The digital age has created a seemingly endless supply of new marketing opportunities. Influencers are increasingly becoming an important part of marketing plans the world over. Not surprisingly, because it has been known to work.
However, it is just not a matter of finding an influencer with a large volume of followers. Putting together an effective influencer marketing strategy is far more complicated than that. I put together a guide.
What are influencers?
Simply put, influencers are people that have amassed a sizable following on social media. These people are not always celebrities. Rather, they have gained followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest by focusing on a particular niche topic. Their large following has given them influence.
Here lies a good marketing opportunity. Companies and organizations reach out to these influencers to promote their products and causes. Usually offering them some kind of incentive. It is not a relatively new phenomenon but one that is constantly evolving.
How could I find them?
The easiest way to find influencers is on the social networks themselves. Perhaps, identify the big influencers in your field. Look at who they follow and move forward from there. Remember that the big fish are always the most difficult to get. And sometimes, people with a more related subject are better than those with bigger followings.
Hashtags are also a good way to find influencers. And they are just not for Twitter anymore. Every social network uses them now. And often the most popular influencers are listed at the very top of searches. And identifying bloggers is as easy as putting some keywords on Google or WordPress search engines.
And do not forget about LinkedIn. It has groups and discussion boards on just about anything. Look at some of the most active people. And there are some excellent tools available for finding influencers which you could find in this excellent article here.
How can I get them to back me?
Nobody does anything for free anymore. At least, when it comes to influencer marketing. And why should they? You have something to gain. So, that is why you need an incentive. But, this does not necessarily mean cash.
Brand endorsements and product placements are the most common form of influencer marketing. And if you are a publicity-seeking start-up, offering someone your product in exchange for a mention, is a good place to start. Or just simply paying them for ad space, like on Pinterest and Instagram.
And then there is content creation and content sharing. Sometimes, influencers are happy to have you post or link to their content, either through a blog or social media post. But, usually you have to go beyond that.
If you have a blog, ask some bloggers to write some articles. They get exposure and you get more content. Or offer to write for their website yourself. Invite them to participate in a podcast or to do an interview for your website or theirs.
Finally, it could be just a matter of engagement. Meet them in person to discuss a partnership or networking opportunity. Or write a review of them on LinkedIn, Yelp or iTunes.