Any online promotional strategy should include an influencer marketing piece.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you. – TapInfluence
I personally recommend that you focus on the organic side of this strategy. As a successful business owner, you have an audience that can provide something to the influencer, so paying or hiring someone isn’t necessary. The key is finding a mutual benefit between the two of you.
A Case Study Metaphor: Fitness Guru
Let’s say you are a fitness guru, building your business around online consultations. You have found success through referrals and have modest followings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You’d like to expand your online reach as a way to automate your lead generation process.
You’ve believe influencer marketing can help you achieve this goal. Where do you start? There are a number of parameters to keep in mind when determining who you will reach out to, when, and how.
Who will you reach out to? There are a few rules of thumb when considering the influencers you’re going to engage with as part of your influencer marketing strategy.
- Choose a non-competitor. Yes, your competitors will be the most relevant to your brand, but you don’t want to open that can of worms. Not only may you be perceived as trying to steal audience members from your competitors, you’re shifting the attention of your audience to someone else who offers your services.
- Choose a mid-level influencer. Don’t reach so high that your effort gets lost in a sea of tags and shoutouts. “Internet famous” people are inundated with messages and yours will easily get lost. There are exceptions to this, though, that we will get into another time.
- Choose a related industry professional. It’s important that the person you choose can benefit from your audience and vice versa. While there are situations in which you will simply post something and pray an influencer throws you a bone, it’s ideal to choose someone who will appreciate the additional traffic you are providing him or her.
Influencer marketing can happen anytime, but basing it around a particular article or event will generate the best results.
When someone in your field publishes an article, engages in an interview, or holds an event, he or she is looking to expand business reach. By giving a shoutout to that person in light of that content or event, you are becoming a part of their promotional strategy.
They will appreciate you recognizing their hard work and endorsing it as something others would benefit from.
How do you implement an influencer marketing strategy? You can write a blog on your website that mentions and links to the influencer, offer a shoutout on social media, or create a video that mentions the person or business.
The key is promoting what you do on a social media platform your influencer is a part of. Here are the best platforms for influencer marketing, ranked best to least best:
- Twitter. I LOVE Twitter for influencer marketing. You don’t have to get through any red tape to get to the person or brand you are engaging with and the benefit can be instant. If the brand you are engaging with retweets what you post, you’ve already expanded your reach. If you are engaging around a particular event, make sure you use that event’s hashtag.
- LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn is a B2B platform, you are going to get a lot of bang for your buck when you tag someone else within the news feed. Mention someone within an original blog you write and then post it along with a tag. You can also share content from an influencer on your timeline and give it a little endorsement while tagging the person or brand. This will expand your reach, but it will also nudge someone you are trying to woo into becoming a client or customer.
- Instagram. You can repost someone’s photo on Instagram, comment, or share. If you have a big, relevant following, reposting with their handle will go a long way. If you don’t know how to repost within Instagram, check out repostapp.
- Facebook. The best way to gain traction on Facebook is to share someone else’s post and tag their page when you do. This most taps into the “good karma” category. It’s a good strategy if you’re looking to gain this person or brand as a lead for your business because you’re starting out the relationship by giving them something for nothing.
Finishing Our Case Study
Now that we’ve gone through all of that, let’s finish our case study. Our fitness guru is looking to expand reach to automate lead generation. How might she tap into influencer marketing to do that?
- Find complementary services. Fitness goes hand-in-hand with diet and nutrition. While our guru may offer services around diet plans, she can share recipes from healthy eating brands, articles written about clean eating, or other fitness gurus that work in a different niche. For example, if our fitness guru specializes in yoga, she could share the work of a weightlifter. For everything she shares, she would tag the handle of the brand.
- Tap into challenges. Twitter and Instagram are great platforms to find people engaging in a particular activity because of the use of hashtags. Research the top hashtags for training for a 5K or marathon and comment on the posts of those people. During the race, use the event hashtag to offer encouragement to those participating and give a shoutout to the face facilitator.
- Engage the stars. Once a strong enough following is built (at least 1,000 followers on each platform), our fitness guru can work to engage in conversation with some of the stars in her industry. Comment on their articles, compliment their business, and express admiration!
- Engage the media. A great influencer marketing strategy on Twitter is to engage media that covers your industry. Our guru can retweet articles and reply to tweets to compliment content they’ve created (she’ll want to reference the content so they know she actually read it). Once she’s built a rapport with those media members, she can start pitching them for her own stories.
Well, there you have it, and there is plenty more where that came from! While these are great tips that apply to any business, digging into the customization of each brand and each target will open up even more possibilities.
How have you tapped into influencer marketing? What has it done for your business?