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Sit in on a management meeting today and you’ll notice a distinctive shift taking place in the way we approach brand promotion. While sales, operations and finance directors are able to get through reporting their quarterly results relatively interruption free, superyacht marketing managers today seem to be getting “advice” from every corner.

“We should work with this guy”; “We should invite this blogger”; “This guy has 1,000,000 followers” and so on, and so forth. If you are in the veritable marketing “hot seat” in the superyacht industry today, you know that finding the right superyacht industry influencer to support your brand is a crucial step to drive awareness and sales.

Think back to the last yacht show when you found yourself in front of a person who couldn’t say enough about how great their product was. Do you remember rolling your eyes afterwards? Ineffective superyacht marketing & social media campaigns operate in much the same way. Brands using social media to shamelessly promote the “greatness” of their product or service are today often ignored. Clients, however, will listen to a “trusted friend” who guides, informs, and provides relevant information to consider. Think of the social media influencer as a trusted middleman, with an arsenal of contacts and a wealth of yachting experience upon which they can draw to guide you in the right direction.

86% of social media influencers operate at least one blog and produce niche based content that is relevant and informative to your target market about your brand. They are savvy about creating digital content and engaging your audience. They target decision makers who are in sync with your brand and have the power to reach them. They can initiate and support ongoing meaningful conversations between your clients and your brand and have the ability to drive audiences to your site and ultimately sell your product.

Commercials and billboards are out. A new world order for marketing is upon us and now that everyone has a voice, who is everyone listening to? Funnily enough, it’s not the brands.

I’ve finished ‘Blink’ and am on my second book by Malcolm Gladwell, ‘The Tipping Point’, where Gladwell sums up the definition of a great social media influencer. Surprise, surprise; it’s not only about the number of followers. Expertise and credibility on the subject matter are just as important as the relationship between the influencer and their followers. After all, getting good exposure is great, but if it’s not presented in the right context, any messaging you put out there will be met with deaf ears.

To find the right superyacht industry influencer who will be able to affect the actions of your potential customer base, these are the 5 critical elements you should consider:

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1. Relevance

An influencer should create meaningful content about your brand, in a way that shows their expertise in both social media and your chosen subject matter. Have they got specific product experience or a background in your sector that aligns with your brand?

2. Engagement

Your chosen expert should have the ability and knowledge to manage an ongoing dialogue with your fan base. Would you trust them talking directly to your customers about your products or services?

3. Reach

The influencer should have the right amount of high-quality relevant followers. There are loads of services out there (like Fame Audit) where you can check out how many of an account’s followers are genuine; in general you should be looking for accounts with less than 15% ‘bots’ or ‘dead accounts’, but this varies by industry.

4. Frequency

Your new social media partner should agree to engage your brand regularly, over a set period of time. How far are your superyacht marketing dollars really going with this campaign? Is it a flash in the pan? Or is it a carefully planned and sustained campaign, accompanied with detailed analysis and reporting of impressions, engagement and reach achieved? If anyone pitches you a digital campaign which does not include analytical reporting as standard…walk away.

5. Authenticity

Lastly, your chosen influencer should ‘speak’ in a trustworthy, reliable and unbiased voice. People switch off when they are sold to (we’ve covered this already), so make sure you check out some of the influencer’s past work before you sign up. If you don’t like the way they promote things, chances are your customers won’t either. [/emaillocker]

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