Do you want to gain more visibility for your business?
That’s a silly question, of course you want to gain more visibility for your business. Everybody does.
You’ve tried all the typical marketing tips and tricks, and they’re working, but you’re looking for something with a little extra power.
That next “growth hack” that skyrockets your sales.
The typical tactics aren’t driving that much growth, and competition is only getting larger.
Thankfully, that’s where influencer marketing comes in.
You see, influencer marketing will help you get your products and services in front of an untapped audiences that might otherwise never hear about you.
By connecting with influencers in your niche or industry, you get legitimate promotion from trusted tastemakers.
And it’s no secret that positive reviews from a trusted source can drive tons of sales.
Influencer marketing is the method with the most growth when it comes to online customer-acquisition, according to a Tomoson study.
And you’ll be sure to get the oomph you’re looking for by connecting with popular brand influencers.
How does this work?
Let’s dive in learn how to find, connect with, and promote your business through influencer marketing.
Who are influencers?
First off, let’s define “influencers.”
It’s simple, really.
Influencers are people with large online audiences who have the power to sway their followers, fans, subscribers, customers, etc. into learning more about and purchasing a specific product or service.
Or as influencer marketing expert Jason Quey puts it:
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing where you identify key people who have influence over your potential buyers.
Their audience look to these influencers for reviews, tips, and trends.
And guess what? It’s working.
Influencer marketing currently amounts to anywhere between $10-15 million in market value.
So how can you get in on that trend?
The key to a successful influencer marketing campaign is to work with the right influencers.
That means finding the influencers who have a good reputation in your particular niche or industry.
You don’t want to run an influencer marketing campaign for your finance software with an influencer who always promotes beauty products to their audience.
That just wouldn’t make sense. Remember, relevancy is key.
Ideally, you want to work with an influencer who has successfully promoted similar products or services within your niche or industry.
We’ll discuss how to find the right influencers shortly. But first, let’s talk about what influencers can do for your business.
What can you ask influencers to do?
The sky’s the limit when it comes to the role of an influencer in your marketing campaign.
Depending on your goals, they can introduce your products or services to their audiences in a variety of ways.
Common tactics of influencer marketing campaigns often look like one of the following:
- The influencer adds a link to your product, service, or blog post on their website. This could be a text link in a blog post or an image link with a banner in their website’s header, sidebar, or post footer.
- The influencer attends an event where they promote your product or service. Depending on the type of event, the influencer may talk about you during a speaking session, talks to potential customers at your sponsored booth in an exhibit, or wear items of clothing (t-shirt, hat, button, etc.) that has your product or service on it while attending the event.
- The influencer writes a blog post about your product or service. It may be a blog post with a full review of your product or service or a blog post that compares your product or service to similar ones. And, hopefully, your product or service wins.
- The influencer mentions your product or service in a podcast or video that is focused on related content, but not specifically about your product or service.
- The influencer shares a social media post about your product or service. Depending on the social network, this could include text, images, and/or a video talking about why they recommend your product or service or what their experience with it was like. Like this:
- The influencer creates a podcast or video where they recommend your product or service or talks about their experience with your product or service.
- The influencer showcases your product or service in their marketplace, like this:
For example, involving influencers in the creation of your content by contributing a section of a post or a quote is a great way to get started.
This works well because when someone is involved in the creation of something, they’re more likely to tell their audience about it. In most cases you won’t have to ask them to share it at all, just let them know when it’s live and provide some easy ways to share if they’re pressed for time.
You can then get extra mileage out of the content by repurposing it into another format. This can work especially well if you partner with a bigger website to host the repurposed content. I did this with an infographic a few years ago – the infographic alone received 2K shares and 30K+ visits.
There is no shortage of ways for influencers to promote your business with their audience.
It all boils down to your needs and wants in the brand-influencer relationship.
But first you need to build that relationship, so let’s next focus on how to find the right influencers for you and your brand.
How do you find influencers?
No, you’re probably not going to get Kim Kardashian to endorse your blog to her 103 million Instagram followers.
But to be honest, she’s probably not the best influencer for you anyway.
So it’s important to determine what tactics you want to include in your influencer marketing campaign and search for influencers accordingly.
According to Quey, there are five primary influencer types:
- Celebrity Influencers
- Authority Influencers
- PR Influencers
Each of those types of influencers use different platforms to reach their audience, such as at events, on discussion forums, or social media.
And depending on what your goals are, you need to identify influencers that are best suited to reach out to their audiences in those ways.
Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say you want to have influencers write about your product or service on their blog.
The best blogging influencers will typically reach audiences on their own blog or on popular blogs within your niche or industry.
To seek them out, you will want to find the most popular blogs in your niche or industry.
A great way to find the best blogs in your niche or industry, as ranked by Google, is to simply search for blogs in your niche.
You can also search the latest news in Google search to find authoritative blogs in your niche or industry.
Alltop is another good resource that allows you to quickly discover the top blogs on specific topics from A to Z.
As you’re browsing through the blogs, keep an eye out for the authors who are writing the posts. These are the influencers you want.
Specifically, take notice of the regular contributors and the ones that are ranked as Editor’s Picks or Most Popular.
You can also search for popular blog posts based on social shares using BuzzSumo.
These high-ranking authors are going to receive the best influencer reach for you and your brand.
With premium tools like the ones above, you can also search for the most popular blog posts on any given topic, so you’ll be sure to find the top blogs and bloggers in your niche or industry.
And on most blogs, you can scroll down to the end of the post to find out more information about the blogger or click on the blogger’s name to find their author page.
This is a great way to collect their contact information or a link to their main blog (if applicable) and contact them directly. Bookmark these blog posts or author pages for future reference.
You can also discover more popular blogs on specific topics by using the searches mentioned next to find social media influencers.
Social Media Influencers
Interested in getting your product or service in front of a bigger social media audience?
Look to influencers with large followings on the platform that’s right for your brand. Or try to leverage micro-influencers who have a smaller, but more engaged audience.
It’s important to note that influencers don’t necessarily have the same reach across all networks, so keep that in mind as you seek them out.
For example, some Instagram influencers in your niche may not have much of an engaged following on Twitter.
So, if you’re looking to promote your product or service on both Instagram and Twitter, you need to find the top influencers in your niche or industry on each network.
On most social media networks, you can do a search for keywords related to your products or services to find the most popular posts and corresponding influencers.
On Facebook, you can use the search box to find the top public posts about your topic, along with corresponding Facebook pages and profiles that published them.
Since Facebook offers the largest social media audience and a slew of advertising options, it should be the top network to focus on for your campaign.
On Twitter, doing a search for finance would result in the following top tweets and top Twitter users to follow on the topic.
On Instagram, you’ll get suggestions about the top hashtags and users related to the topic you searched.
When you click through to the hashtags, you will find the top posts on that topic, along with the corresponding Instagram user.
LinkedIn publishes a yearly list of the top voices – or influencers – on their social media network for business topics.
Pinterest will allow you to search the top pins, boards, and users on a particular topic.
As you can see, you’ll find different influencers on each social media network.
As you come across individuals that will work for your needs, be sure to bookmark their profiles on respective networks for future reference.
You can find influencers at the top of the media game, like those who create podcasts and video, on their respective platforms.
You can search for popular podcasts on iTunes.
You can also search for podcasts on networks like Stitcher.
As for videos, YouTube is the ultimate resource for discovering influencers. Filter results by top videos or channels (influencers).
As with your social media research, be sure to bookmark the top podcasts, videos, and influencers for future reference.
Speakers, for the most part, are going to be the best influencers you can find for events like conferences, conventions, seminars, and similar.
You can usually find the best speakers in your niche or industry by searching for events and looking at their speakers list.
A quick look on the Economist website, for instance, returns quite a few possible influencer candidates.
Most events will have detailed pages for their speakers, which include the speaker’s contact information. Add these to your list of potential influencers.
Based on your niche or industry, you might find success with influencers who can sway audiences based posts or replies on Q&A networks and forums.
On some sites, like TrustRadius, you can see the top reviewers for specific categories of software.
On Quora, a popular Q&A network, you can find the influencers with the most viewed answers about specific topics.
Some forums will also list their members and let you sort them by number of posts, which is a great way to see who the most active (and potentially influential) members are.
As you find the top influencers on review sites, Q&A networks, and forums in your niche or industry, bookmark their profiles for future reference.
How do you connect with influencers?
Once you have a solid working list of influencers across platforms and mediums, it’s time to connect.
You want them to fall in love with your product or service enough to stand behind it and promote, which means your pitch has to be ready, and convincing.
The goal for your pitch is twofold.
- Your pitch should make your target influencer want to use your product or service and receive a benefit from it.
- Your pitch should make your target influencer so excited about your product or service that they will want to share it with their audience because they believe it will provide a great benefit.
In essence, your influencer pitch should be like a sales pitch, but without expecting a sale.
You want to give your influencer the quickest path to benefiting from your product or service as possible. Do this by:
- Explaining how the influencer will benefit from your product or service
- Giving the influencer the product or service for free
- Helping the influencer use the product or service to get the benefit as simply as possible
- Working with the influencer on a plan to promote the product or service. This includes creating a trackable link for your product or service that they can share and you can measure.
Depending on your product or service, you may not be able to accomplish all four of the above steps in one communication.
It may take a series of emails or touchpoints.
But it will be well worth it if your pitch results in a positive blog review, social media update, podcast, video, or other exposure by your target influencer.
Once your pitch is ready, it’s time to reach out to your target influencers.
Whenever possible, do this via email.
You can also use tools like Hunter.io, which allows you to search for email addresses based on an influencer’s website.
If these approaches don’t work, you can try to connect with them on the social media network they use regularly.
For example, if they are active on Twitter, you can either tweet them @theirusername or send them a direct message.
Or, send them a direct message and tweet them to let you know you did.
Since influencers are influencers for a reason – their popularity – it’s important to keep in mind how many messages they receive each day.
So if you don’t get a response after a few days, follow-up. Or, try to reach out to them through a different channel.
Then sell your pitch, help them get a benefit with your product or service, and work with them to share that experience with a whole new audience!
What do you do after an influencer marketing campaign?
After the influencer has started sharing your product or service with their audience, your priority will be helping them manage the conversation.
Most influencer marketing tactics – blog posts, social media updates, discussions, etc. – will attract comments from the influencer’s audience.
While many comments will be posed to the influencer, there will likely be some that can be best answered by you and your business.
It’s important to follow the influencer’s audience closely so that you can answer those questions in a timely manner.
Not only will it help the influencer’s campaign run smoothly, but it will also show the influencer’s audience what great customer support comes along with your product or service.
…Brands must articulate and implement their customer care and influencer strategies in synthesis and ensure symbiotic benefits across both operations/customer facing strategies/platforms/customer touch points.
In addition to interacting with the influencer’s audience, you should make it a point to measure the success of the influencer marketing campaign.
If you created a trackable link for the influencer to share with their audience, you should be able to monitor activity from the campaign to your product or service using free tools like Google Analytics.
Knowing which influencers, platforms, and tactics drive the most traffic and conversions for your product or service will ensure that your future campaign budgets are spent wisely and profitably.
Putting it all together
Your reach can only go so far, which means that marketing today is a group effort.
Find influencers who can promote your brand to their engaged audiences.
Seek them out on different platforms, from blogs to social media to online forums.
Then, connect with them to pitch your product and build a relationship to enhance your brand.
Stay involved to make sure your potential new audience feels informed and are primed to convert.