Working with social media influencers (a social media personality that can influence your visibility, brand story, trust-factor and long term sales) will help you reach an audience that you may never have reached before thanks to their blog readers and social media followings. One tweet, post or campaign with an influencer that's a great fit for your business can begin to shift how people perceive you or introduce you to hundreds or even thousands of potential customers. If this marketing strategy seems like a good fit for you, or you're tempted to try it out, be sure you go into the process prepared.
Tin Shingle expert-in-residence Janine Just broke down some must-knows you should study before embarking on a social media influencer campaign, read 'em below and if you're still not sure if you're ready to try this buzz building tactic out, read this when you're done.
Don't Limit Your Hunt to One Niche
When a brand begins to hunt for a social media influencer or two to pitch a marketing campaign to, they often stick to the exact niche their product is in. For instance, a healthy snack brand may look only into health and wellness bloggers or perhaps only food bloggers. While these are both great places to begin, I encourage you to look beyond obvious niches and expand your potential for big buzz. This brand could also tap into yoga/exercise influencers and social media stars, they could connect with travel influencers (great road trip or plane ride snacks) and they could even reach out and connect with "mommy bloggers" and tweeters who could introduce them to thousands of moms who yearn for healthier lunch snack options.
Get creative, but be sure that their audience would truly be interested in what you have to offer or you'll be spending time and money without a powerful return on your investment.
Be Sure Their Audience is "Legit" & Engaged
There's no shame in doing your homework and asking the right questions before paying a social media influencer to join you as a buzz building partner. Here are some things you should know and do before teaming up:
- Review their social media feeds and check out how engaged their audience is. Do they have thousands of followers and minimal likes/interaction/post engagement? This could indicate that they purchased their followers or their followers aren't engaged with what they're saying. If a feed has a lot of "likes", "hearts" and interaction, it could mean great things for a post they make about your business.
- Ask for references! You're hiring someone to do a service, you have every right to hear how others found their work to be.
- Be sure they're not promoting everything but the kitchen sink! If they aren't truly curating their feed and being selective about what they're sharing with their followers, they may not be the best fit for your product and may not be targeting a specific audience, which you need to do to be sure the people who hear about your business are people who would be interested in it!
Remember Most Influencer Work is "Short Lead" & Pitch Them Correctly
Just like there is short lead media, influencers work in a "short lead" space, meaning that unless they're a very, very famous influencer and in demand, you don't need to pitch them for your campaign more than a couple of months in advance. When you pitch them your campaign proposal (or an invitiation to develop one with you) be sure you:
- Include imagery that not only illustrates your brand but that they can use in blog posts as well if necesssary.
- Come up with a clear and catchy subject line when reaching out to them.
- Track everything! Your outreach, who you sent a sample to, who requested product, who is ready to post, etc. An organized outreach system is everything. You can use Excel or Google Docs to do this!
Be Prepared to Track Results Before Your Campaign Starts
You don't want to pay a social media influencer to work with you and have no idea how to track their work. It's important that you have systems in place to track their impact. How can you do that?
- Online impression tracking programs like Mention will help you track where people are talking about your brand and campaign, from hashtags to tweets and beyond.
- Promotion codes for shopping that are tied to specific influencers are a simple way to track who influenced what sale. For instance, an influencer could give their Instagram followers the code Karen30 for 30% off when they're shopping your site and you'll be able to see exactly who is shopping thanks to their referral.