Working with influencers through a dedicated marketing program yields many opportunities to work together. One positive method to collaborate is to boost content on social channels in a mutually beneficial way.
Influencers provide a fantastic channel for boosting engagement because when your organization produces great content, influencers and their fans can help bring undiscovered audiences to it. Whether it’s an infographic, an insightful how-to, or a quote from a thought leader, aligning with influencers can help bring attention and exposure to your content.
The Wrong Way: Don’t Be Lazy
The most common technique (and ill-advised by this influencer marketer) is blindly reaching out to an influencer, or someone with a large social following, by asking him or her to re-tweet or share your social message. This method is the social media equivalent of a cold call and is a waste of time on both sides of the ask. The marketer wastes time searching for said influencer, vetting a potential list, and writing emails/prompts to a list of influencers they’ve never worked with before. The influencer’s time is wasted because the request is one of the dozens received that day.
Where to Start
Do you and your organization desire to boost engagement through influencer marketing? Sweet! Use this is a reason to start a formal influencer marketing program based on relationship building and mutual benefit for both the brand and the influencer. Even if you start small, just start.
Let’s begin with your search. To find influencers, load up your preferred social analytics tool. Here at Sysomos, we have Sysomos Influence as a list building tool. Are you an existing MAP customer? Great, the same data science-backed, influencer-finding tech is available to you too. Search for keywords based on your brand’s messaging and influencers that align with those.
For instance, if you’re a retailer looking to promote a new denim jacket that’s affordably priced, search for keyword combinations such as “fashionista, frugal fashions, thrift shop fashion, affordable fashion, cheap chic” and the like. Get creative and start culling a list of interesting personalities.
Engage. Ok, since we’re starting small, let’s begin by engaging a list of 10 folks. Start by following them across their social channels as your brand. Respond to their messages, re-tweet them. Note their involvement back to you.
Pitch them. Over direct message or email (if it’s appropriate), reach out to the influencer. Let them know where you’re at. If you’re just starting your program and are looking to get involved in a passive manner, write an email such as this:
Hey Diane, it’s Jason from Denim Express. We’re looking to get involved with fashion influencers as a part of a fun program. I’m in social media marketing at the company, and I’ve been sharing your content here in the office to my colleagues – we really dig your style and your photos!
I’d like to work with you going forward. I’m just building this program and we’re still shaping it, but I wanted to start by reaching out and introducing myself and our company to you.
Make the pitch personal and practical. If you have arranged for product samples to give away, say so. If you’d like to buy them a coffee and you’re in the same city, ask them. If you can arrange for them to come in and meet a designer in your company, suggest it!
Understand them. Pay attention to how they speak to their audience and what their audience desires. If they’re a fashion influencer, they’re likely trying new looks, so offer to provide a sample of your new denim jacket. Ask them if they’d like to interview the designer. Invite them to the unveiling at a local retailer.
Look for ways to collaborate. Influencer marketing, at its finest, is a two-way value exchange. Therefore, as the brand, look for ways to help the influencer. Highlight them on your social channels, support their efforts and be creative. Perhaps your brand is holding a conference, invite them to speak! Build partnership wherever you can.
Let’s Amplify, Together!
Ask influencers to re-blog, re-tweet or share. When a piece of content is appropriate for that particular influencers audience, ask the influencer to share. Explain why you are pitching him or her on this piece.
For example, you could say:
Hey Jane! We saw your social post the other day about how you weren’t sure how long a pair of jeans should last before they start to fade.
We actually just posted a video of how to keep your jeans ‘like-new’ as long as possible. Perhaps your audience might get a kick out of it!
Make the influencer part of the content creation process. Ask the influencer to provide a perspective for an upcoming piece. Quote them and use their picture. Boost their profile as much as your brand’s.
Highlight their community. Every influencer is in the content game as well, trying to boost their audience. Highlight their community of top members just as you would the influencer him/herself.
What methods have you found to be effective in content-based influencer marketing?
(Image credit: Flickr user brizzlebornandbred)