In today’s digital landscape, social media creators and other media influencers with niche audiences can now offer more value to brands looking to widen their audiences than celebrities used to offer. We’re talking about brands that partner with social media influencers like PewDiePie, Jake Paul, and Lilly Singh to promote their products and services. In fact, at the moment, more than two-thirds of fashion retailers use some form of influencer marketing.
In this article, we will look at:
1) What is influencer marketing?
2) How to influence the influencer
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of collaboration where businesses work with public figures to promote a product, service, or new company campaign. Social media creators and media influencers have dedicated and engaged groups of loyal followers. For this reason, companies that use the right influencers can reach their target audiences, build trust, and drive engagement.
With more than 500,000 active influencers on Instagram alone, companies have so many influencer collaboration opportunities. They simply need to find the right one to present their brand message.
Some brands make the mistake of assuming that influencer marketing is overhyped and unnecessary. On the contrary, when people are making purchase decisions, influencers are more effective than advertisements or recommendations from family and friends.
When trying to find the right influencer for their media campaign, there are a few things that companies should keep in mind.
1) Consider the three Rs of influence
The right influencer should share content that is relevant to a company and its industry. They need to have an audience that aligns with a brand’s target audience. While bigger may not always be better, the perfect influencer is one who not only creates relevant content but also has followers who are dedicated and engaged. Your chosen influencer should produce content that will resonate with your target audience so that you can appeal to the right people.
2) Go for a consistent look, feel, tone, and values
At this point, companies have already figured out their brand identity across all their platforms. To present a cohesive front to potential customers, they need to find someone who produces content that complements their company image.
3) Reach out privately and personally
Influencers are just like journalists and media outlets. They appreciate a more personal message rather than a mass email or generic DM. It may take longer to create a personalized message, but it shows that a company is serious about a potential partnership.
Companies can create this content on their own or get help from PR professionals who have experience communicating with journalists and influencers. PR agencies like Pressfarm help startups and entrepreneurs create newsworthy content that will appeal to the media as well as target audiences. They craft everything personally, from email pitches to press kits. Their PR database of over 1 million journalists and their customized media lists give companies the ability to find and connect with their perfect media match. Pressfarm also helps increase online content visibility by optimizing branded content to appear in relevant search results on various search engines.
4) Plan the budget
Most influencers who have made social media and video content their full-time job expect to be paid for their work. While providing free products and services might work with nano-influencers, a more experienced and more extensive influencer campaign requires better compensation for the work done.
For this reason, companies need to build a budget for their influencer marketing campaign. While it’s important to think about what kind of payment structure works for the company, they also need to consider the influencer’s needs.
5) Keep an eye out for sponsorship saturation
There are plenty of influencers out there. This means that there is a lot of opportunity for sponsorships. In other words, companies need to keep an eye out for the amount of paid posts that are already flooding social media platforms.
If you have too many sponsored posts, then it’s time to consider using a more organic approach with your influencer. Instead of paying them to blatantly promote your brand, consider encouraging them to make your brand a part of their everyday life on camera.
6) Research and learn
Influencers with a large following are usually in very high demand, which means that they get a plethora of offers to choose from. To get their target influencer’s attention, companies need to show that they have put in the time to do their research and learn about their content style. They should get to know their channels and their audiences.
How to appeal to influencers
1) Don’t be a pitching parasite
Influencers have their agenda and goals but are still bombarded with people who want to benefit from their work without creating a mutually beneficial relationship. By choosing authenticity over self-interest, companies can benefit from the influencer community while also being a part of it.
2) Treat influencers like friends
Without building a relationship with influencers, there is a very high possibility that companies will not gain the media coverage they desire. As with a friend, companies need to respect influencers’ time and interests. They should help in ways that don’t directly benefit their brands. Throughout the long-term relationship, an influencer will respect companies that aren’t trying to use them.
3) Believe in your right to engage
Some entrepreneurs and startups feel intimidated when trying to connect with influencers and media outlets, especially when it is their first time trying to establish a relationship. However, you shouldn’t give up or let yourself believe that it’s difficult to bond with an influencer.
If you think about it, brands actually have a lot in common with influencers. Both produce creative content in an effort to engage their target audiences. While you may feel like you don’t have what it takes to connect with an influencer, you already have everything you need. You could initiate a conversation about a blog post, share insight into the industry, or ask a quick question regarding their expertise.
4) Be a conversation catalyst
Rather than trying to fit in with the crowd, companies should try to start conversations with influencers that capture their attention. The first thing you say needs to be compelling enough to generate dialogue, introduce a new idea, or spark an interesting debate.
5) Become your influencer’s go-to resource
With practical strategies, companies will eventually become a trusted authority in their industry. By presenting themselves as an authority in their field, companies can offer influencers an interview with someone who is willing to be a source in the content they are creating. Alternatively, brands can connect them with media professionals who are looking for their opinion. If they have a positive experience with a company, influencers will be more than willing to work with the company again and promote their brand.
6) Offer free products
While highly sought-out influencers generally expect payment for their work, they also appreciate having tangible products to try out. This way, they can create authentic content and share genuine opinions with their audience. Whether companies offer products or services, sending out free samples gives influencers further incentive to create organic content that reflects the brand identity.
7) Be authentic
While they may seem like people who live unobtainable lifestyles, influencers are still human beings who look for authentic personal and professional relationships. Whenever you’re interacting with an influencer, you should keep the phrase, “Treat others the way you want to be treated” in mind. Influencers respect originality and kindness; they appreciate companies that are considerate of their time and content.
8) Pay attention to audience segmentation
Influencers that have a strong connection with their audience are way more meaningful than impersonal paid media. A lot of the time, even “lower tier” influencers are more powerful than an advertisement. This is because they can help you reach niche audiences.
9) Remember it’s a two-way street
Influencer marketing is all about professional networking and developing relationships with people who are experts in their industry. Rather than just focusing on their own needs, companies should connect people by introducing influencers to other industry experts to create a larger circle of connections.
10) Pay it forward
As much as the influencer is helping you, you should also go out of your way to help them. Share their content through quotes and tweets. This way, they can also be part of a bigger conversation with new audiences. Paying it forward is always a good idea, as it helps your influencer to feel valued.
Digital and influencer marketing will only get more powerful as more platforms emerge to create more generations of influencers. Companies have a valuable opportunity to build professional relationships with these experts. Capturing the attention of influencers is the first step of any successful influencer marketing strategy. Maintaining a positive long-term relationship is the next, and more important, step. With an effective influencer marketing strategy, you can continue to develop your brand identity. More importantly, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in the market.