might be immersed in your company’s area of interest, the stakeholder should also be popular, influential, trusted among peers, and/or a prominent voice in the space. Also save the names of all of the stakeholders you researched; you might engage them in the future.
3. Provide specific, actionable recommendations.
Recommendations should be specific, actionable and tailored to each company, its stakeholders, and the program. When recommending that the company offer content or other creative assets, make sure it is prepared to provide the agreed-upon assets, or that resources have been built into the project’s plan. When engaging a potential partner on behalf of a company, it is important to help the company understand that, depending on the depth of the ask of a particular influencer, compensation may be involved. Whether the program calls for travel or content creation, this should be included in budget recommendations. Always be fully transparent and include disclose about the nature of the partnership per FTC regulations.
4. Refine your recommendations as you begin the engagement process.
As you begin engaging with stakeholders and continue to monitor online activity, be prepared to shift recommendations based on learnings from monitoring conversations with stakeholders. Once the relationship is initiated, it’s likely you will learn of additional opportunities. From touring facilities or attending events to authoring by-lined posts, there may be an appropriate fit for a company to continue working with a stakeholder or partner in the future.
5. Be on the lookout for new influencers and potential partners.
New online influencers appear all the time, so even after your initial recommendations have been shared, keep an eye out for potential new stakeholders by continuing to monitor online discussions. This is a great opportunity to continue adding value to partnership efforts long after you’ve delivered initial recommendations and executed initial programs.
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