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With any major product launch, most consumer technology customers these days will adopt an influencer marketing plan to reach journalists, bloggers, high-profile users and other groups termed as "influencers" by the marketing community, with the aim of generating reviews and social media coverage to complement traditional advertising channels.
But when French mobile network operator (MNO) Orange France launched its connected home management platform – Homelive, in 2014 – it understood it needed to target different types of people to spread the word about a relatively new and untested market in the domestic internet of things (IoT).
Orange’s Homelive system allows users to manage and control a number of different connected objects around the home, such as heating and lighting.
Philippe Duhot, brand, content and digital manager at Orange France, said the IoT market was still in the early stages of its lifecycle – but one that it could not afford to ignore.
Orange turned to Traackr – an influencer marketing software supplier described by Emea vice president Nicolas Chabot as providing a service that is something akin to a customer relationship management (CRM) platform for influencers – to identify, segment and activate influential communities.
Orange had already been using influencer-marketing under its own steam for some time, said Chabot – but this had focused on the sort of mobility experts one would naturally expect an MNO to try to engage.
“Orange already had good knowledge of the technology influencers, but to develop into new markets it had no clue who to engage with,” said Chabot.
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In addition to high-tech and marketing and communications communities, Traackr helped Orange identify two additional groups of influencers, in categories it dubbed "lifestyle and design" and "connected home".
“Social is a very connected world but, on a given topic, 3% of people deliver 90% of a brand’s impact,” explained Chabot. “If you want to make an impact on the conversation, you have to target these people. Our platform allows brands to identify key people, understand what they are talking about, manage the relationship and measure the impact.”
Traackr’s software enabled Orange to identify the right people to talk to, map their relationships, listen to and engage with what they were saying. This allowed the company to manage those people's activation as influencers, and measure the outcomes by analysing group-specific key performance indicators (KPIs) – such as online publications and social mentions.
In the case of the lifestyle and design community – targeted because, as Duhot pointed out, “if you are going to install something in your house for a long time, you have to be sure the product is going to look nice” – it set up a PR event at a Paris showroom, with the objective of getting its Homelive products recognised as decorative objects.
Its group of connected home influencers, meanwhile, were targeted with a specific hashtag – in this case #JeTesteOrange – to generate reviews and qualified traffic, with influencers receiving long-term product loans for testing.
Finally, the marketing and communication group were targeted with a campaign built on a TV advertisement, using the #BougezRoger hashtag to increase the product's visibility and highlight its features, with outcomes measured social network mentions.
“The reality is that every influencer has their own strategy in terms of publicity and audience. When we work with connected home specialists, we use blogs and product reviews, designers are very visual and tend to be on Instagram, marketing specialists use news, chat and Twitter,” said Chabot.
“We try to have a 360° approach to social and blogs, we find the people behind each of the platforms, so to Orange it doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – we will bring all the information together to them to allow them to target people.”
The results of the outreach undertaken around Orange’s Homelive launch are easy to quantify. During the course of the campaign it saw over 20,000 unique visitors per day on a dedicated website; logged over 200 pieces of content published with an overall positive tone, helping Homelive establish credibility; 14,000 mentions and a 60% share of voice on social media, suggesting the service was generating relevant conversations; while product reviews and shares of created content pushed Homelive into the top 10 results on Google.
Orange also noted that the Connected Home community proved exceptionally active, and many of the targeted influencers have since become active moderators on the Homelive user forums, to the extent that Duhot invited some of them to work with his own marketing teams and bring an external perspective to future product enhancements.
“In terms of results we learned a lot, especially in areas that were not part of our core business. We were able to start a relationship with them and now they are very active with us, they are helping people get the best out of the product,” said Duhot.