Influencer Marketing: How To Find The Right Advocate
Influencer marketing is no longer social media’s worst kept secret. It’s out there, for us all to see. Instagram even tells users when a post is ‘in partnership’ with another company. But despite this now being the norm, it’s still pretty tricky for companies to find the right influencer for their brand, and then to nurture and pitch them in the right way.
Research is absolutely crucial in any influencer marketing campaign. Is this the right person for the job? How do you know?
Food for thought:
- Consider all of the things you’d consider for a traditional advertising campaign; reach, engagement, content, location, demographics, to determine if the influencer is a good match
- Ask questions like how big the influencer’s audience is and what they’re talking about
- Take note of their following but also how much engagement their posts get; big audiences don’t mean active ones
- Keep detailed notes of the topics they’re discussing as well as audience age, gender, and lifestyle
Also consider different types of influencers. What about micro-influencers? These tend to be more industry-specific and have a smaller following, but should not be underestimated. They could be more impactful; remember that follower engagement is more valuable than a large following.
William Grou, the Co-founder of creative agency Willow and Hive said: “Willow and Hive prefer micro-influencers for their authenticity and closeness to their audience. They are often very passive about brand deals so we are more often than not the ones to make the first step.”
Engage, pitch, nurture
I’m sure you’re familiar with both the buyer's journey and marketing funnel . Being successful with an influencer is very similar to being successful with a lead: engage, pitch, nurture.
Start by interacting with your chosen influencer over a long period of time. Just like the buyer’s journey, provide value by contributing to their posts, commenting and liking activity on social media.
If it’s a writer, share their work and tag them in it. This way, you get on their radar and they’ll be more responsive when you eventually reach out. Continue to show your worth all throughout the pitching and nurturing stage.
Not sure where to start?
Don’t worry. Raeleen Kaesehagen, Founder and CEO of Mudputty, an online community to help people find and book classes, activities, and workshops locally, suggests using platforms specifically for sourcing and building relationships with influencers.
“When getting started, a platform allows you to find the people quickly rather than spending hours yourself. I used Tribe, which allowed for Instagram posts. One good feature of Tribe is that influencers submit the post pic and you can choose which ones you like, and only do those. This makes it quick and easy to generate a tonne of content at once.”
When you use a platform, the influencer has already positioned themselves as open to pitches. No need to work on a long nurturing campaign - just shoot them an email.
During that initial contact, remind the influencer what you can offer and why you’d be a great partner. It can’t hurt to sweeten the deal, either. The rise of influencers means that some now expect monetary incentives. However, lots of micro-influencers and bloggers may just appreciate freebies.
Craig Mack, a Social Media and Content Strategist, blogger and influencer at Craig on Toast, said: "Relationship building is best served with a purpose. It's far more effective and important to understand the influencer, their relevance to the brand and the work you want to do together before approaching them.”
So you’ve nailed influencer marketing
You’ve convinced the perfect influencer to work with you. What’s next? Stay in touch. You never just cut all communication, you worked hard to establish that relationship. Continue to interact with them on social and check up every once in a while.
By doing this, if you go for another influencer campaign in the future, you’ll have both a great case study and a go-to person.
Influencer marketing is truly built on personable relationships, it’s a lot like social selling. The fundamentals are the same: add value and influencers should be responsive.