Influencers are generally individuals who have a strong personal brand, a loyal following, and who are seen as a trusted resource by their community. Influencers can be found across industries, and come in many shapes and sizes. A Hollywood celebrity and a mommy blogger can both wield influence over their community. Finding and engaging key influencers can drive huge visibility and results for a brand.
We connect your brand with the key influencers in the space. For B2C companies, this may mean getting celebrities to like and share your products. For B2B companies, it may mean engaging with the right analyst or blogger.
How Does Influencer Marketing Work?
Word of mouth marketing has always been important – friends naturally value the advice of friends when it comes to purchasing products or services – but in today’s digital marketing landscape, it’s evolved into what’s now called influencer marketing. This new approach involves developing a relationship with popular online influencers in your industry, in the hopes that they will eventually partner with you to promote your business, whether by featuring you in a blog post, allowing you to guest blog on their site, or even just tweeting something about your company to their audience.
The key to influencer marketing success?
Most businesses trying influencer marketing for the first time make the mistake of sending an influencer an email out of the blue, without any kind of prior relationship, asking whether they might want to collaborate on a blog post or product review. If they frame their request well, an email exchange might ensue, but unless it happens to be an extraordinarily good match, it’s not likely to go anywhere.
Smart marketers understand that they need to create a real relationship with an influencer beforehand. But doing so can be tricky. How do you go about developing a natural relationship with someone you’ve strategically targeted to be a partner in promoting your business, without it seeming forced or awkward?
We have 5 secrets we use to create those relationships and keep them thriving well into the future. Here’s how we win influencers over and get them to agree to help market our clients’ businesses.
1. Have real conversations with them.
Just like in real life, the best way to develop a relationship with someone is to talk with them about your common interests. Online, this takes the form of engaging with the content that your chosen influencers have produced. We read their blog posts and leave thoughtful comments. We ask them questions on social media about their latest posts. We might even email them privately to discuss something interesting they wrote, or to ask a more in-depth question. The key is to be authentic, thoughtful, and personable – this is not the time to start talking business.
2. Show them you value their work.
Who doesn’t respond well to a little show of appreciation for what they do? A true sign that you appreciate someone’s content is sharing it with your own network. We share links to your chosen influencers’ latest blog posts on your social media pages, and are sure to tag them so they can see that you’re promoting them. We retweet or favorite their tweets, and share their Facebook updates as well, to show them we find their content valuable.
3. Understand their needs.
When it comes time to pitch the idea for working together, we want to make sure that it fits the influencer’s blog’s theme and audience. We do our research and find out what topics appeal to your influencer and their audience before we approach them.
4. Make sure to offer them something worth their time.
Now we’ve laid the groundwork to be able to finally send that email asking the influencer to work with us to promote your company. But even here, we tread carefully. Our email is all about how we can help them, not the other way around. How will promoting your business provide value to their audience and to them?
5. Keep those lines of communication open.
Once we’ve worked so hard to build that relationship, we don’t waste it by stopping the conversation after just one guest post or review. We keep up with every influencer we’ve worked with, continuing to comment on their blogs and engage with them on social media. That way, we can continue to help each other in small ways, and occasionally partner up again for bigger campaigns. The beauty of developing a relationship like this is that it’s a real relationship – friends helping each other out whenever they can. Approaching it as a sales pitch or business transaction will never be as effective.
Leveraging influencers to drive word-of-mouth is one of the things we do best. Contact us for help creating new influencer partnerships today.