Forbes starts doing influencer marketing—with a twist

Dive Brief:

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Forbes is taking a somewhat different approach to influencer marketing by charging advertisers for access to influential journalists, academics and bloggers rather than social media stars.
  • Forbes’ influencer network was created via a partnership with Traackr, a social media analytics firm.
  • Instead of brands paying influencers to promote their products, the goal of the network is to help brands create relationships with influential experts, especially if the brands want to create content.

Dive Insight:

The network operates differently from more typical influencer marketing where brands pay social influencers directly to promote content. Instead brands can use the network to find influential experts on specific topics they are producing content around in an effort to get them to share that content, but the influencers won’t specifically get paid for sharing that content.

According to The Journal, marketers must produce Forbes content as part of the BrandVoice Premium program and commit to spending a minimum of $100,000 a month for six months to qualify for the influencer network.

Mark Howard, Forbes’ chief revenue officer, explained to The Journal that advertisers have been asking the publisher: “‘How do I know I’m reaching the influencers? How do I amplify my message?’ We’ve been limited in identifying the right people, and this helps them. Traackr goes into publisher websites and deep into blogosphere.”

Influencer marketing has emerged as an important trend as social media stars in recent years have gained dedicated followings that can rival even major publishers. Many brands are starting to see the benefits, which include helping brands amplify their reach, target niche audiences, spur engagement, forge connections and build trust. According to RhythmOne’s “2015 1H Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report,” marketers that used influencer marketing saw a $9.60 return of earned media value on average for every dollar of paid media spend.

In 2015, "you saw leading edge companies adopting influencer marketing ... and it's certainly not going to slow down any time soon," Chuck Moran, VP of marketing at RhythmOne, told Marketing Dive.

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Social Media Trends