Think of influencer marketing as a celebrity endorsement for your brand.
Your influencer doesn’t have to be famous like Beyoncé, but they are the highly regarded social media personalities in your field. They can be fellow professionals or they can be interested vloggers, bloggers, reviewers or journalists in your social media circles.
In short: influencer marketing is when you the brand establish a relationship with an influencer in order to better position your company in the eyes of your target audience.
If you are a cosmetics brand, a vlogger who provides makeup tutorials and has a huge following on Facebook where the majority of your fans are, is the perfect example of someone you should seek to form a connection with.
Likewise, if you manufacture protein supplements and market them on Instagram, a well-respected fitness expert can help you position your brand more favourably among your target audience.
Fans will be far more responsive to a positive word about you from their favourite social media personalities than to a Facebook advert or your own sales copy. Influencers have the super power to offer social proof to their entire network.
Don’t forget that influencer marketing needs to be mutually beneficial, otherwise one of you is wasting your time.
WHO IS AN INFLUENCER?
Influencers are the people on social media who your target audience looks up to as a kind of guru.
Due to their perceived authority on a subject, they are able to establish a level of trust with their following. A good word from them is akin to word of mouth marketing, but on a much larger scale than between friends and family.
Their vote of confidence will stand you in good stead for being able to nurture a positive relationship with their network.
HOW TO FIND AN INFLUENCER
A Klout score is from 1 to 100, and is calculated algorithmically to give marketers an idea of how much potential influence you have.
Register with Klout to search for the topic that you are tailoring your content for and see who comes up as an “expert” for that category.
Follow these people on their social media channels, then like and share their content.
When you feel you have been following them long enough to learn about their content and how they relate to their followers, connect with them on Linked In and start a conversation.
ESTABLISHING A RELATIONSHIP WITH AN INFLUENCER
- Plan, plan, plan – You have to plan your influencer strategy – Don’t just act on instinct. You have to play the long game to get your influencer onside.
- Make it part of your wider marketing strategy – If you plan to release a new product, or create content around a specific event in the calendar, by all means consider amplifying your reach with the help of an influencer. If you have no real reason to involve someone else, you are just wasting time and resources. Think it through first.
- Don’t expect to hit it off with the influencer straightaway – Like any other business relationship, you have to nurture it slowly. Start off by following them and liking their posts before making the bold move to reach out to them.
- Slowly does it – Once you are in conversation, build up trust over time. Take this as the ideal opportunity to test the water and find about out their interests and motivations. You may find they are not the best fit for your company after all, and that’s okay.
- Make it a symbiotic relationship – As this is a business collaboration, it cannot be one sided. They need to benefit from it too, otherwise why should they help you out?
- Select the right influencer for the right channels – Make sure that they use the channels you are targeting. It is pointless to work with an Instragram personality if you have no intention of marketing on Instagram.
- Be easy to work with – Keep open the lines of communication and provide them with any necessary content assets they might need.
- Stick to what you agreed from the outset – Don’t annoy people. As much as they can be positive for your brand, influencers have the equal power to create negative publicity.
WAYS YOU CAN WORK WITH AN INFLUENCER
- Interview them for your blog/social media channels;
- They can share your posts;
- Ask them to put up a post about your product/service on their channels;
- Get them to email their list with a piece about your product/service;
- Work on a content piece together, such as an informative ebook about your industry that you can both share on your social channels;
- Guest post on each other’s blogs;
- Ask them to feature you on their videos;
- Send them your product/service and they can give a review on their channels;
- Record some video content at an event you are both attending.
Influencer marketing is an exciting and fresh way to generate interest in your product or service. You can reach a whole new audience and have someone authoritative vouch for your brand. This is also a more original way for potential customers to consume content about your brand that seems less contrived than standard “sales” content. Why not give it a go?