Social media timelines can feel flooded with paid advertisements these days and many consumers are beginning to block out the artfully crafted ads brands work diligently to create. While paid advertisement remains to be an effective digital marketing tool, many companies are learning that influencer marketing could be the wave of the future for digital marketing in 2017. We’ve seen big name celebrities cash in as influencers by promoting products and brands but don’t think you have to catch the attention of a pop star to get in on the influencer marketing game. Influencer marketing occurs when a brand partners with any trusted content producer with a dedicated following, this includes bloggers, online groups, and popular social media users. Over 90% of your target audience would act on a word-of-mouth recommendation from a source they trust above a paid advertisement so it may be time to create an influencer marketing strategy to reach your goals.
“Over 90% of your target audience would act on a word-of-mouth recommendation from a source they trust above a paid advertisement”
Not sure how to get started? You are definitely not alone. Here are some great tips to jumpstart your search for an influential blogger to partner with and boost your brand.
Finding Your Influencer
Before you begin your search, it’s important to enter the arena with a wish list for your ideal influencer. One of the biggest pitfalls of influencer marketing is pairing with an influencer whose style clashes with your brand. Think about the impression you aim to make on your audience and use that as a springboard when reviewing potential bloggers. You want your influencer’s audience to feel like they are receiving genuine content so partner with a blogger who compliments your style. BuzzStream is a great tool where you can search by your specific blogger criteria and keep track of the influencers you’re interested in contacting. When researching bloggers, it can be tempting to go for those with the highest number of followers but focus on quality over quantity. Compare the total number of followers to the number of engaged users who are commenting and sharing regularly. The more active the audience, the more likely your content will be effective in reaching your target.
“When researching bloggers, it can be tempting to go for those with the highest number of followers but focus on quality over quantity.”
Contacting Your Influencer
This can be tricky because many influencers receive several partnership requests and you want to make an impactful first impression to help you stand out from the crowd. Before you make contact, show them you are interested in the content they have to offer. Follow their blog, share their content on your pages and comment on their articles to let them know you’re listening. You can even offer them an opportunity to be featured on your blog or social pages to help them increase exposure and followers. Once you’ve broken the ice, reach out with a personalized message that directly addresses why you think their blog is the right place for your content. Approach them with suggestions for content strategy in place, so they have an idea of what will be required of them up front. The message should represent what type of communication the blogger should expect from you in this partnership but keep it short and to the point. Lengthy messages about your plan can come after the partnership has been agreed upon.
“Almost 40% of influencer bloggers say the biggest mistake brands make when partnering with them is placing too many restrictive guidelines on the content they produce”
Devising a Strategy
Now that your blogger has said yes (Yay!) it’s time to collaborate on a strategy that meets both your needs. Every blogger is different so don’t be surprised to find yourself utilizing influencer content marketing in unique ways if you’re working with more than one influencer. One of the most effective influencer marketing strategies is to have your blogger create original content for your brand. These articles are produced in the blogger’s natural tone and style already proven to grab their followers attention. Almost 40% of influencer bloggers say the biggest mistake brands make when partnering with them is placing too many restrictive guidelines on the content they produce, this is why your initial search for influencers is essential. Choose bloggers who already match the tone and style you like so it’s easier to trust them to produce content for your brand. Be flexible, remember, influencer marketing is all about reaching out to your target market in fresh and exciting ways so don’t be afraid to try a new approach with each blogger you work with.