Influencers already existed in the form of politicians, celebrities, non-profit group advocates, socialites and even our friends long before the advent of social media.
They are called as such because of their ability to incite social change, whether it is as simple as setting the trend in winter outfits or as complicated as mobilizing massive amounts of people to topple a dictatorship.
But influencers have taken on a whole new meaning now that we’re in the digital age. Social media has paved the way for a new breed of influencers, who are capable of driving as much as 16 times more engagement with its target audience, even surpassing the influence of paid or owned media programs. Hence, these social media influencers serve as great brand advocates for companies with limited marketing budget. They are not as “expensive” and as inaccessible as celebrities, yet they remain influential for a select group of people.
But not all influencers can effectively promote your brand. This type of advertising will only work out if you present your products and services to the right influencer and you use the right social media platform. Twitter is usually the platform of choice, but Instagram and Pinterest are also great choices for businesses with compelling visual elements. MobioINsider is similar to Twitter, but it is best used for question-and-answer formats. Facebook is best for reaching out to older audiences and creating communities.
The audience of your influencer is also an important consideration, since your influencer of choice should match your target customer. It is also essential to gauge the engagement of the influencer’s followers through the number of responses and conversations for each post. Traackr is a great tool for locating top influencers in a specific niche based on their reach, resonance, and relevance to your topic.
Once you’ve located your chosen influencer, it’s time to introduce yourself and build a relationship. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for connecting with other respected professionals within your industry. Make sure that you customize your pitch for every social influencer and don’t just blast them with your latest post or press release. Better yet, start making yourself visible through reposting their blogs and commenting on their articles. It takes time, but will all be worth it once you gain the trust of the influencer. That way, when you ask a favor from them, they would readily respond because they know you well.
Crafting a campaign or content strategy is the next step. In the beginning, there is greater chance for success if the campaign focuses on the influencer and not the product. The best way to gain the trust of an influencer’s audience is to have the influencer engage with your product and testify or create content for it.
Contests, giveaways, and video-based content yield good engagement results. If possible, each influencer campaign should run on different days with different tracking links, promo codes, or landing pages. That way, you can measure each influencer’s impact separately.
Building a relationship with your influencer doesn’t stop once the campaign is done. Gratitude, whether done in public or private, can go a long way. You should maintain this working relationship over the weeks and months that follow. However, it is important to analyze and measure the results of every influencer’s campaign and see which ones worked and which ones didn’t. Run more campaigns with the ones who met or exceeded your expectations. Drop the ones who didn’t.
Just because you are extending your influence in social media doesn’t mean that you can’t find them offline. Attending industry events can help you get to know other authorities within your niche. Introduce yourself and follow up with an online social media invitation. Personal contacts can make influencers more amenable to working with you, especially if you take care of this relationship. Simply put, building a lasting working relationship with the influencer of your choice is at the core of this process.
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