Influencer marketing for brand building
Marketeers love a buzzword. And the current big thing in brand building is influencer marketing.
An influencer is someone who has the power to persuade others to think a certain way, take a certain action, or buy a certain product. Done correctly, influencer marketing is one of the most effective channels for reaching your audience and grabbing their attention. According to a survey from Nielsen only 33% of consumers trust advertisements, while 90% will follow recommendations from their peers.
This method of marketing is nothing new. Brands have long known the power of celebrity endorsement, and we are used to seeing the faces of famous actors, popstars and athletes in advertising campaigns.
What is different about influencer marketing is that, thanks to social media, many of today’s influencers are every day, average people – just like you and me (ok, we’re not that average). Social media has given a voice to anyone and everyone.
Not everyone on social media has the power to persuade, so how can you identify an influencer? They may be bloggers, vloggers, industry experts, or product reviewers – but the key thing that sets them apart are they have:
- A large number of followers on social media
- High levels of engagement with their followers (replies, retweets, shares etc)
- An ability to mobilise opinions and create reactions
How to identify influencers
If you want someone to help promote your equestrian business you should look for:
- Professional riders
- Enthusiastic amateur riders
- Equestrian journalists
- Equestrian bloggers/vloggers
- Equestrian websites and magazines
There are a number of tools you can use to identify social media influencers in your industry or niche. A few worth checking out are BuzzSumo, Affinio, Sprout Social and Pitchbox. These will not help you find influencers in seconds, they will also enable you to analyse them by their authority, influence and engagement.
How to engage influencers
Once you’ve found key influencers in your industry – the key question is how to engage with them? How can you persuade these powerful people to promote your brand?
1. Get to know them
The first thing you have to do is to take some time to get to know the influencer. Sign up to their email list, follow them all on social media platforms, watch their vlogs and read their blogs. Find out their key values, how they communication with their audience, and how you can add value to their brand.
2. Build a relationship
Influencer marketing is all about the relationship between you and the influencer, and the influencer and their audience. This relationship takes time to build, so get liking, sharing and commenting on their posts. And if they like or comment on one of your posts, don’t forget to reply
A word of warning: don’t go overboard. If you like or comment on every post you’re in danger of looking like a stalker, not a potential business partner!
3. Offer them money
Money talks right? The simplest way to work with influencers is to pay them a fee for their services. This could include:
- Collaborating on an event
- Writing blogs
- Featuring sponsored posts
4. Give them freebies
The problem with paying influencers is that most have gained the trust of their followers by being honest and open with their opinions. Chances are they won’t want to sell out, and promote a product they don’t believe in.
The answer is to send them your product, offer your services, or invite them to your event, in the hope they love it and want to talk about it on social media.
5. Create mutual goals
If there is no monetary incentive you need to find other ways to engage with social media influencers. Creating mutually beneficial goals is a great way to make the influencer feel like you’re helping them out too. For example, if you want your influencer to write a guest post for your blog, you can offer to write a blog in return. Or you could partner up with them on something they’re interested in. The goal is to make your influencer feel valued, appreciated and acknowledged.
6. Start an influencer community
One of the main reasons consumers follow a brand on social media is to receive perks, such as discounts and special offers. So build relationships with your most influential customers, by providing them with exclusive digital content and rewards. This will enable them to connect with other influencers, which will increase their engagement across social networks, while encouraging brand loyalty to you.
With research and the right tools and attitude, influencer marketing can help you build your brand and gain a loyal following. So get out there and start networking!
Need help creating a marketing plan that will attract social media influencers in your industry? Get in touch to find out how we can help.