Are you practicing influencer marketing? If you’re not, you may be missing out on the huge benefits that word-of-mouth can have for your brand. Influencer marketing targets specific individuals, or groups of individuals, rather than an entire market or market segment. These people are selected for inclusion because of the weight their opinion has in your industry. When they talk, people listen.
Who Makes The Cut?
Well-respected experts in the products or services you sell, bloggers with large followings, industry association leadership, key media figures… these are the kinds of influencers you look to inform, educate, and entice. When they take the time to research and report on your company, their followers know that your offerings are important.
How Do You Do It?
So, how do you catch the eye and ear of these trendsetters? You definitely want to have a strategy to make yourself more visible to them, rather than simply hoping they stumble onto your company by accident. Additionally, when you initiate, you can help direct the relationship positively; don't let your competitors get there first!
- Outline your strategy. Building a list of influencers and blasting them with your message is not a strategy, it’s an activity. And it won’t get you very far. What are you looking to accomplish in courting influencers? More social media followers? Greater buzz around a marketing campaign? More visits to a landing page? Greater attendance at a virtual event? You must have a measurable goal so that you can gauge your success and fine-tune your approach for achieving it.
- Do your homework. Just because a person has a great reputation in your industry doesn’t mean they are a great target. What interests them? What do they speak positively about? What do they speak negatively about? Be sure you understand their perspective on products and services like yours. And be ready to expose your offerings to the intense scrutiny you may receive. The last thing you want is for an influencer to bash your company!
- Work from the bottom up. Every market has its top gurus—the people who can make or break a business with just a waive of their verbal wand. While impressing them can be a real home run, they are not [initially] your best targets. If you have not already made a bit of a name for your company with lower tier influencers, it’s unlikely the top dogs will even see your pitch. Start with experts who have a smaller following but who are more approachable. As you start to get traction with them, you’ll find that a lot of doors begin to open.
- Do individual outreach. If there’s anything about our first outreach to an influencer that identifies it as a “mass mailing” (in any form), they will tune it out. Use a one-off email, phone call, direct message, or even a handwritten letter initially. After you’ve developed a rapport with someone, they’ll be much more likely to be accepting of (and interested in) your regular, bulk communications.
- Practice give-and-take. You may think that there is nothing an influencer would want from you, but in most cases you’d be wrong. There’s almost always something you can offer to them before asking something in return. Industry intel you’ve gathered, connections you’ve made… whatever you have, look to give before you take.
- Be transparent. Influencers get pitched. A lot. They know the game and they know you are hoping to benefit from their positive review. So, don’t try to disguise your pitch as something else. They’ll likely dismiss you immediately. Let them know who you are, who/what you represent, and what you’re hoping to get by reaching out.
- Equip them. Once an influencer has expressed some interest in your company, be sure they have everything they need to fully understand your products and services, and your value proposition. While you don’t want to jam resources down their throat, you do want to provide easy access to any information or content they need.
It takes some time to build a solid relationship with influencers, but once you’ve done it, they can serve as powerful advocates for your brand. And if you’ve done it right, their assistance is FREE.
As a leading Colorado inbound marketing agency, we’ve worked with a wide range of companies in Colorado Springs and around the country. In business for more than 25 years, we understand the influencer landscape and can guide you as you start to explore it.