As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This adage is particularly true on social media. Today, you can see the rise of a new breed of influencers: Online ambassadors, YouTube sensations, and Twitter superstars. They're the pied pipers who influence a cult following with their content. With the right strategy and outreach, they can help:
Engage your audience in conversations that drive awareness and build (or change) perception about your brand.
Amplify your message and multiply your marketing efforts to your target audience.
Provide you with insights into the content that resonates with your audience. This can help you prepare a more effective content strategy.
Serve as a cost-effective means of spreading your message.
So where to begin reaching out to influencers? Here are a few tips:
Identify a list of influencers that fits your brand (we recommend using Buzzsumo for this). I know that it is tempting to simply engage with an influencer who is popular. But you have to consider your brand positioning and your influencer’s personality. Just as in any relationship, compatibility is key. Otherwise, it’s not going to last.
Remember that influence is contextual. Each influencer is unique, so you have to customize your pitch. Factor in the demographics and psychographics of your influencers, their interests, and their goals. Then, look for opportunities to align your marketing.
Be the first to reach out. It doesn’t have to be a grand proposition all the time. Start with baby steps. Comment on their blog or share their content in your social media pages. Then, you can work your way up to asking the influencer for a possible collaboration. Try exchanging guest posts or start a joint project.
Find ways to support your influencers’ audience. You can sponsor a contest or a meetup. Take this as an opportunity to engage with their audience directly.
Be partners. Allow your influencers to be part of the decision-making process. After all, they know what their audience wants.
Nurture the relationship. It can be as simple as greeting them on their birthdays or remembering them during the holidays. Regularly touch base with your influencers, even if you have no project together.
At the end of the day, marketing is about people. People who open doors. People who connect you to others. People who can work with you toward the same vision.