You know them, you read about them, – you will find many on the pulse of hot industry trends – THE INFLUENCER. They possess power to affect purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with the AUDIENCE. Brands love them because they can create trends and encourage followers to buy products they promote.
There are many types of social media influencers that have the eyes and ears of the target audience you are searching for. These individuals are not merely marketing tools, but social relationship assets that brands can collaborate with to achieve marketing objectives.
Influencers also flock with their own following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of the niche.
Although influencers can be sorted into categories mega, macro and micro, the latest specie to gain recognition is the nano-influencer. These creatures have a small number of followers, but tend to be experts in an obscure or highly specialized field.
Other evolving influencers are micro-influencers who are in reality becoming more and more famous. Some have risen from virtual obscurity of the unknown to being nearly as well known as traditional celebrities.
Overall, the most powerful influencers are building reputations online for being expert in a particular niche. They are similar to key opinion leaders, but usually have gained reputation more informally through their online activity. They have created reputation through quality of the social posts they make, the blog posts they write, the podcasts they distribute and the videos they post on YouTube channels.
Now that we have identified this genus, your goal is now find one and extend an offer of partnership so they will publish and share content about your brand to their followers. Keep in mind, you do not have to start with big name celebrities who have millions of followers!
Choose an influencer that is already engaging a target audience and whose content matches your brand image. Work with influencers who elevate your brand and carries the same vision as you!
When choosing an influencer to represent your brand, read influencers’ interaction with their audience, like in forums and video comments for example – what do their followers say? What do they share? Keep in mind it is not unusual for influencers to have a fake followers and comments on their posts, so look at the quality of their followers and engagement over time! Make sure your online influencer is authentic.
A good place to start looking for an influencer is to search Instagram and Twitter hashtags. Look for posts related to your brand, products and services and once you find hashtags that your audience is interested in, search through the people who use those hashtags and look for people who have sizeable followings with engaged audiences. These are the influencers you want to target. Look for people who publish content that matches your brand to followers who match your target audience.
Now that you have the influencers you want to start with, follow them on social media and engage them by authentically liking, commenting and sharing their content. It is important to get on their radar screen before you send a pitch. You will gather instinct about this person and the following. Make them want to tell their devoted followers about the amazing new business they found (yours) and if you can give their audience something special, like a discount or co-promoting them on your website, then your chances of getting a positive response from influencers will go up significantly.
Work with influencers who understand the regulations relating to publishing content for businesses and disclosing material connections. Per the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations – although there is much one can do, there are some obvious pitfalls to stay out of.
You can read the relevant code here.
Answering the following questions will help you find the right collaborator for your business:
Who is your target audience? Try to envision who your audience would be influenced by. In order to determine your social media influencers, you first need to ensure that your influencer is targeting the same audience as you. Can your audience relate to him/her? Just because they are expert in the field does not mean your audience knows or identifies with them!
Do you want to work with multiple smaller-scale influencers or go with one stronger influencer or a traditional celebrity? If you have multiple audiences, you might need multiple collaborators for these varying demographics – focus on your top selling audience first, and go from there.
Does the influencer’s audience demographic align with your target audience?
Has the influencer worked with any competing brands?
What is the influencer’s previous experience creating and executing your type branded content?
Does the influencer display a particular affinity for your brand (which would enhance the authenticity of the campaign)?
Just remember, working with influencers is an everyday experience! Overall, the best strategy to make meeting influencers an everyday affair! As one industry leader Dennis Shiao, DNN SOFTWARE quotes:
“Make it an everyday habit to build authentic and meaningful relationships with influencers. Because I love to meet people, I engage in this sort of activity all the time. When I do, I’m not thinking about the benefits or results. I’m not thinking about “influencer outreach,” I’m thinking instead about meeting people. My motivation is to get to know someone new, someone I may learn from. “
This keeps your motivation genuine. Happy Hunting!