There are several reasons why you should consider employing influencers as a vital part of your marketing strategy. First of all, most people don’t see influencer marketing as marketing at all and this changes their attitude towards promoted brands and products. People have a naturally developed dislike for conventional advertisements – they are interruptive, obtrusive and irritating.
Getting an influencer to promote your brand is basically a way around this. They have a talent to implement advertising as a natural part of their content that doesn’t stick out or annoy anyone, but instead is just a part of a story that their audience is ready to listen to. This way, you’re not forcing or even calling for anyone to buy a product, but you’re making them remember it and recognize it.
Furthermore, influencers are not only a good way to promote your business in a fashion that doesn’t annoy anyone – sometimes it’s the only way to reach a certain population. In other words, this is the most effective way to bypass ad blockers. People’s natural animosity towards all sorts of ads is obvious from the fact that 47 percent of people belonging to the 18-24 age group use ad blockers, and this number is not going to decrease any time soon.
Influencer marketing is a remarkable way to put your product in front of those people. So, what should you do? Where do you start looking for a proper influencer? How do you pick the right one? How to reach them? What will they want in return? Let’s address those issues one by one.
Pick the right media
Most influencers are present on multiple channels, but usually, there’s only one or two on which they are really dominant. First, you should check which social media are the most appropriate for your promotion, and this will depend on your target audience. As someone who runs a business, you should already know who your customers are in terms of demographics and main interests.
If you’ve already opened your business accounts on social networks, use the analytics that are at your disposal to check the feedback on each one and to get to know the demographic structure of your audience better.
These numbers are usually a reliable starting point when determining the right channel to use. There are a few general rules that can be applied here – for instance, if you’re targeting millennials, you should have in mind that 60 percent of Snapchat users are under the age of 24, so you should look for influencers that are popular on this network. However, only 9 percent of Facebook users are between 18 and 24, so you should think twice before deciding to go for Facebook if you’re looking to reach this age group.
Moreover, if you happen to target women, Pinterest might be the right choice for you since two-thirds of its users are women. In any event, doing a thorough research on who your customers are or who you want your customers to be and picking the right channel should be your first step.
Do you want to grow your business with influencer marketing?
Now that you have determined which network to use, it’s time to decide on the particular influencers you want to reach out to. Obviously, the first criteria that springs to mind is the number of followers a person has on a channel you chose. However, you should check the engagement an influencer generates with the newest posts – it might happen that this person does at the first glance have a big fan base, but that the generated engagement is on the decline.
This is a sign that these influencers are not interesting to their fans anymore and that their peak time is over. Never be deceived by an overall number of likes or followers and make sure to check who’s trending at the certain moment and who’s not.
And it’s not all about numbers. You have to keep in mind that the influencer you choose should be relevant in a field related to your business and that it’s thus possible for them to make you a part of their story. This means you need to fit contextually as an integral part of what they talk about, without awkwardly sticking out.
Moreover, you’ll want this person to be recognized as an expert in your niche and as someone who is an authority on the matter. Their approach and their public image are also important. They should be not just knowledgeable, but also respected, reputable and considered to be a person of integrity.
There are several types of influencers that you can choose, depending on your type of industry and your business goals. For example, if you’re only interested in reaching people on one particular channel, turning to platform-specific influencers might be a good starting point.
If you want to appeal to a wider audience, employing a celebrity is one of the ways to go, but the only way to reach them is with big paychecks. Going for thought leaders or analysts may not result in reaching as many people as when using the power of celebrities, but it builds trust and reputation among your potential customers.
All in all, it’s never easy to find someone who suits your needs all the way. Some social media tools might help you to find the right people by yourself, but having all the mentioned factors in mind, this might take some time. You also have the option of turning to the experts in the field that can provide you with a huge database and help you make the right choice. Hence, it might be reasonable to use some media intelligence software, which can offer customized suggestions of key influencers for your topic or industry.
The most obvious way to reach influencers is sending direct messages via networks they use, or through contacts – usually email – they leave on social media. When approaching them, try not to be too generic and conventional but instead make an attempt to draw their attention with the very content of your message.
Building a good relationship with influencers is vital and you should leave a good first impression. Also, be patient and don’t expect them to respond right away – they probably get tons of messages every day and even scanning through them takes time, let alone answering them.
The next step is to make them interested. The easiest way to do this is to offer them some sort of compensation. However, a credible influencer is probably not going to agree to work with you if your brand has a bad reputation or if your product is flawed, since this can have a bad effect on their image. So, first you will have to convince them your product is good enough, and then presumably offer something in return for their mention or shout-out.
Nevertheless, if you can’t offer a financial compensation, it might get tricky to even get them to respond. In this case, you should turn to less conventional methods of drawing their attention – mentioning them in your posts, offering valuable advice in the comments section of their blogs or posts, or even offering help. If you show that you’re knowledgeable and friendly, and if, in addition, you prove them you have a really cool product they might decide to give you a mention or two without even being asked to do that.
What else can I offer them?
As it was mentioned, some influencers are not going to work with you for free. Apart from money, they can also be interested in your product – so giving it away for free to them and maybe even some of their followers might appeal to them. A membership, a discount, or a VIP status in your stores are also good ideas, as well as inviting them to an exclusive event where they can do a bit of networking and meet some other important people from the same branch.
If your brand is already reputable to a certain extent, or if you already built a solid community on social media, offering mutual mentions can also be a good strategy. In addition, you should have in mind that influencers do have to pay their bills, but at the same time they’re not all about money and incentives, but also about creating more great content for their fans.
So, if you convince them that your brand is really interesting, they will want to present you to their followers just for the sake of providing good content and keeping their blog or channel fresh and inspiring.
It's time to take your business to the next level with influencer marketing!
So, how influencer marketing can help you grow your business?
Influencer marketing can easily be integrated to an inbound marketing strategy to generate leads, reach new audiences and improve your branding. In conclusion, getting an influencer to promote your brand is definitely a great way to help your business grow.
However, you’ll have to be careful when picking the right ones, not just in terms of finding the ones that suit you best audience-wise. You need to make sure that they’re capable and creative enough to implement your promotion as a part of their content in the most interesting and spontaneous way. If you find a person like this, building a long-term relationship is one of the best ways to brand your products and can be very beneficial for both parties.
At Growth Hackers, we help startups, small-to-medium businesses and entrepreneurs grow. We help them gain exposure, generate leads, increase their revenue and more. How? With digital marketing, influencer marketing and growth hacking. If you want to start growing your business fast, get in touch with Growth Hackers and we'll show you how we can help.
I am a marketing specialist - turned blogger, currently writing for Bizzmark Blog Technivorz. I am interested in media and social media, digital marketing and psychology. I love coffee, jazz, dystopian and fantasy movies.