In the past, influencer marketing meant getting a celebrity endorsement to sell consumers on your products and drive sales for your brand. Today, the playing field has been leveled so that anyone – from your mother to your best friend or a YouTube personality – can be just as influential and trustworthy in recommending a product or service. Social media influencers are credible, boast powerful followings and can play a critical part in your brand’s digital strategy. If you’re ready to integrate influencers into your social media program, keep the following 7 things in mind to expand your brand’s organic reach in a meaningful and authentic way.
1) Look for relevance, not just a huge following.
Many brands focus on targeting influencers with huge followings, but these numbers don’t always mean the influencer is influential. Target niche influencers that are genuinely interested in your brand. They might have a smaller social following, but since the type of content they create is specific to a certain audience, their fans may be more likely to engage if the content interests them.
2) Build a relationship before pitching them.
The best relationships are built by seeding the conversation. Research the influencer’s work, and reach out to their social channels and comment on their posts. By engaging early on, the influencer will become aware of your brand, making it easier for you to reach out through email and be recognized.
3) Work together.
Work closely together to create content that works for your brand and their audience. Be open to suggestions on what their fans like because influencers can get frustrated when brands ignore their ideas about the kind of content that works for their audience.
4) Compensate influencers.
Many influencers say their major pain point is when a brand doesn’t come through with negotiated payments. Influencers work hard to build their credentials and their audience, so establish an agreement together that compensates them for sponsored content.
5) Communicate what happens after the content is published.
Set specific goals that clearly communicate what you want the readers to do after they’ve consumed the sponsored content. Whether that means sharing a link, watching a video or visiting your website, these goals will allow the influencer to tailor content to your brand’s call to action.
6) Track all engagement.
Measure the entire engagement process on your sponsored content. Track posts, shares, tweets and comments on each social channel to determine the ROI for your brand and whether the initiative was worth the marketing dollars and time spent working on it.
7) Trust them.
Your brand must trust that influencers will be able to tell your story in their original narratives. Don’t be scared about giving up this bit of control, as you cherry-picked these influencers based on their areas of expertise and interest!
For the best return on investment to be yielded to your brand, you need to build relationships with social influencers who have been proven to be trusted authorities with significant audiences. This means taking the time and effort to work together and trust in the work being produced. It may seem like a lot of effort, but the endeavor will be well worth it to stay relevant with your consumer base.