Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term “influencer” thrown around on social media. As the name suggests, influencers, for one reason or another, possess the ability to affect the decisions made by those who follow them. Finding and connecting with influencers can be an impactful part of your marketing, if you go about it the right way! We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process with minimal effort!
The Purpose of Connecting with Influencers
Given their ability to reach a broad audience of people in a short amount of time, it is relatively obvious why connecting with influencers could be beneficial to you and your brand. What may not be so obvious is that you are also gaining the ability to access their follower’s networks! The more people who are talking positively about your brand, the quicker it will build credibility. Each time that your brand has exposure, your chances of driving new traffic to your website, social media platforms and/or physical locations increases.
Another great reason to connect with influencers is that consumers are far more likely to put their trust and faith into a brand that has been recommended to them by a reliable third party than they are with a company who talks itself up. Think of it from the perspective of hiring a prospective employee for your company. An applicant who comes in with a glowing resume is great, but another applicant who comes in with a glowing resume and the recommendation of an already established and trusted employee is far more likely to land the job.
How to Recognize an Influencer
Influencers are not a one size fits all deal. When you think of an influencer, you probably associate them with a large number of followers. While it’s true that most influencers will have larger followings, that number means nothing unless they have the ability to sway those followers in their decision-making processes.
In many cases, influencers will also have a deep, working knowledge of their field. They will understand how to lay that knowledge out in a way that creates compelling posts that don’t come across as overly salesy. There are six main types of influencers for you to consider connecting with:
The mega influencer may not have the in-depth knowledge we just spoke about, but they certainly pack a punch. These are typically famous people who have extremely large followings, but do not necessarily have the bandwidth to convert a large percentage of them into brand loyal followers for your business.
Similar to mega influencers, these are typically famous individuals, however, this group has risen to fame through the internet (via podcasts, social media stars, bloggers, vloggers, etc.). The benefit of using a macro over a mega influencer is that they typically have a more defined niche.
With audiences ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000, micro-influencers have a very clearly defined niche and are generally considered experts in their fields. They do have a smaller following, but they can still generate sales for businesses.
An advocate influencer will do what it takes to speak highly about your product or service and will not shy away from jumping into conversations surrounding it. They will often use concrete data and/or their own very personal experiences with your brand to draw awareness.
Lastly, the referrer influencer will work on a more personal level to drive business to your website, business or social media platforms by offering a reliable recommendation and choosing your product/service above any of its competitors.
Each of these different types of influencers will benefit your business in different ways and at different points in its growth. So, don’t write any off. You may be able to connect with them later.
Making Sure They are the Right Fit
The first step in identifying the right type of influencer for your brand is to clearly define your target market. How old are the people who are most likely to use your product or service? What are their interests and behaviors? What other brands are they likely to use or follow? Identifying these characteristics of your target market will help you to look for influencers who may attract the same demographic.
You will also want to get clear on what stage of your marketing plan you are in. As previously mentioned, different types of influencers will be beneficial at different points in your marketing. Mega and macro-influencers are great for getting your brand name out there and reaching a wide array of people in a short amount of time. Micro-influencers will help you get the attention of a more developed niche who is more likely to purchase your product or service. Advocates and referrers are great influencers to connect with when you are in the phase of actively growing an already established brand.
Tools like Buzz Sumo, Upfluence, and Traackr are great for auditing influencers to see if they will be a good fit for your brand. So, when connecting with influencers, be sure to utilize one of these tools.
Connecting with Influencers
Effectively creating a relationship with an influencer is much more than just sending out a quick note to see if they want to promote your brand. Creating a partnership that will last is a process that will take some time and effort. Once you’ve identified an influencer you would like to work with, the first step is to get to know them better than they know themselves. The more you understand what makes your influencer tick, the more successful you will be moving forward with them. You will do this by closely following their social media accounts, blog posts, and any articles they write or programs they create.
Next, it’s time to make yourself present. Link back to their articles or blogs, comment or ask questions on their social media posts and share any of their content that feels relevant to your brand or your brand message. The more that you “show up” on their sites, the more likely they are to notice you, making the next steps exponentially easier.
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Building the Relationship
At some point, the obvious next step will be to reach out to your influencer and see if they are interested in furthering your relationship. This could mean collaborating on a project, cross-promoting or offering for them to try your product or service in exchange for access to their audience.
Shape Your Offer
Before you reach out, make sure you are very clear on what it is you’re seeking from them. Additionally, include what you plan on offering them in return. Chances are that your influencer has a lot of people reaching out to them. So, make sure your offer stands out and offers a very clear benefit to them.
Choose the Right Influencer
Make sure your offer is also relevant to the context of what your influencer does. You wouldn’t, for example, reach out to a well-known physical trainer to promote the release of your new candy bar. The chances of them or their audience being interested in your product are slim to none. Reaching out to a well-known blogger who frequently writes about indulgent treats might, however, be the perfect choice.
Post Great Content
Lastly, understand that, once you’ve reached out, your influencer is very likely to go check you out. This will likely be in the same way you’ve been checking them out. They want to see you are credible and educated and that your values are aligned with theirs. This is why it’s important to make sure the content you are putting up on your websites, social media accounts and other places affiliated with your brand is a clear, honest and professional representation of what you’re all about!
Reach Out to Influencers!
When you’ve completed all of the above steps, connect with influencers via email or social media messenger. Write a short, concise greeting that clearly expresses who you are. Also, include why you’re interested in working with them, what they can expect in return and your contact information.
Even as your relationship with an influencer develops, be sure to keep things professional. Avoid harassing them with multiple emails, calls, texts or messages. Keep your interactions short and to the point. Then, follow through on your end with any promises or deadlines you have agreed upon. Be sure to consistently compensate your influencers based on their continued devotion to your brand. This can be through shout-outs, sharing their content, continued product or service discounts and giveaways, commissions, and more.
Get Ready for Change
New influencers are constantly popping up in every industry. This makes it important for you to keep up with what’s happening in your niche! That doesn’t mean ditching the ones who have helped your business grow. But, don’t rely so heavily on them that you forget to build new relationships along the way.
Also, commit to always being on the lookout for new trends to find the right influencers for your brand. New tools emerge every day to make the job of meeting and maintaining great relationships with influencers easier and more sustainable. This type of marketing can bring your business to a whole new level.
Now that you know how to go about connecting with influencers to benefit you both, the rest is up to you! Good luck! And, if you need any assistance with your digital marketing, let us know! You can connect with us via the contact form below.