Influencer Marketing – lots of people are talking about this social media/marketing trend and concept! Is it beneficial? Can it drive results? Will it replace content marketing? Will it replace social media marketing in its entirety? Absolutely not. The truth of the matter is that influencer marketing is dependant on social media marketing and cannot exist without it!
What exactly is Influencer Marketing?
Let’s break it down. As we know, marketing is actionable items used to promote or sell a product or service. Influence is the capability to have a direct effect on something or someone. When we put it together, influencer marketing is practically the promotion of a product/service through individuals who are influential – those who have the capacity to directly impact or effect others.
Influencer marketing is essentially the same as attracting ambassadors to market your products or services to their networks in hopes to drive business. The strategy has been around for a while, however, we are seeing a big shift in how we are thinking about the concept. Think back to Tony the Tiger selling Frosted Flakes. Tony the Tiger was essentially the “influencer” that drove sales. The same can be said for Santa Claus – an influencer that changed the game for Coca Cola. Fast forward to today’s day and age, we have the Kardashian clan representing brands like Calvin Klein or The Rock representing Under Armour. On a smaller scale, there are micro-influencers – those who have large local followers in smaller jurisdictions.
How can you take advantage of this blossoming career and marketing channel? By reaching out to influencers with your products or services. However, etiquette matters. Here are some do’s and don’ts of contacting an influencer.
Do: Have a Full Concept First
Would you show up to a business meeting unprepared? No. Treat your initial contact with an influencer like an important business meeting. You should have your marketing idea fully thought-through. Your goals and expectations should be clear. Present it in a way that is transparent and concise.
Do: Build a Relationship with Them
Although influencer marketing is now a part of the business, most influencers never went to business school. They value authentic connections with brands before making a deal. Before ever pitching your idea, build a rapport. Comment on their posts; start a conversation. Show that you understand their personal brand and what their audience wants. Be human first, marketer second.
Do: Offer Something in Return
Influencers make a living (part time or full) by promoting brands. It’s expected that they will receive some form of payment in return for their promotion. Bigger influencers with highly engaged followers will likely expect payment in cash. But, smaller influencers may be okay with free product or cross-promotion. Never expect free promotion.
Don’t: Get Blinded by Their Numbers
It can be tempting to reach out to influencers with millions of followers. That means they have millions of loyal subscribers who will buy what they say, right? Not always. We already know that many accounts on social media are actually bots and unused accounts. Instead, focus on influencers with high engagement rates. They may only have 10 000 followers, but almost all of those followers care about the influencer’s opinion.
Don’t: Be Too Strict with Your Expectations
Influencers are generally creative people; they curate their images, captions, and personal brand. Allow some room for creativity and flexibility in your marketing plan. You’re choosing an influencer based on their sense of style, confidence, and well, influence. If they want to change up the wording of your copy to better suit their followers, be open to it. They know their audience better than anyone.
Don’t: Only Contact Them on Social Media
Popular influencers have direct message inboxes full of subscriber questions, comments, and requests. While it’s good to send a message this way, it’s best to follow it up with an email. Most influencers will have a business email or management contact for you to reach out to. Use this method of contact, not only their direct messages.
Influencer marketing is the way of the future. More and more businesses and professionals are utilizing the power of influencer marketing. If you need help reaching out to influencers and coming up with a clear marketing strategy, contact us today!