To connect with key influencers in social media and spark their interest in sharing your brand story, the first step is to know who they are. There are several ways to identify and reach out to bloggers and other influencers that impact your product or service in social channels. And not all of these methods require subscribing to costly social media publishing and monitoring platforms.
Influencer marketing has emerged as a tool that brands can use to leverage the power of influential online consumers in a positive way. Influencer marketing is how brands engage with influential people to increase their products' exposure to a targeted audience. Partnering with influencers enables a company to increase brand awareness, maximize reach and drive customer engagement. It also humanizes your brand by giving it the face of a trusted authority who knows and is already communicating with your target audience.
With consumers' increasing lack of trust in traditional brand advertising, reaching out to key influencers is becoming just as important, if not more important, than conventional tactics. Consumers trust other consumers they can relate to and have similar interests, circumstances or experiences as they do. Consumer influencers can drive conversations, influence opinions and present calls-to-action in a way that brands simply cannot.
Other key ways an influencer can help solidify your market position are by:
- Spreading the word about your brand, in their voice.
- Building new relationships with new audiences
- Partnering in the development of new products that will resonate with what their audience wants/needs
- Creating sharable original content within the context of their audience
- Rewarding you with earned media by becoming a brand advocate
Working with consumer influencers will also enable you to gain additional insight into your targeted audiences' behavior, how they interact with your products and your desired market niche as a whole.
How Do I Find the “Right” Influencers?
Identifying the key influencers within your market(s) can be a daunting prospect. Internally, completing a brand analysis, sharpening up your marketing strategy and understanding your competitive business environment is integral to identifying the influencers that will best engage with your current and prospective audience(s). Some questions that you need to ask yourself are; Who is my audience? How is my brand relevant to them? Why do they purchase my products? How do they interact with my product? What is important to them? Where do they purchase my product? Answering these questions will lead you down the right path to finding and selecting the most effective influencers for your brand.
Recognizing the social channels where your audience(s) prefers to consume content is a next step to discovering your market’s influencers. Facebook and LinkedIn are two powerful tools for finding influencers but depending upon your audience demographics, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or other media sites may be more relevant. Often one influencer will lead you to other influencers through links on their websites or by checking out their followers/friends and contributors.
Key DIY Bloggers:
Three prominent influencers within the DIY Home Improvement category are The Family Handyman, The Money Pit and Ask The Builder. If you check out their personas, you will notice that they each have very different approaches to the category.
The Family Handyman drives an impressive number of traffic to their website, with 4.4 million total average unique monthly views. They also have a healthy Facebook following and number of eNewsletter subscribers.
The Money Pit has a syndicated weekly radio show that airs on over 300 national stations and receives 250k monthly downloads from iTunes’ weekly podcast.
Ask The Builder engages with 49k+ YouTube subscribers with videos that have received over 38 Million views.
Does your product lend itself better to video or radio? Do you think a large list of opt-in email subscribers is the way to go? Your product, the demographic you are targeting and your company’s marketing strategy will determine which influencer(s) to select. Depending upon your budget, you could select all three and secure an extensive reach to a variety of demographics within the DIY Home Improvement category.
Steps To Get Started
- A few of the ways to identify influencers/bloggers who are respected and trusted by your current and/or prospective audience:
- start with a general internet search using strategic key words that align with your market
- search for blogger lists on different reputable news outlets and print publications within your targeted market
- keyword search the social channels that your audience frequents
- Begin to develop a database as you find influencers. Start with a small list and continuously refine it to reflect your marketing goals and identify new opportunities. Keep track of important influencer stats such as website impressions and consumer engagement. Segment your database by audience/market.
- Look for influencers who post regularly, have an engaged audience, have well designed and easy to navigate websites and a writing style that complements your brand's “feel”.
- Some bloggers will have a broad reach in larger, more general markets. Others may have a smaller reach within the larger markets but more influence in a smaller niche market . You have to consider your brand objectives when selecting blog partners. For example, if your brand sells paint brushes to “general craft painters” and you would like to build brand awareness with “fine art painters,” you would select a blogger that is active and respected in the “fine art painter” community, even though that may represent a smaller audience.
- Reach out to the bloggers that you have identified; Tell them who are, the goal of your brand and why you reached out to them. Ask them if they would be interested in partnering with your brand and what types of opportunities they may have available. (e-Newsletters, sponsored articles, social media amplification, etc)
- It is a pay-to-play world and pairing with the right influencer is a win/win situation for both parties. Your brand gets consumer level exposure to the blogger's loyal audience and the blogger can generate meaningful content to followers and be compensated for it. Blogger compensation can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending upon the blogger's perceived worth and influence within the market served. Most rates are negotiable.
- Create a PR calendar to keep track of your different opportunities, markets and campaigns.
- Create landing pages on your website to capture inbound leads that will result from the various influencer campaigns that you launch.
- Monitor campaign engagement through the influencer’s website and social media outlets. Some bloggers have software to provide campaign results.
Social media has evolved into one of the most powerful marketing tools available. With some foresight, market knowledge and the aspiration to develop & nurture relationships with the “right” people, your brand will be well on its way to success.
To learn how we can help you get started on your Influencer Marketing Campaign or if you need ideas on how to build brand relevance in a changing business climate, please feel free to give us a call at 815-847-7538 or email LisaNielsen@heinzeroth.com