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How to Build an Impactful Influencer Community for 2020

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to stop at the gym: it’s also time to give your influencer marketing strategy a January tune-up. The core of any successful influencer program is an engaged community, but fostering a close-knit, passionate cohort of brand advocates doesn’t happen by chance. To help you kick off 2020 on the right foot, Tribe Dynamics dove into the community management strategies that fueled top beauty and fashion brands’ 2019 success—and what you need to know to get ahead next year. 

Inspired by our just-released special report, Community Management: How to Build Your 2020 Influencer Strategy, we’re publishing a three-part blog series outlining the key tools for strengthening, and expanding, your family of supporters. In Part One, we’ll help you understand exactly who makes up your influencer community, and how to leverage different groups of bloggers to drive sustained growth in Earned Media Value (EMV)

Break Down Your Community by Brand Affinity

Historically, brands have grouped influencers based on follower count, but a blogger’s popularity is less important than the strength of their connection to your brand. 

You can think of your influencer network as comprising four groups: Potential Fans, Evaluators, Advocates, and VIPs. Ambassadors in each group are at a different stage in their relationship to your brand. 

  • Potential Fans are influencers who are unfamiliar or only slightly familiar with your brand, but are also likely to appreciate it based on the kind of content they create. 
  • Evaluators are interested in your brand and may have posted once or twice about your products, but aren’t yet showing consistent enthusiasm. 
  • Advocates are fans of your brand who have demonstrated more sustained interest than Evaluators, but have yet to deem it a favorite. 
    VIPs consistently use and recommend your products, which means they’re also perfect for helping your brand identify new potential fans.

A flywheel graphic showing the four influencer community groups: Potential Fans, Evaluators, Advocates, and VIPs.

To Grow Your Community, Strengthen Existing Relationships 

It’s important to keep in mind that these aren’t static categories. Successful brands are constantly moving bloggers along from one community group to the next, as they build stronger and stronger influencer relationships through activations: Potential Fans become Evaluators, Evaluators become Advocates, and Advocates become VIPs, who recruit new Potential Fans. This dynamic cycle forms the foundation of a healthy influencer network and fuels sustainable growth in both EMV and community size.

Meet Influencers Where They’re At 

VIPs might be your most impactful content creators, but every segment of your community is crucial. In order to inspire the most value from your entire influencer network, take a tailored approach to activating each group. A handwritten note and product refill might pique the interest of a Potential Fan, whereas you can count on VIPs to share impactful content from a unique getaway. By creating thoughtful relationship-building opportunities for influencers at every stage, you can optimize your limited resources and ensure that your entire community—not just one contingent—is gaining a deeper connection to your brand. 

Keeping tabs on a growing influencer network can be overwhelming, but refocusing your strategy around community groups—rather than individual content creators—will result in a far more streamlined and scalable outreach strategy. In Part Two of this series, we’ll dig deeper into what an impactful influencer community looks like, surfacing the most effective ways to measure and achieve community health. Stay tuned! 

Be sure to read Tribe Dynamics’ Community Management: How to Build Your 2020 Influencer Strategy report for a more comprehensive analysis of the influencer marketing strategies and brands that stood out in 2019, and recommendations for how to build a successful influencer community in 2020. 


Ready to unlock your brand’s influencer marketing potential?

Tribe Dynamics provides tools and insights for passion-driven brands and the retailers that carry these brands. Let’s get in touch so you can start growing your influencer marketing program today!