4 Smart Tips for Working with Online Influencers

Influencer marking is the hottest marketing trend in 2015. According to a recent study by the Journal of Consumer Research, modern consumers often form opinions or make positive judgments about products and services based on the opinions of those they follow on social media. Considering that referrals are found online 81 percent of the time, working with online influencers (bloggers, vloggers, instagrammers and the likes) is one of the most powerful marketing strategies a business of any size should leverage today. If you haven’t yet joined the influencer marketing bandwagon, here are 4 tips to get started.

1. Research the right match

The fastest way to put off a potential influencer is to reach out with the wrong proposal. Assuming a budget travel blogger would be the right person to promote your luxury suitcase line or that all female bloggers are potential ambassadors for your mommy targeted product is rather obscure and highly ineffective, yet a surprisingly common case.

Refine your email list, take your time and go through the content an influencer posts. A food blogger may not be the best match for your organic products if they never talk of healthy dieting or share organic recipes. “Do not go for the numbers; go for higher relevance. Say, if you are choosing between a general food blogger with a massive social following and another one with a smaller following and lower visitor numbers, but he regularly posts healthy recipes and stands for organic – the later one would be a better choice for your brand,” – recommends David Nazaryan, CEO of Digital Media Group. “Smaller, niche-specific blogs typically have higher-user engagement rates – shares, replies, comments, meaning you have access to a smaller, but more active market of potential consumers who are loyal to your influencer and trust their recommendations,” he adds.

2. Clearly define your goals

Before kicking off your campaign clearly outline what results you are planning to achieve – increased brand awareness; larger social following, creating a trending business hashtag etc. Make sure both of you are on the same page and your KPIs align with your influencers KPIs.

Also, understand the ROI correct – the costs of your influencers campaign may not return immediately. Don’t forget it’s a long run and a single post can generate you sales over a year time. Apply a two-stage analysis to the potential campaign – immediate ROI that could be measured by the amount of traffic/sales/followers gained within a week after the start. And postponed ROI you’ll start to receive after the first wave of social buzz is down, yet the post is indexed by Google and starts ranking for certain keywords.

3.  Let them tell authentic stories

Long gone the days when plain reviews did all the selling. Surely, they are still nice for your business, but by spicing them up with a few creative twists and turning them into a real story, you get onto a whole new level of reach. Let your influencer be creative: ask for their suggestions, work out an angle that would captivate the audience. Hard-selling and imposed, ad-styled sponsored stories typically put off the readers who feel imposed. “A natural post not only connects the brand with the viewers better, but also helps the influencer connect better with their fans,” according to Romeo Lacoste, Major Web Influencer.

Let them speak in their own voice and tell a personal story about your brand – share the raw, authentic experience, conveyed into a captivating story and subtly encourage their fans to love your business as much as the influencer does. The power of storytelling is irresistible and can continue to drive you sales for months after the campaign was done.

4. Treat them as partners

The influencer is as much as an entrepreneur as you are and runs a business of their own. Blogging is hard work, as is growing a dedicated following. Treat them as equal, provide them with necessary resources to execute your campaign in the best way possible and find ways to empower them. Be timely with your replies, provide enough materials and information about your brand. Chances are in just month they will be able to generate even more creative ideas and new angles to present your brand then your in-house marketing team spilled out in the past year.

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Written by:
Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien
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