Today, consumers rely very heavily on the experiences and opinions of others when it comes to making purchasing decisions. They read online reviews, ask friends and family members for about their experiences with certain brands, and most importantly, they seek out the opinion and advice of influencers. An influencer is a person, who has built a reputation as being a source of knowledge and influence in a particular area.
Influencer marketing is the process of getting the attention, approval, and eventual endorsement of an influencer in your space. For example, if you own a business that creates educational toys for children, getting the support of a well-known child development expert would be a real coup. In the same vein, a company that makes and sells gourmet food items would benefit from getting a plug from a celebrity chef.
Of course, you don’t need to be a huge brand or have access to a famous person to use influencer marketing to your benefit. Almost every company can create a successful influencer marketing campaign. Here are a few tips for making that happen.
1. Identify Potential Influencers
The first thing that you will want to do is to identify people who might have influence over your audience. This isn’t an exact science, but there are a few steps you can take to help you determine who has the ear of your potential audience members:
- Use BuzzSumo to find individuals and brands that are trending on keywords related to your industry.
- Take a closer look at the social media accounts of your most active followers. Who are they following?
- Take an even closer look at those active followers. Do they have more influence than you once realized?
- Read trade publications and take note of who is being published.
- Seek out your competitors on Amazon, Yelp, and other sites. Which reviewers are most influential.
2. Know How Deep a Person’s Influence Runs
Not everybody who appears to be an influencer is actually an influencer. There are many pretenders to the throne. Some people buy followers. Others may be very passionate and prolific, but they don’t necessarily change or influence purchasing decisions. These folks might be better referred to as advocates or even dedicated fans.
Ultimately, you have to get people out. For example, it’s great that somebody posts content that gets lots of likes and attaboy/girl comments. That doesn’t make them an influencer. How many shares and retweets are they getting? How many active followers do they have? Are they getting new followers every week? If someone has managed to get a large number of followers in a short period of time, but isn’t gaining new followers, that is a cause for concern. It could mean that they have either lost their ability to influence, or they made an effort to purchase a social media following. Remember that organic engagement and social media growth is most important.
3. Find an Influencer Who Has Mastered Creation Promotion And Distribution
People who create great content are often geniuses. Unfortunately, if they haven’t gotten a handle on promoting that content and secured distribution channels, they probably are not very influential.
Look for an influencer who has mastered the technique of promoting and distributing their content. If an influencer can successfully promote and distribute over a variety of channels, and find a way to make their voice resonate on each platform, you have probably found the ideal person to influence your audience. According to Lebron Meng, SEO manager at StyleWe, “We see so many people in the fashion industry who create great content and have great passion, that we think they could become influencers. Unfortunately, they just don’t understand how to get that content out there.”
4. Start by Developing a Relationship With The Influencer
There are a few influencers that you can contact with a direct request for help with a marketing campaign. Unfortunately, these are often media types or other big wigs who charge for their services rather than promoting products and services that they believe in. They tend to have general influence more than they have influence in a particular niche.
Instead of going that route, you're better off simply building a social media relationship with person. Follow them on social media. Engage them in conversations on Twitter. Share their content and link that content in your post. Comment on their posts. Offer to write a guest blog. Let them know who you are, and make them see you as an ally. They will be much more open to giving your product or service a boost in some way.
5. Listen to Customer Reactions
Picture this. You’ve just struck a deal with an amazing influencer. They have agreed to mention you in positive terms in their own content, to provide a quote that you can use in your marketing efforts, and even to release a series of tweets promoting your brand.
Now imagine that within hours of going public with your business relationship with this influence, your social media feeds start to blow up. You’ve really done it this time. Your audience is having an extremely negative reaction to your chosen influencer. Could anything be worse?
Yes it could be worse. You could be so enamored and invested in your influencer marketing campaign that you turn a blind eye to this response. You could fail to listen to your followers and continue pursuing a bad idea.
There’s no doubt that influencer marketing works. After all, there’s a reason why big brands rely heavily on celebrity pitches. Use the 5 tips above and you will be able to find and use an influencer that truly works for your brand.
Freelance writer and digital marketing buff. Five years in online marketing. One year as a World Teach Volunteer. I love testing custom acquisition growth hacks and always on the look out for new startups.