Amazing 3 Step Guide To Working With Social Media Influencers
If you are looking for some guidance about working with influencers that you can use today, without the need for an agency or any outside help, you’re in luck.
This three step guide will get you going.
So let’s dive right in:
The fastest and easiest way to get more leads and sales is to have current customers and industry influencers recommend your business to their peers.
To do this, you must study your customers and why they make the decisions they do.
If your business is B2B (business to business) be sure to identify consultants involved in their buying process. They are usually a critical component in the “decision making journey” that your buyers go through.
But whether you are a B2C (business to consumer) or B2B, you should develop a customer avatar or buyer persona.
Include details around who the buyer is and what external factors or individuals play a role in their buying decision.
#1: Find & identify leading influencers active in your buyer’s journey
Be where the customer is by searching influencers that your customers goes to for advice.
You can find influencers quickly in a couple of places…
>>Tip: Start with high ranking blogs and websites
When looking for influencers, try doing several Google searches on industry-specific topics. These are topics only those involved in the industry write about.
Be sure to look beyond the the first page of the search results!
Big company content and ads push organic results for influencers further down, so be sure to check the second and third pages or even further.
For example, let’s say I am searching for B2B influencers in the “enterprise storage” in the technology industry.
Two well known influencers are found several pages down in the search results (yes, I’ve worked with these guys before on behalf of clients).
The first is Stephen Foskett:
Another is Robin Harris of Storage Mojo:
Both of these guys are substantial voices in the enterprise technology space, particularly storage, so I’d definitely want to know them.
Neither shows up in search results until the fourth page but both are consultants and influential to buyers in this space.
Lesson: Be willing to drill down a few pages!
But it get’s better:
You can try changing your search query from “enterprise storage” to “enterprise storage bloggers” and this pops up on the first page:
As you can see, a couple of influencers come up right away, including Robin Harris of StorageMojo.
>>Tip: Look for social media leaders in your industry niche
You’ll now want to look beyond blogs and websites to social media channels. Some influencers make their virtual homes there.
Take a careful look at social media accounts of people who seem to have sizable audiences within your area of interest, your niche.
There are a number of platforms that are popular and where you can find influencers including Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and others.
eMarketer published some findings on this and found that Instagram is becoming the preferred channel.
But your audience might be different.
Be sure to know WHERE your customers congregate online and find influencers there.
Look at their metrics (audience size, social engagement: likes, shares, and comments) and determine how much impact these social media influencers have there.
>>Tip: Take a look at your competitors on their social channels and follow them. Also be sure to “turn on”notifications on Facebook and Twitter so you can stay up to date.
When you do this it allows you to know immediately when your competitor or a like minded group posts an update on those channels.
Another option is to use online apps like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.
These apps allow you to monitor Twitter for keywords, users, #hashtags and others.
It is important not to neglect less well known influencers and who may not have large followings on social media channels.
Why? These folks can be very influential without having large social media numbers.
Here’s an example:
On Twitter @Activewin is an account managed by Bob Stein.
His account has a mere 800+ followers (not an impressive number), but you must research further to discover Bob is the director of Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh.
Many CTOs seek out Bob’s advice about technology products and services, and not just in the Pittsburgh area.
He also blogs on the University’s web site.
Lesson: Don’t rely on surface metrics like “reach” alone. Be sure to look for relevance and resonance (engagement with the audience). Also, look to see what the influencer does for a living and where he or she works.
#2: Establish a strong relationship with the influencers
Begin with influencers already familiar with your brand or company, if possible. They are the “low hanging fruit” that can help you quickly.
If not, you can follow the same formula below. It will take little longer and you have to be persistent.
Here’s how it works:
Support the influencer’s content by amplifying it. There are several ways to do this:
- Promote their posts on YOUR company social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Be sure to comment on it in addition to sharing it so you show some thoughfulness as to why you are sharing their content.
- Link to their blog posts or videos in YOUR company blog posts or on your company About page (the About page is the second most trafficked page).
- Encourage other influencers you know and have good relationships with to share the content through their social media channels. You should explain why the content is worth sharing.
- If you have budget, use paid advertising to drive traffic to the influencer’s article. Be sure it is a post you feel strongly about and takes a position that you and your brand believe in.
One more thing … be genuine about the content you are sharing and promoting.
#3: Leverage them to grow your brand
Develop relationships with your leading industry influencers, and work with them to effectively launch, broadcast and sometimes evangelize your product or service.
By leveraging influencers, your brand can quickly and effectively establish itself as a market leader.
Be sure to evaluate the potential of B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) blogs.
You can do both depending on the product and circumstances.
If you have a business laptop computer marketed through B2B channels, you can also market that laptop through B2C influencers.
B-to-Bs who want to amplify their current marketing efforts through influencer marketing should start with their content.
Quality content provides value. The two main ways for B2Bs to amplify their message include:
- Arrange to publish your content on an influencer’s blog and social network. Be sure to amplify these posts via traditional digital marketing channels.
- “Native advertising” is a way to amplify select content. These native ads should read like an traditional article or blog post. Do not write these as advertisements! They must read like any other organic post. This will ensure that the native content is actually read by the largest audience possible.
These are the main steps…
- Identify the leading industry influencers in your space or niche.
- Establish strong relationships with them
- Broadcast and amplify your content (and your brand) via the influencers
What about automation? Is it possible to automate working with influencers?
Automated solutions are limited and not able to do much more than identify influencers and that is only the starting point of influencer marketing.
The real work – and the fun – comes by building relationships with influencers.
You should have in mind that this is a process that requires time.
It’s like building friendships and that isn’t done quickly, especially not on a large scale, and quickly.