I was stumped when I first heard the term Influencer Guide.
In a bustling cafe in Newark, NJ, my digital friend and cohort Tamara MacDuff and I were meeting IRL (in real life) for the first time.
When she called herself an Influencer Guide and explained what that means, I knew I needed to share this knowledge with other marketers and business owners.
My interview with Tamara will help you understand why you need to find your own Influencer Guide and how this guide can boost your business dramatically!
Meet Tamara MacDuff
Tarama and I have known each other for several years online.
What’s ironic is that she’s been an Influencer Guide for B Squared Media for several years now as well. It took our delving into this topic for me to realize that, though.
Tamara is the owner of Web Moxie Media, and get this, often helps funeral homes with their digital presence. (No easy feat, I’m sure!)
To learn more about Tamara, or connect with her in the social sphere, see her links:
She has the following to say about connecting:
“I am happy to connect, love to have conversations, love football & fantasy football, rock and roll (Rock, Country) & coffee! Let me know how I can make your day fabulous!”
Below are excerpts from our interview …
Defining “Influencer Guide”
When we met, you called yourself an influencer guide. Can you define that term and tell us how you came up with it?
An influencer guide is someone who walks through the digital jungle finding people, and other resources, and developing a relationship with these people and spreading the word to those who are seeking out certain people, advice, resources for their business.
I came up with the term after listening to Chris Brogan, who I think may have actually coined that phrase, and Mark Schaefer on a Blab about personal branding and how influencers will lose their influence in some ways; simply because their followings are getting too big, etc.
Influencers need an influencer guide to guide the right people to them, and to help influencers build a community of people who are engaged and qualified. When I send someone to an influencer community, I give them the lay of the land: this is what they are known for, this is what they talk about, etc.
I love to connect people; whenever friends say, “Hey Tam, I need someone to help me with my blog, email marketing, social media, etc.” I will connect them with the resource or influencer.
Most noteworthy, it’s important to remember influencers are people; they want people to like them, and they want to grow their business, their community, etc. I’m a great collaborator. This is why I’m not opposed to sending people to influencers like Mark Schaefer, Chris Brogan, you/B Squared Media, or Jay Baer.
What To Look For
What are the qualities of an influencer guide? Why are they important to people or brands?
First of all, an influencer guide is someone who isn’t afraid to share their knowledge and where they got it from. They are someone who knows their strengths & weaknesses, knows how to make the strengths shine and minimize the weaknesses, and know how to implement the advice the influencer’s give out to the guide’s own community or clients.
Marketing is all about relationships – and when an influencer has a great relationship with an influencer guide, it boosts their success. While I may not have a large following, I do have a real relationship with my influencers. I talk to them, recommend their content or services, and have seen real results from doing so.
Furthermore, an influencer guide is a conduit for the influencer to their community or an extended community.
Advocates Versus Influencers
What’s the difference between an influencer guide and an advocate?
That’s a GREAT question. Influencer guides do advocate, however, an advocate truly goes to the wall for their clients, customers, etc. I have 2 disabled daughters. I am their biggest advocate – I make things happen and get them exactly what they need when they need it.
On the other hand, I don’t tell the influencers what they should do. I wouldn’t call up my influencers and say, “Dude, you HAVE to talk to this guy, he really needs you.” It’s up the business owner to create that relationship with the influencer.
So I guide people, I say here is the information and people I recommend, where would you like to go? I personalize the business owner’s trip through the digital jungle; I don’t take it for them.
Where’s MY Influencer Guide?!
How can marketers, companies or brands cultivate their own influencer guide(s)?
Marketers and companies can cultivate their own influencer guides by engaging with their audience, answering people’s questions and giving something back to the ones they SEE doing something for them on a consistent basis.
Most of all, companies need to focus on:
- Giving something back. Maybe just a thank you phone call – I got one of those – it was the BEST phone call ever.
- Personalized emails saying thank you or I appreciate you.
- Maybe asking, how can I help you with your business? Not giving carte blanche, but just a little bit. It is a give and take.
For example, ask for collaboration like you are doing right now by interviewing me for this post!
We’ve been online friends for a few years. I “met” you through a competitor – she followed you, so I checked you out. I followed. Finally, I started liking, commenting, sharing, etc.
As a result, we DM’d a few times. I started using your #ThinkConversation hashtag. I like to think I helped you grow a little bit. Maybe I didn’t – but I did help you get your message and brand to more people.
Consequently, we then met in person … and you offered to write this, out of a conversation we had, and I’m so grateful!
Advice On Becoming A Guide
If someone wants to be considered an influencer guide, what is your advice for best doing this?
My advice to being an influencer guide is to know yourself and your strengths, and:
- Follow influencers in your field and get to know them. In addition, know what they like to talk about, who their ideal client is, etc.
- Know YOUR clients so you can direct them to the right influencer.
- Your job is to recommend, to know who, what, where and why to send a new follower or potential client.
- Know how to implement the influencer’s ideas for your client in the client’s business.
- DON’T be afraid to send people to others – information and knowledge are meant to be shared, not hoarded.
As a result, your influencers will see your activity and they will know you. Some will acknowledge you, some don’t.
With one of my big influencers, I didn’t know he was paying attention to anything I was doing because he never liked, commented or shared, unless I tagged him. I thought I was a nobody to him. But as it turns out, when I reached out to him to ask a question privately, he said to me, “It is so fun watching your career grow and all the presentations you are doing. I’m proud of you.” I was like, COOL!
Don’t do it for the glory or recognition; being an influencer guide can be lonely. Do it because you WANT to, and because you are sharing things that truly resonate with you and because you are guiding someone to success.
Remember, you can have everything you want if you’re willing to help others get what they want.
Whether you call what Tamara does advocacy, influence, or an Influencer Guide, she is certainly carving a niche for herself by connecting to influencers in the online industry and guiding new readers, subscribers and clients their way.
Do you know any other notable Influencer Guides? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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