Despite the power and breadth of the internet, people still rely on recommendations from others. Whether it’s online reviews or one of their friends, the opinions of others have a major sway on our decisions. We see this a lot with social proof research, but what if you could get that same level of sway with a single person or a small group of important people?
This is where influencer marketing comes into play. Join us as we look at a step-by-step process for understanding your audience, finding influencers, and bringing them over to your brand for huge results.
How to Build and Execute Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
The first thing we need to understand is that this type of marketing, while reliant on people, requires a strategy and a game plan to succeed. You can’t simply reach out and expect influencers to fall into your brand. Much like building backlinks, it’s all about the human element and providing a win-win scenario.
Careful planning and execution are key here. It should have the same amount of attention as any other type of campaign in your repertoire. Let’s take a look at three steps you can take to get this ball rolling:
Step One: Hone in on Your Target Influencers
Out of the gate, the first thing you should be doing is asking yourself the right questions:
Who am I trying to reach through these influencers?
What products or service am I trying to spread the word about?
What are my (Key Performance Indicators) KPIs?
Answering these question will help you find influencers that are followed by your target audience, and ultimately earn you the high-quality leads you’re seeking. Once you’ve thought about these answers, you need to hone in on your target influencers.
First off, how well do you know your audience? Influencers are a dime-a-dozen, but who follows them is the more important statistic than how many followers they have total. Where does your audience tend to hang out on social media? When you promote content from your blog, which topics tend to resonate most?
Consider also, the influencers that your competitors have worked with. They did the same research as you in the past, so using their knowledge could benefit you as well. Once you’ve gathered all of this information or at least referenced it from your other marketing efforts, you can start to look for ideal influencers.
Tools like LinkedIn, BuzzSumo, and Social Mention are all great options for finding your influencer options. When you’ve found some candidates, start by following them on social, subscribing to their blogs, comment on their posts, and so on.
This way, you can see which influencers are already engaging with your brand, and narrow down your list this way. When you’ve reached this point, you’re ready for step two.
Step Two: Make Contact With Your Influencer
The next step is to make contact with your top influencers. This a delicate step, because most companies will try to come out of the gate with a product pitch. You need to treat this differently than you would a traditional ad or business meaning.
Influencers are customers with power, which is why you need to start with simple and small engagement. Mention their work, share some of their blog posts, and generally get to know them before you talk business.
Over the course of a few weeks, keep in touch with these methods and build up an organic relationship before you send a proposal. Once you’ve established a rapport with them, then it’s time for step three.
Step Three: Send a Proposal
You’ve built up a connection with your influencers, you’ve done your research, and now you’re ready to send them a proposal. Now, most influencers aren’t interested in promoting products or brands for free, so you’ll need to have some kind of incentive in place to get them interested.
Some options include offering a commission for buyers they send your way, free products to promote on their channels, or cross-promotion for them on your website. In some cases, they may want an actual monthly payment from you, but it’s best to start with some of these ideas.
As part of this proposal, you should also make it easy to work with your company. Let them utilize your product, images, and content as they see fit, to integrate it with their brand. As you move forward with your influencers, keep the lines of communication open so they can reach you and vice versa.
Influencer marketing is a great way to recruit people who speak your audience’s language and hold sway over their opinions. Forging great relationships with these people is excellent to get your brand into the new and exciting territory, while also networking with some of the most important people in your niche.
How do you connect with influencers? Let us know in the comments!
Lisa Schwartz is an online marketer who specializes in all types of digital marketing but particularly enjoys engaging with influencers to promote and grow a brand.