Over the last few years we’ve seen the rise and rise of influencers across social media. The reach some of these individuals can command is incredible. In this post we’re going to cover exactly what an influencer is, what influencer marketing entails and how it can be leveraged to help your business to connect with new audiences and potential customers.
So, what is an influencer?
An influencer is a person who has a following of people across social media, their blog and other online media. This person is “in-the-know” and people look to them for advice, knowledge and opinions. Typically these people are YouTube famous, bloggers, have large followings on Instagram or other social media platforms.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is where the focus is placed on connecting with specific individuals who have a following of people you’re trying to connect to. These people can help you spread your message or raise awareness of your brand. Think of influencer marketing as wanting to reach out to a particular person who will help you drive your business rather than reaching your customer direct from your brand.
Why should I use influencer marketing for my business?
It’s a great way to help get the word out about your business in an authentic way. These influencers have a following of trusted followers who will be much more likely to carry a message or purchase a product they have been recommended. If a brand tried to recommend their product, and then a friend recommended another product, who are you going to go with? People are more likely to trust people.
These people have the authority and credibility with their audiences that makes this branch of marketing very powerful and one of the hottest trends right now.
How do I find influencers?
An effective way to find influencers is through tools like followerwonk and Buzzsumo. Followerwonk focuses primarily on Twitter research and analytics. Created from the people at Moz, it lets you search for influencers, see competitive comparisons, and track influencers. It also lets you save the reports for future reference. Buzzsumo will let you measure the influencer’s popularity and will find the influencer’s most shared content as well as data results of the different platforms they are on. Of course you could do your own research as well through blogs, the news, social networks and groups to find influencers.
The rise of micro-influencers
Rather than competing with big businesses over famous influencers, try targeting small influencers. Big businesses have an advantage over small businesses because they are able to offer greater incentives and budgets to lure these superstars.
However, by focussing on the long tail of smaller influencers you can start to make up the numbers by working with a network of them.
These small influencers are just starting up but the more of them there are, then the more variety of people you are attracting. Building a long lasting relationship with the small influencer will be able to show you how far both of you have come. With luck, the increase of their followers will also be the increase of success for your business.
You can see in this picture here a small influencer promoting business for the UK Business Network (@ImUKBiz). This chef, Alan Coxon has 9,603 followers on Twitter. BBC world viewers ranked Coxon as one of the Top 10 TV chefs of the world. Just because he isn’t as famous as Gordon Ramsey, doesn’t mean that his influence can’t be leveraged to help get a message out. His viewers are clearly loyal and engaging in order to vote for him.
Another smaller influencer, Pundarik Ranchhod, helps promote business for the British Business Bank (@BritishBBank). Ranchhod is the co-founder of Arqino Digital, a company who “specializes in creating and managing digital products”. While Arquino and Ranchhod have a combined number of 594, he is still being tapped up as an influencer because he has his own business. This would be an instance where both the influencer and the other party would grow in followers.
How do you build a relationship with an influencer?
In order to build a solid relationship with an influencer, there has to be good communication. You have to be personal and real; don’t forget relationships aren’t built immediately so you should think of this type of relationship has one you would have with friends or a significant other. If they are going to help you out, you have to pay attention to what they do as well. This means commenting and sharing their posts or updates. Being genuine will assure the influencer that is a two-way relationship and both parties are benefiting from the deal. Some key points to remember when interacting with influencers:
- Say Thank You: Everyone wants to be thanked for his or her good deeds. Especially the ones you are paying. Writing them a quick email, letter, text or however you can get in contact with the influencer will make them feel appreciated.
- Focus on the future: You want to keep this new relationship for a long time, don’t act like the influencer is a fair weather friend. Listen to your influencer and try to see situations from their point of view. It is important to not call upon them when you only need something. Again, check on them as if they were your friend or partner.
- What you can bring to the table: Can you give them network connections? Or can you recommend them for a different project? Find out what it is that you have to offer and let your influencer know that you’re a good investment.
How do I reach out to influencers?
It may be old school but using email can be an effective way to reach out to your influencers. Make sure your email shows you know who they are and what they actually do. Give them “the pitch”, what you want from them, and ask them what their own opinion is on the topic. Make sure by the end of the email that you show the influencers there is something that will benefit them and there is value to the relationship you’re proposing.
Sometimes people won’t answer your beautifully scripted emails. This could be because they get so many emails a day that yours was lost in the mass of it all. If you are eager to get a particular influencer you can always follow up with them on social media as well. Make sure to tell them that you emailed them and hopefully they will reply back to you – just make sure not to spam them!
How should I work with an influencer?
When planning on working with an influencer, you should have a guideline of what each of you expect from each other. If you’re going to give an influencer £500 to promote for you and they only tweet or Instagram your business once, then you may be feeling short changed from the relationship.
Be clear in regards to what you’re expecting from the influencer you’re working with. If you need one post a week across 4 weeks then state this is what you’re expecting. You’ll also need to make sure you agree on the creative and copy so that everyone is on the same page. You’ll also want to make sure the posts have variety so the influencer isn’t always posting the same old content to their audience.
You’ll also want to be sure that this deal has actually made you some business. Keeping that in mind, you should be keeping track of all your data for the duration of the campaign. From your end you should be tracking things like:
- Website traffic
- Social media followers across all networks
- Number of brand mentions using a service like mention.com
Another top tip is to agree with the influencer to get data from their posts about your brand. These days you can see how many times a tweet has been seen and how many clicks it’s had. Ensure this data share is part of your agreements before getting things kickstarted. This data and tracking is going to be a key factor to working out the exact ROI of influencer marketing for your business.