You've probably heard the term influencer before at this point. Marketers everywhere are talking about it. Brands what to use influencers, people want to become influencers. But what does it all really mean?
Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship.
Back in the ol' days where we got our news and advertisements from more traditional media sources only - television, movies, commercials, magazines - brands often set up celebrity endorsements. AKA get someone famous who people want to be like and for know, trust and have a relationship with (or perceive they do, anyway!) to wear, talk about and love your product or service. And then, voila! Monkey see, monkey do! If Tiger Woods thinks it's cool, it's cool. If Michael Jordan wears those shoes, those shoes are the bomb and I need some too. Get it?
This still happens in our world today, but with the dawn of social media, the game has changed slightly. Not only are we looking to the oh so cool celebrities for tips and tricks on what to wear, what to buy and what to love, we are also listening to each other! Because we are all endlessly talking about all the details of our own lives everyday on social media. And some of us have a lot of people paying attention (hundreds of thousands of followers that pay attention to our every post)! These people are what we call influencers.
Influencer marketing is a really new method of marketing and is growing in popularity. It’s accessible. It’s cheap. And it’s effective. Traditionally, public relations firms would be hired to handle media coverage and endorsements, but today the job of getting someone trusted, cool and important to talk about your product or service and hopefully say awesome things about it, is fairly straightforward. Meaning, you can probably do this yourself - in house!
Here is your step by step guide to getting in on this influencer marketing business, to see if it can work magic on your brand.
1. Identify the right influencers.
Think about what you have to offer and what types of influencers your target market might pay attention to. From there, start your research. Use Google or specific social networks to input keywords or hashtags. Review posts for quality as well as high engagement (this is what you’re looking for in a high value influencer!).
2. Log influencers in a spreadsheet.
Include their profiles, followers, average engagement, categories, locations, contact information (this can be harder to find, but try!) and any other information that could be relevant. Sort your list by potential reach (followers or average engagement usually works best) and break out by various categories.
3. Develop an offer for your influencers.
What are you going to give them to get them to get them to write/post about you? A free night or two in the hotel? A free meal? A free product sample? Consider things that are low cost to your business but high value to these influencers.
4. Develop an “ask” of your influencers.
What do you expect from them? Is there a word count or a # of posts you require? Having this in writing keeps expectations very clear for both of you.
5. Start engaging with these influencers.
Add them to a list on Twitter so it’s easy to find their posts. Like, comment and share if relevant, so they start to notice your brand. They are more likely to show you love if you show them some back.
6. Reach out to influencers.
You can do this either via email, if you have it, or through their biggest social network (only contact them through one, maybe two, so they don’t feel spammed and you don’t look desperate). You can do this via a direct message or even a comment. (Sometimes DMs are considered spam and go unread.) Present the offer and then discuss the ask and if they are interested and agree, set a timeframe that works for both of you.
7. Ensure their experience is as fantastic as possible!
Remember, they are not required to post positively about your brand, so do what you can to make their experience exceptional.
8. Amplify their message.
Once they share via a tweet, post or blog, be sure to share their post on all of your social networks and tag them to give them credit.
Now you're ready to get started! Dedicate some time either weekly or monthly (block it in your calendar) to do outreach. Then manage the responses as they come. And don't forget to log all the press they do post about you for future use, so don’t forget about that when you’re building your content calendar. These fantastic reviews can be re-purposed and will speak volumes about your brand!
Have any other great influencer marketing tips you can add? We'd love to hear!