Influencer marketing is a red hot premise with a heck of a lot of confusion. Influencer marketing campaigns are one of the single most effective avenues a brand can utilize to expand reach, cement credibility, and become an established thought leader within any given niche. But it’s hardly a one-size-fits-all execution and the devil, as always, is in those ever present details.
The core idea behind any influencer marketing strategy is to identify, engage, and recruit individuals within a market that hold influence over potential buyers. Seems relatively simple, right? The idea is, but execution of such a strategy can be a bit difficult at best. In fact, Marketing Profs recently pointed out that 61% of marketers feel that their biggest challenge in influencer marketing is identifying the correct people who are capable of advancing brand awareness and campaign goals. Another 56% percent of marketers find that getting the attention of these folks is equally as difficult. So what are the keys to breaking down those barriers and building a successful influencer marketing campaign?
To help you better understand the process of identifying and acquiring high-level influencers, Evolve! has assembled the following 3 tips to get you well on your way to running a deliciously fruitful campaign.
#1 Find the Right People
The single most important factor to your influencer campaign lies in the people you choose to partner with. To run a successful campaign you will need to identify, find, and follow the movers and shakers in your particular niche. Social media is the obvious place to find these folks, but don’t judge a book by their follower numbers. These are often inflated with false followers, and will not correctly mirror actual influence.
To determine their power of engagement, follow the folks that catch your eye. Watch what they post, how often they post, and most importantly, how their followers react. Do people repost, comment, share, and otherwise interact with their content? Or is it much ado about nothing?
Another way to determine the rock stars in your space are tools like Topsy, Little Bird and Buzzsumo. These tools will let you know who is sharing relevant content and just how influential they are. Some, like Little Bird, will even help you identify the folks talking about your key words and categories. Then it’s up to you to start studying their overall reach and engagement. But take your time with this process; it’s the make or break part of your campaign.
#2 Make Friends with Your Influencers
This is easier said than done, and can be outright challenging, depending on your industry and the level of notoriety your selected influencers have. Due to their status as an influencer, their inboxes are likely already inundated and your emails and contact requests will simply be lost in the mix. Since email has a slim chance of working in your favor, attempting to connect with these folks through social media and their websites is a wiser move. Leave comments on current blogs, like posts on Facebook, engage in Twitter conversations. The goal here is to make yourself heard and stand out from the crowd. But in order to stand out, you must not only contribute to the conversation, you must elevate it. Get their attention by speaking their language.
Once you have taken the time to get to know an influencer and engage with them and their audience, approaching them about your campaign will feel much less like cold call pitch and you stand a better chance at receiving a positive response.
It is also extremely important to keep in mind that your relationship with this influencer should be mutually beneficial. Think about what value you can provide to this person instead of solely considering what the influencer can do for your campaign. Can you get them published in a tier one media outlet? Can you help them expand their reach through your own audience? Think about what you can do for them before you make any attempt to request assistance. And yes, with some influencers, money is the only thing that talks. Be clear on what you’re willing to do to get their attention.
#3 Give Them Something to Talk About
Once a rapport has been established and you are ready to pitch your campaign, present them with more than basic product information. Try to provide tools that will improve their lives and careers such as samples of your product for review, quality content that they can use and will compound, and / or campaign ideas that are mutually beneficial. And while you aren’t trying to write a blog for them, you surely can make things a bit easier. Present them with infographics, visually appealing images, exclusive research, and anything else you think could be of service. Chances are, quality content is always welcome for their audience, as long as it’s on topic. Get innovative with your ideas. All of this comes back to building a great relationship that will go a long way for all parties involved.
As a final piece of advice, remember to maintain the relationship with the influencer even after the campaign has ended. By building a true relationship with these folks, both sides can receive a bounty of benefits for a long time to come.
Still need help finding the right people with the kind of influence you need? Drop us a line and we’re happy to lend our expertise.