Interview with Thomas Cook Airlines Search Marketing Manager Diego Puglisi as reported by Nikki Gilliland for Econsultancy
- Traditional use of bloggers by brands has little SEO value.
- With "mentions" a potential ranking factor, links have become less important, and influencer marketing has become more effective for more than just SEO.
- Upon our moving away from obsessive link-building, SEO has become an integral part of organic strategy.
- Influencers are as important in the travel industry as in any other vertical.
- Thomas Cook Airlines invests in influencers for the promotion of key destinations, new route launches, new products and brand sponsorships.
- "Identifying the right influencer is absolutely the key."
- We analyze influencers' followers using tools, and look at the influencer's style, but also speak directly to the influencer to ensure compatibility.
- We look at engagement: followers, likes, shares, comments.
- And we evaluate influencers on the basis of their own SEO metrics: domain authority, citation flow and trust flow.
- Regarding compensation: we tend to take influencers on trips with us, or send them to a destination to which they're keen to go. We use paid collaboration less often, mainly for specific high-tier campaigns or to address exclusive brand ambassadors.
- Influencers should feel free to express their opinions, but we need to ensure the visibility of the brand.
- KPIs we use are a mix of likes, shares, backlinks and mentions; also SEO rank changes and referrals from the influencer's content.
- Authenticity is hard to measure, but how the influencer acknowledges comments, likes and shares could be an indicator, along with the way opinions are expressed.
- An influencer who's only interested in monetary gain is a poor fit, regardless of level of authority.
I'm now following Thomas Cook Airlines (@TCAirlinesUK) on Twitter, and will report anything interesting I find out from that.