Modern marketers are familiar with the concept of influencer marketing. It is an innovative form of marketing that targets specific personalities that have a massive impact on other people instead of focusing on various customer groups.
It’s safe to say that this method is here to stay because the world has shifted to social media, where users look at others to decide on purchases and follow recommendations from experts. Adweek, for example, called influencer marketing “the next big thing,” and they are totally right about that.
The Influencer Effect.
Let’s illustrate the effect of influencer marketing. A company needs to sell sports drinks that are consumed by athletes and decides to use this strategy by targeting Lebron James, arguably the best basketball player on the planet at this moment.
When it has the approval of this star to advertise their drinks with his help, a commercial is shot and various advertisement materials are produced to boost the sales of the products. Just imagine the interest to that drink if the best player in the world says he uses it during his workouts? Hundreds of thousands of people who practice basketball from all over the world will rush to the stores to taste the magic product.
Of course, reaching the star of this caliber is not that easy and most influencers are known within much narrower social circles. But this example was just to give you the idea of the influencer effect on others and what it can mean for your business. The impact of every influencer varies, so consider this before making the choice of the one to work with.
For you as an online business owner, blogger, or entrepreneur, influencers can perform a number of roles that could be beneficial for the content strategy.
First, they could contribute some content to your website that was written by them to show that they really care about what you do.
Second, they can simply write some good things about you and your business on your site to demonstrate the influencer’s feedback and praise.
Third, they can share the content produced by you with others on their networks and advertise it a little bit. All of these roles are equally important and can make your content strategy very successful.
Specifically, there are three great advantages provided by these roles.
- You get a remarkable content. When an influencer writes for you, this content might be considered as more reliable thus more valuable by many viewers, so the quality of the information presented on your website dramatically increases. Moreover, if the influencer is really interested in your business, he or she might even do this for free!
- You build your Brand. The fact that say, Lebron James has chosen your brand to write about means awesome things for building the reputation and image of your business. Specifically, it signals that the star approved your product or service to be provided for other people. Naturally, there is no point for influencers to promote a bad product because they will hurt their image as well. The target audience therefore might change the perception of your brand very quickly.
- You expand the reach. Given that an influencer can be known by more people that your original target audience, your site might be visited by people who otherwise would not have visited it if it wasn’t for the interest in the influencer. As the result, the marketing reach can be dramatically expanded to get more people, which means more awareness about the brand.
How do these benefits sound? Are you interested in switching your current content strategy to this new one? If you are, there is a great guide below waiting for you.
How to Engage In Influencer Marketing?
Step 1. Research
Begin by brainstorming about the influencers in the target market that could agree to work with you (you might want to read about what makes an influencer, too). This process is a lot more difficult than it sounds because you have to gather your team and select a number of people that could be great for this task and research everything that needs to be known online.
There are some techniques that speed up the process, such as using list of keywords or PR tools (Cision, Vocus and others). Other people choose to find information through professional social networks like LinkedIn. At this point, every search tool can be used, really.
Step 2. Evaluation
Once you have a list of influencers that you think are good for the job, they need to be evaluated in terms of the impact. Simply said, who would make the most impact among the potential customers? After this person has been identified, you need to learn his or her personality to develop the right method to approach them.
According to Alan Green, a senior marketer from Aussiewriter, the best approach is to initially engage them in a simple non-promotional way and develop more common interests over time.
For example, you can start showing interest in the activity of the influencer, such as commenting on their posts or sharing them with others. This does not have to an explicit interest with lots of comments but rather occasional one.
Step 3. Engagement
After the period of showing the interest, you need to actually engage the influencer. It can be done by sending them a personal email that should be written in a proper way.
Specifically, you can tell them that you have been monitoring their activity for a while and you felt that they were a perfect candidate for collaboration on some project. Show the involved benefits as well; for example, tell them how many people visit your site and underline that the influencer might increase their reach. Of course, the information about your business and yourself should also be included in the letter. Conclude by saying that this opportunity is mutually beneficial.
Step 4. Working in the right way
Congratulations! You have received an approval from the influencer you wanted! Now, the biggest challenge is to make the collaboration as convenient and easy as possible for them, because they appreciate good conditions for their work. To provide them, you need to let them use their creative energy to the fullest and personalize everything they can.
Step 5. Appreciate the collaboration
After you have completed your first project and posted it online, the influencer should be thanked for their work with you. Just send them an email and express your gratitude for everything they have done for you during the project. Also, you can ask to share this piece within their own network as well. Do not forget to let them about how the project has performed after some period of time. This appreciation of the work done by the influencer will show them that you truly value their work and are a good partner to be contacted for further collaboration.
The Bottom Line.
Influencer is very powerful tool, which, if used properly, can dramatically enhance your content strategy and make some connections in the world of the online business. It could be equally useful in various stages of the strategy because it incorporates new exciting people and their creative potential, which could be appreciated by many people.
In most cases, influencer marketing begins to bring benefits very quickly, so consider using it for your business as well. Use the steps described above as a guide for reaching the desired outcome and make sure you selected the right influencers for the purposes of your strategy.
About the Author: Amy Cowen is a content marketing strategist who specializes in maximizing the commercial impact of the content. She manages her own team of content writers at A-writer and contributes to different sites and blogs on marketing topics. Feel free to contact her on Twitter.