Massive social-media following, subject-matter expertise, personality, content authority, publishing power, and thought leadership are the keywords you can associate with the top influencers in your niche.
As a business, you need a working formula for capitalizing on their relevance, resonance, and reach. From identifying and ranking them, to winning their trust, leveraging and tracking their influence, here is a 3-step approach to leveraging influencer marketing as a business.
Before Reaching Out:
Thoroughly understand your target market. Know who are your top influencers: bloggers, thought leaders, top vendors in your markets.
Steps to Reach Out:
#1 Get to know your top influencer
Follow them on social media and blogs, and keep up with what they are saying there. Get a feel of their personality, their values and beliefs. Reaching out to your influencer is simply building a relationship with them.
#2 Leave a Comment / MentionStart a relationship with simple actions – leave a comment on their post or mention a reply on Twitter. Connect with them by adding or following them on social media like Twitter or LinkedIn. Be authentic, and build trust by letting them get to know you too.
The key is consistency – building a relationship takes time. The more frequent you engage your top influencer, the stronger your relationship becomes.
#3 Going FurtherDeepen your relationship with your influencer going beyond the username. If they are experts that host events and seminars, go for them and try to meet them during the event so they can put a face to your name.
Search for mutual friends between you and the influencer that you wish to know – these friends will act as connectors that can introduce you to him/her.
You could also seek their views or opinions on a certain topic, which you can include in your articles. After writing, give them the link to the article to find out what they think about it. This enables conversation, which sustains your relationship.
If you’re expecting an influencer to go out of their way to promote your products, you have to show them how you will provide value to them. Show them how helping you will ultimately benefit them too – resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Offer something special to your influencers. It can be unique campaigns or exclusive deals to keep them interested. Since you know that your influencers already love or are interested in your product or services, give them recognition and deals that are essential to maintain their loyalty. Continue interacting with them and listening to their feedback.
The 3 Rules:
#1 Make an effort to listen
Make a conscientious effort to listen to and understand your influencer’s point of views regarding your brand, both before and during your engagement with them. Don’t forget that they are influencers – they have the power to convince people as a result of the story they tell of your brand, which could be good or bad.
#2 Respect your Influencers
Acknowledge their expertise and influence and show that you value them. Do remember to express your gratitude. Invite and respect the opinions of your influencers, even if you do not always share their sentiments. Be polite at all times and make available these opinions throughout your organization as when appropriate. Do consider giving them some free rein to tweak the messaging – they would know their readership better and this would allow a more successful engagement!
#3 Never falsify any claimsNever ask your influencers to falsify any claims about the product or claim usage without direct experience of using it. Also, never ask him or her to undertake a task on behalf of the organisation if they do not feel comfortable about it, or do not believe in it.
Falsifying claims would be detrimental to the credibility of not only the influencer but also the company, and is therefore highly unwise. Moreover, nothing can be truly kept a secret given today’s social media connectivity – untruths will inevitably be uncovered.
ConclusionIdentifying and building relationships with the right Influencers can extend your brand's reach to a much wider audience and garner more buzz. In the next article, we will cover different measurement metrics that you can include in your social media influencer marketing campaign.
What's your approach to influencer marketing? Tell us about it by commenting below.