Influencers are people with a fairly huge followers count and who have a high influence on their followers. These people are active on various channels such as social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) or blogs. What sets them apart from regular people with lots of followers is that they get lots of positive interactions with every post and their voice is amplified naturally by their followers.
Want to approach influencers and get your message through them to as many people as you can? You need an effective influencer marketing strategy. Here’s how:
1. Define your goals:
First things first, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve by reaching out to influencers. Is it more page views, followers, subscribers, sales, or even more links to up your SEO in the long run.
Depending on your goals, you need to assign your budget, the amount of time you’re going to spend on your campaign, whether it should be done in-house or be outsourced, what tools you need to use, etc.
You should also have a good understanding of your audience as well. What channels are they most active on? What are the most common behaviors they show on these channels? How do your competitors approach them and how do they respond to their strategies?
Needless to say, you should reach out to the right influencers on the right channels. Define your goals and the KPI’s you should follow, make a list of the people you need to reach out to based on your goals and KPI’s and prepare the right content to propose to them.
2. Identify the right influencers:
Having defined your goals and KPI’s for influencer marketing, you need to find the right influencers in your niche. There are various influencer marketing tools out there that would easily identify the influencers.
Take a look at the kind of content they produce and the kind of response they get from people. Find out whether the people that have the most interactions with these influencers are the right people for your business.
A crucial step in identifying the right influencers in your niche is familiarizing yourself with the influencers your competitors have relations with. What audience do they have the most interaction with? What content do they produce? What response do these influencers get from people interacting with them?
3. Form a connection:
Jumping right at the influencers and asking them to promote you on their channels is not the brightest idea. What you need to do beforehand is get to know them and form a kind of connection.
To do this, you need to follow them for sometime, get to know the kind of content they produce regularly, what kind of response they get, and what brands are they most affiliated with.
Follow them, respond to their content and be engaged with them. This way you would not only find out whether they’re right fit for you and your goals, you’d also form a connection and increase the chances of being accepted by them.
4. Reach out to them with an offer
This is maybe the most important step for getting a positive response from the influencers. One of the biggest mistakes people make when reaching out to influencers is expecting them to promote them without any good compensation. This is not to say that all influencers are there to receive money in exchange for promoting you. In many niches, financial compensation is not common or at least not considered moral.
What I mean by good compensation is creating a win-win situation for both you and the influencer. For some influencers money is the only compensation you can offer. It really depends on your niche and the channel you’re targeting.
Many influencers are simply looking for the useful content, products, or services to promote and provide value to their followers. These people are mostly compensated when you provide the right tools or curated content for them. They would do anything to please their audience.
The important thing to consider here is that you need to offer something valuable in exchange for the promotion that the influencers would do for you.
5. Continue a meaningful relationship
Being able to form a friendly and meaningful relationship is considered a necessary soft skill. Sadly, many people see influencer marketing as a form of business rather than a meaningful relationship. In this case, they would totally forget about the people they have formed a connection and reached out to after their campaign.
What they’re missing out is the possibility of an ongoing and profitable relationship with influencers. You’d gradually find out more influencers to connect with and form meaningful relationships with for free. And your relationship would turn out into a partnership that would probably last for a life-time.
Unlike what most people think influencer marketing is in fact a form of relationship management. You can’t just expect people who have gradually built up their influence to trust you overnight and promote your product right away. Even if you’re planning a sponsorship, it typically takes time for the influencer to get to know you as a brand and find out whether you’re the right fit. A miscalculation here might cause the influencer to lose their popularity or your time and budget to go to waste. What you need to do instead is follow a 5-step strategy: first you need to define what you need to achieve with influencer marketing (be it more exposure, clicks, downloads, links, etc.). Then you need to find out the right people with the right content and right audience. After identifying the right influencer, you need to form a connection with them and build trust over time. You could definitely turn a one-time campaign into a good friendship and reap the benefits for good.