How To: Working with Key Industry Influencers
We all consume massive quantities of digital content on a daily basis. Despite the incredible volume of content out there in the interwebs, though, there’s probably only a certain percentage of it that you feel you can trust. A growing number of Internet users (49%) feel like influencers provide the best and truest content. So, what is an influencer, exactly, and how can you get a key industry influencer to work on your side, and draw positive attention to your brand? We’re glad you asked, because that’s exactly what this series is all about. To get the ball rolling, we’re going to look at what the term “influencer” actually means, and start taking a look at some tips for working with them.
What in the world is an influencer?
“Influencer” has become quite an industry buzzword for those absorbed in the world of marketing. While the word gets tossed around all the time, though, many people are still confused about what the term means. We like this definition from NeoReach:
“[An influencer is] an individual with an online presence who has the potential to influence the opinions and behaviors of your target audience.”
These are real people with real opinions, and the consumer marketplace views them as highly relatable and reliable. Because they’re objective, people feel that influencers can be trusted, and they’ve earned a high level of respect from the general population.
Because influencers can play such a huge role in the decisions that modern consumers make, it’s really helpful to get an influencer interested in your brand – in a good way. So, how do you do it? The following tips will get you started:
Top Tips for Working with Key Industry Influencers: Part 1
Ah, the good ol’ fashioned bribe. As simple as it may seem, one of the simplest and best ways to get a key influencer on your side is to gift them with your brand’s products or services. Doing this ensures that your stuff is getting directly into the hands of the influencers that your target audience is listening to. If they loved your gift, there’s a strong chance that they’ll feel compelled to share awesome feedback about it and your brand with their fans and followers.
In order to find success in this area, you need to do a little bit of recon. After all, you don’t want to gift a spa treatment to someone whose primary audience is made up of male gamers with no interest in getting a facial or a mani-pedi. Look for influencers who share a similar aesthetic to your brand and those who influence a group of people who are likely to be interested in what your brand has to offer.
Another easy way to piggyback off the success of an industry influencer and build up your customer base is through sponsored posts. This is an especially smart route to take with influential bloggers. In a nutshell, sponsored blog posts feature content that the influencer is being paid to publish about your brand, on his or her own blog and in his or her own voice. It’s really important that you allow the influencer the opportunity to write the content in their own voice, as this is what will resonate best with his or her followers and encourage them to give your brand a chance. The great thing about sponsored posts is that they are a very fast way for you to gain a lot of attention from large numbers of people who might be interested in your goods and services. The downside is that, per FTC guidelines, the influencer will have to include a disclaimer that says that the ad was sponsored by your brand. Still, every cloud has a silver lining, because the disclaimer should also state that the opinions were their own.
Top Tips for Working with Key Industry Influencers: Part 2
In our first post, we covered the concept of gifting goods and services to influencers in hopes that they’ll give your brand a mention. This is a slight variation of that initial technique. Here, you’re reaching out to an influencer to see if they would be willing to specifically review your product or service in exchange for a freebie. Remember, industry influencers have earned the trust of half of all online consumers, and with 81% percent of consumers taking the time to conduct online research prior to making purchases, an influencer’s review could go a long way in getting your brand the positive notice it deserves. For best results, work on building communication and rapport with an influencer prior to making your request. It’s also smart to do your research and make sure that the influencer is typically receptive toward or interested in the types of products and services you have to offer.
Who doesn’t love giveaways? If you don’t feel like asking an influencer for a review, you could see if they’d be willing to host a giveaway of one of your products. Should he or she consent, you’d send products their way and request that they hold a contest or other type of freebie giveaway on their blog, social media page, YouTube channel, etc. In order to get the most positive response from this method, you’ll need to:
- Offer a giveaway that has real value in order to pique audience interest.
- Make sure you can actually afford the giveaway!
- Choose an influencer that aligns with your brand’s vision.
- Listen to the influencer’s input about what type of product you should give away. Remember – he or she knows their audience better than you!
- Ask that in order to enter in the giveaway, audience members “like” your page or leave a comment. This will increase advertisement for your brand.
You know what else is fun? Getting the key industry influencers to participate in a competition themselves. You can offer up any kind of valuable prize, such as providing exclusive brand features via your channels, the opportunity to travel on your dime, a really awesome product, etc. Take a leaf out of Skype’s notebook. Recently, the communications mogul hosted a promotion called “Your City, Your Passion.” In the competition, influencers from across the globe were encouraged to create content that expresses why they love the cities they live in. In return, Skype offered a lesson with a famous expert within the influencer’s given field. As a result, Skype’s name really got out there in a big way, as influencers from all different industries and backgrounds took part in the contest.
Last, but certainly not least, we encourage you to reach out to influencers in your industry, developing a strong rapport, and then asking if you can contribute a guest post on a blog, video channel, social media page, or other publication. This will help you to really establish yourself as an industry expert and attract a lot more attention to your own blog and publications.
With so many people putting their trust in the word of online influencers, you can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to connect with influencers within your industry and have them work with you. To learn more about promoting your brand, reach out to the experts at Madison Taylor Marketing.