Computers have changed a lot – in fact, the internet has changed pretty much everything. Marketing is no exception, and with social media and blogging taking over so much, there’s a lot to adjust to. Right now, probably the most influential sort of marketing is influencer marketing – marketing that uses key people in the blogosphere and social media to promote products and services.
The problem is, the reason influencer marketing works is because people trust those influencers. Just making a slick advert is no longer good enough. You need to win over the blogger or Instagrammer you’re trying to influence, and you need to keep on working with them to promote your brand. It’s not a simple equation like Facebook ads or Google AdSense. You can’t just put money in and expect to get a good result at the end. Instead you need to manage different influencers, who all have their own way of working, their own rates, and their own idea of what content their readers and subscribers want to see.
I’ve scoured the web for some of the best advice from professionals who know how it works. Ready to jump in?
How to find the right influencers:
1. Look for people with the most followers.
It sounds obvious, right? But it’s true: these are often the people who know what they’re doing, and won’t need your input to get it right. Use someone who has the expertise already.
2. Look for people who have quality followers.
Everyone knows that quality trumps quantity, and this is no exception. You’re looking for people who really engage with their subscribers, and get engagement back from them.
3. Do your research.
Before you approach a blogger, find out what they write about and figure out how they market themselves. That’ll help you pitch your product to them.
4. Don’t discount smaller communities.
If you’ve got a niche product, or just something that a particular group are going to get really excited about, exploit that. Don’t just assume that someone with a few hundred followers is small fry – they might be a big fish in a small pool.
5. Look for people with a genuine connection.
Don’t just approach any old blogger. If they’re only interested in sports gear and you’re pushing a new book, it’s probably not going to work.
6. Build relationships.
Don’t just work with a blogger once – keep up the relationship! If they can come to trust your brand or product, they’ll feel better about asking their audience to trust you as well.
7. Meet them!
Come up with events like mixers and conferences where you can invite key influencers along. If you make it an open invitation, they might just bring along friends who are going to love your product too.
8. Look for authenticity.
If a blogger comes across as a complete shill, there’s no point in working with them. The reason influencer marketing works is because of the human aspect.
9. Look for varied content.
You don’t want to work with a blogger who just posts the same thing week in, week out. It’s obvious what they’re selling. Instead, work with bloggers who know how to create interesting content.
10. Ask them to recommend other bloggers.
Even if they don’t feel like your product is a fit for their blog (or Instagram, or however they get in touch with the people they influence), they probably know someone who would just love it. And everyone loves to be treated as an expert!
11. Keep an eye on who’s new.
The niche Instagrammer of today might be tomorrow’s star. Don’t discount smaller blogs just because they haven’t made it yet.
12. Utilize services like BuzzSumo to find out what’s performing best, and who the key influencers are. Don’t just check once – keep an eye on it.
13. Look at the bloggers featuring your competitors.
How are they doing it? Would they be open to trying out your product or service as well? This might be a great way to get eyes on your content.
14. Make it easy to contact you.
Influencers have that influence because they know what people want. They’ll know if your products are a fit for their space – make sure you have contact info so that they can reach out to you!
15. Be present.
Make sure you’re available on social media, boost bloggers when they post relevant content, etc. That’ll make people more willing to work with you, and might just help your product along the way.
16. Look for someone who has organic followers – you really don’t need someone who has just paid for followers, because those followers aren’t real people who can get involved. Not only do you want a genuine influencer, but you want the people they influence to be genuinely engaged in their communities too!
Run a successful campaign:
17. Focus on what’s right for the product. Are you selling a mass-produced product, or providing a bespoke service? If you’ve got the funds to send out samples to every blogger you see, and take the chance that some of those samples will be ignored, then that might be a great way to get yourself featured. But if you’re offering a bespoke service, consider something more intimate: partner up with one or two influencers.
18. Giveaways work really well.
Even if you can’t offer dozens of samples, a giveaway with some kind of retweetable content could bring in tons of new interest. Free stuff always works!
19. Do something unique.
Come up with something that’s just about your product or service, that just promotes your brand. Don’t do what everyone else is doing – think outside the box.
20. Keep an eye on metrics.
If you’re working with a blogger and yet you’re not getting any new interest from their posts, it might be time to end the relationship, or at least scale it down. You don’t want to waste resources.
21. Build an organic relationship with influencers.
It’s got to feel real – for them as well as for their audience. They know if they’re just a box you’re trying to tick.
22. Use promo codes!
Get bloggers talking, and give them a way to get people into whatever you’re selling easily. Even just 5% off makes people more willing to try something new.
23. Get the influencers you’re working with invested in your product.
It’s not enough to just pay them to do a single featured post – get them interested, give them a story to tell. Half the time, it’s stories that sell things now. That’s the whole point of working with human beings!
24. Run virtual events.
Can’t afford to get people mixing in person? It doesn’t take much to run something online, getting some key influencers involved in sharing stuff all at the same time. It creates buzz, and that’s something you can really build on.
25. Make sure there’s a call to action.
If there’s nothing people can do to join in, obviously they won’t. It can be something simple, like just encouraging people to share images of them using your products, or coming up with a relevant hashtag for people to share stories on Twitter. Make them want to join the conversation!
26. Make sure to hit the obvious points: Google Analytics, referral links, Facebook’s analytics, etc. Just seeing how many clicks you’re getting is a start.
27. Look for engagement.
How often are people referring to you? Are people talking about you?
28. When you’re working with an influencer, check out their numbers too. How often are people clicking through? Do you see a boost in app downloads when they post about your brand?
29. Start with clear goals.
You won’t know if you’re successful unless you’ve defined what success looks like.
30. Be realistic.
It might take time to build up interest, so instead of worrying about the numbers on their own, look at the trend. Are you getting more engagement over time? Something got 15 RTs last week, but 32 this week? Looks like you’re onto a winner, keep doing whatever you’re doing!
This kind of marketing is a brave new world, and there are as many ways to succeed as there are people. Tailor your approach to your product and your desired audience, and you won’t go far wrong.
Did we miss any tips? Let us know in the comments below!