July 13, 2014
Today we always seem to be in need of some unique marketing tactics, and although influencer marketing is still around, it’s not something that’s been perfected by most companies. Influencer marketing is a great way to move your business forward, and it should be a method that never gets old. The biggest question is how you start using it without coming on too strong.
To utilize influencer marketing effectively, you need to do a lot of careful planning. Make sure that it grows and continues to grow. This requires a plan. It seems that for many companies, influencer marketing just seems to happen all by itself. But sometimes you’re not so lucky, and you want to grow this approach for your own business. You must ask yourself what exactly is influencer marketing and how can you make sure it’s successful for you?
Exactly What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing refers to the process of finding people who have a voice in your particular industry. It’s designed for you to find out who really influences your target audience and then create a relationship with that person or company. Influencers have considerable power when it comes to influencing your target audience. This is probably because of a number of reasons, but typically it simply means that the influencer has probably been associated with an industry for a while and has built credibility and trustworthiness through creating reliable articles, projects, referrals, etc.
Several different things that an influencer can do to help you:
- They can write a blog post or an article about your company, and then publish it on their website or a website where they may have influence.
- They can submit content to their authoritative and influential website bringing you a lot of targeted traffic.
- They can share information on their social accounts about your company.
- They can share something that you have done on their own social accounts.
Of course, an influencer who can persuade your target audience simply because they are credible took time to become influential. You can’t expect to ask an influencer to help you and immediately strike up a partnership just so they can help you get your brand name to a new audience. You will first need to prove yourself so an influencer will have the desire to work with you in the first place. Sometimes this isn’t always easy.
Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy
According to a SocialChorus report from 2013, influencer marketing campaigns will drive 16 times more engagement than paid or owned media. It may take a bit of time for you to create a solid strategy, but it will be well worth the effort.
A few tips to getting started with influencer marketing
First, you have to identify your target audience and then see who will be able to reach and influence that audience. If you’re still unsure about who your audience really is spend some time on your own campaigns gathering data so you can see who it is exactly that is clicking on your content.
Once you think you know your audience, you will want to determine several things. What are they reading, what platforms are they using, what are they sharing, etc. As you research this, you may often see some of the same authors again and again. Take a look at these authors’ social profiles, and determine just how much influence they really have. You will want to look not only at the number of social followers they have, but also the quality. It’s also good to look at some other things they will have written to make sure the quality of comments and the content in general are acceptable.
Be sure to build the Relationship. Reach out to the influencers you like and have something to offer them. If you want to build a relationship with them, it will take some time, so be prepared with a strategic plan. It’s not as simple as just sending them an email and assume they’ll answer you. You will need to gradually build up your own credibility first, and your online visibility, to be noticed.
Follow these steps:
- Connect and interact on social media. This is your first step, and it’s an easy one. The influencer you want probably get lots of requests each day, so even if he or she doesn’t accept right away, it’s worth a try. Of course, if they immediately accept, then count yourself very lucky. But if they don’t, you can still share their content on your own social channels. If you comment on their articles often and share content, be sure to tag them in that content. This will give you a lot better chance for them to notice you and understand that you’re serious. After a while there’s a good chance they will accept your request to connect.
- Reach out for content contributions. As soon as you are sure who you want to contact, email them directly and ask if you can submit content to their site. Again, you may not get an answer right away, but it’s a good way to show them that you are legitimate and that you’re ready to help get involved.
- Don’t forget to focus on more than just one person. Don’t focus on only one influencer at a time. It’s also important that you work with other publishers who might not be influencers. If your Twitter has the same three people retweeting all the time, it’s not going to make you look good!
- Try to meet them face to face if possible. Actually, contrary to popular opinion, this isn’t as hard as you might think. Most influencers speak at conferences, and there may be one nearby. If you can attend, be sure to sit up front near the stage and introduce yourself when the time is appropriate. This is the absolute best way you will ever have to form a permanent relationship. Once you do build that relationship, be sure to wait just a bit until you feel comfortable to ask them to will share your content or help you in any other way. Just having this relationship will be enough to help your company out organically.
- Stay Consistent. Keep in touch with them and make sure to keep your quality material coming. You don’t want to stop communicating with an influencer as soon as you have his or her email address and they begin sharing your content. You must continue to contribute to your site, continue to talk with them at future conferences, and also continue to share their material. It’s important that you spend time on your own site, but you have to remember that relationships like these need a lot of nurturing to be successful.
- When does influencer marketing work the absolute best? It’s when you yourself also have some authority. You can’t just jump right into this type of specialized marketing if you yourself don’t have a solid portfolio of content, or at least a pretty good following on social media. Influencers are not going to work with just anyone who just comes along. That’s likely a big reason they’ve established themselves as influencers in the first place. So, the bottom line is, you have to prove yourself first.
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