Customers’ opinions have long served as powerful marketing tools, but the implementation of social media platforms has expanded the reach of the customer’s voice. In fact, the success of today’s marketing campaigns often relies on a concept known as influencer marketing. According to Forbes, influencer marketing works toward identifying and targeting persons who hold influence over prospective buyers. When effective, influencers help put the spotlight on a brand.
Spokespeople and celebrities were often tapped in the past for influencer roles, but an important influencer today could just as easily be an everyday consumer. The easiest way to tell influencers apart from other consumers is often the size of their social media following. However, holding marketing influence is not only about having a large following. Influencers also typically have a vast amount of knowledge regarding a specific topic, and, as a result, are often relied upon by other consumers for their credibility and expertise.
Marketing Profs points out that in light of the increasing barrage of marketing messages received today, consumers have become more and more cynical regarding the brands they choose to trust. In order to tap into the power of influencers, you must first learn how to identify them. Marketing Profs further reports that approximately 60 percent of marketers believe that the biggest challenge of influencer marketing is identifying the people who can boost their campaign or brand.
Influencers are often bloggers, consultants, journalists, and influential customers. The ways in which an influencer can assist your marketing efforts vary, ranging from creating blogs or articles specifically about your company or products to allowing you to submit content on their website. Influencers may also offers to share information about your company or products on their favored social network.
More than 50 percent of marketers find it difficult to take advantage of influencer marketing because they simply do not know how to gain the attention of influencers. As influencer marketing has become more widely utilized, this is a problem that continues to grow. The key to making influencer marketing work for your company is taking the time to form relationships with relevant influencers.
It’s All About The Relationship
Among the most common mistakes many entrepreneurs make when trying to gain the attention of influencers is to simply bombard them with emails. Due to their position as leaders, influencers typically receive massive amounts of email. This alone can make it difficult to catch their attention. In order to stand out from the crowd, it is important to take the time to read what influencers write. The content they create can provide you with valuable insights into what they care about and how to reach their followers.
Rather than simply blasting them with email, work on developing a relationship first by interacting with them. Start by leaving comments on their relevant blog posts, replying on Twitter, liking status updates on Facebook, etc. Once you have taken the time to actually get to know them, when you do approach an influencer about covering your product or service, it will not seem like a cold-call pitch.
In marketing, it is a given that you need to tell customers what you want from them. Calls to action are vital to succeed in marketing. The same is true for working with influencers. You must tell them what it is that you want. Do not try to be coy. Influencers are well aware of their position and impact. It is always best to be honest from the beginning.
Keep in mind that ultimately the relationship you develop with an influencer should be mutually beneficial. Take a step back from thinking what they can do for you and ask what you can do for them. One of the best ways to do this is by looking for opportunities you can provide to improve your targeted influencer’s work. Most influencers are continually looking for unique experiences they can share with their audiences. Think about what you can offer an influencer that your competition cannot.
Finally, remember to maintain the relationship even after you receive the coverage you want from the influencer. Not only is it the appropriate thing to do, but a relationship with a true influencer can provide multiple benefits for a long time to come.
This post is adapted from Brett Relander’s original post The Secret Sauce of Influencer Marketing.
About the Author: Brett Relander is a thought leader, influencer, and growth hacker in the social media, mobile, and digital marketing strategy space. He is the Founder of Launch & Hustle, a valued digital marketing consultant & speaker, the author of Imperative – How Any Business Can Quickly And Easily Leverage Mobile Marketing For Radical Success, and a regular contributor on HuffingtonPost.com, Entrepreneur.com, and SocialMediaToday.com.