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Build Social Relationships With Influencer Marketing

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The main goal of online marketing, and any marketing for that matter, is to drive people to take action. Whether it’s buying a product, sharing content, attending an event or any other action, companies are always striving to get consumers to interact.

Jump to the Influencer Marketing Infographic.

You can do that through great copywriting, clever advertising and plenty of other proven strategies. But one of most effective ways to get an audience to take action is through influencer marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

An influencer is someone who has an active following and can move their followers to take action. This could be through their blog, social media, a YouTube account, email list or any other platform that gives them the ability to reach people.

Influencer marketing involves connecting with influencers to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

Some of the benefits companies get from influencers are:

  • More credibility
  • Access to a larger audience
  • User generated content
  • Social influence
  • New leads and customers

Instead of having to sell your brand to consumers, influencers become the friend that introduces you to their inner circle.

The benefits influencers get depends on the relationship, but they could include:

  • Free products or services
  • Free products or services to give away to their audience
  • Monetary compensation
  • A sponsorship
  • Exposure to your brand’s audience

All parties benefit from influencer marketing, which is what makes it so powerful.

Why Influencer Marketing?

Tomoson conducted a study to see the potential value of influencer marketing. Some of the key findings included:

  • Businesses make $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.
  • Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing method to acquire new customers.
  • Influencer marketing is the most cost-effective customer acquisition method.
  • 51% of marketers acquire better customers through influencer marketing.
  • 50% of marketers use influencer marketing to generate leads and sales.
  • Blogging is the top platform for influencer marketing.
  • 59% of marketers plan to increase their budgets for influencer marketing.

As you can see, not only is influencer marketing effective, but it’s on the rise. The question is, how do you get started?

What Makes A Good Influencer?

The first step is identifying your influencers. Just because someone has a following doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for your brand. Look beyond the number of followers on Twitter or likes on their Facebook page. You want to know who their followers are and match that against your target demographic. You’ll also have to consider the influencer themselves. Is he or she the type of person you want to be associated with your brand?

Here are some of the key traits of a good influencer:

  • Authentic: Good influencers genuinely believe in your brand and what you stand for. That authenticity shines through when they mention you in blog posts or Tweets, which connects with their audience.
  • Active: How often do they publish content on social media or on their website? The best influencers are constantly putting out content so they stay fresh in their audience’s mind.
  • Engaging: When people mention them on social media, do they reply? When an influencer frequently has conversations with their audience, it shows that people are interested in what they’re saying, which will benefit your brand.
  • Expertise: Getting a recommendation from Dr. Oz carries a lot more weight than a recommendation from someone with no experience in the health field. Part of the makeup of an influencer is being an authority figure. You want to work with influencers that people within your industry respect and look up to.
  • Leadership: A lot of social media users tend to jump on bandwagons and follow trends. A good influencer is someone that can get topics trending instead of just following what everyone does.

It can be helpful to look for niche influencers. These are people within a subgroup of your industry. For instance, if your company sells toys designed to stimulate children’s minds, your first thought might be to find mommy bloggers that have influence. However, you could drill down even deeper to look for mommy bloggers who have children with learning disabilities. The more targeted your influencers are, the higher quality your leads will be.

Where to Find Influencers

Now that you know what to look for, the next question is where should you look? There are blogs, networking events and plenty of other ways to find influencers. But social media is your best bet.

Influencers gravitate to social media because it allows them to connect with their audience and is generally the “hub” they conduct most of their activities from. There are a few different ways you can find influencers on social media and ensure you have the best outreach as possible.

A great way to find influencers is through Buzzsumo. Within this, you can start a search for keywords relevant to your industry or company. The tool will then show you content that has been highly shared on social media containing the keywords you enter. Alternatively, you could do a search for a popular blog post from one of your competitors. For our demo purposes, we did a search for “children learning disabilities” and found this post that seems relevant.

Finding Influencers

Then, click on View Sharers. This will show you the people who have shared the post on Twitter.

Finding Influencers 2

There are a few different people on this list that could be influencers. Once you’ve narrowed your list, start going through each individual Twitter page. Some of the things you want to look for are:

  • How often they Tweet
  • What they Tweet about
  • How much engagement their Tweets receive

Also look for the key influencer traits we discussed earlier.

Another method you can use to find influencers is by looking at your current followers. By using Sprout Social’s Trends Report, you can find out which Twitter users are engaging with you the most. If they’re already advocates for your brand, then taking the step to acknowledge them and work together will be much easier. There’s a chance that influencers have been right under your nose the entire time, but you just didn’t notice.

Twitter Trends Report - See People and Brands

Last but not least, you can also do manual searches within different social networks. With this approach, look within groups instead of the entire social network. For instance, you might look at popular Facebook Groups or Google+ Communities. See who the top contributors are within these smaller niche groups to spot influencers.

Use a spreadsheet or CRM software to keep track of everyone you’ve found. For each person, you should record their:

  • Name
  • Social media profiles
  • Website
  • Contact information (email works best)
  • A brief bio of who they are

After you’ve put your list together, the next step is to start the outreach step of influencer marketing.

Influencer Outreach

Reaching out to influencers is one of the most important steps of this process. One poorly worded email and you could completely miss out on a big opportunity.

First, you’ll want to define a specific reason for working with influencers. Here are some of the most common ways that brands work with influencers:

  • Sponsorship
  • Guest blogging
  • Affiliates
  • Content collaboration
  • Reviews
  • Giveaways

Once you know what type of relationship you want to build, you can start cultivating it. There are two main approaches you can use:

  1. The Direct Approach: Directly ask to work with influencers.
  2. The Slow and Steady Approach: Develop a relationship first, and progress into working together.

A lot of experts recommend option number two. However, the first option can be just as effective and provides quicker results.

The Direct Approach

The first strategy is contacting influencers and offering them the opportunity to be an affiliate, collaborate on content or work together on any other project you have in mind.

Create an email template to use to contact people. The template should describe a little bit about your company, why you’re emailing the potential influencer and how partnering with your brand will benefit them as well. End the email with a call to action so they know what to do next. If you’re offering them an opportunity to guest post for instance, you could finish the email by asking them to submit some potential topics they’d like to write about.

The template is going to function as a general guideline for your emails, and you should customize it for each person. Explain why you’re interested in working with the person and what you’re looking for them to bring to the table.

Advantages of the direct approach:

  • You get results quicker.
  • There is less back and forth between your company and the influencer.
  • The process is much easier to manage.

Disadvantages of the direct approach:

  • Your emails can be perceived as spam since they’re unsolicited.
  • You’ll have a lower success rate.

The  Slow and Steady Approach

The first technique is quicker, but your success rate will likely be lower. Remember, influencers are contacted all the time by people who want to market to their audience, so they’re selective about who they work with. That’s why the slow and steady approach may be better for certain brands.

Instead of directly emailing influencers with your ideas, start by engaging with them on social media or through their website first. Reply to some of their Tweets or leave comments on their latest blog posts. This way they’ll start to become more familiar with your company. It will also show influencers that you follow them and appreciate what they do.

After a couple of weeks of engaging, open up the doors to start working with them. This could be as simple as sending out an email expressing interest in working together or even offering to send them some free products to get exposure for your brand.

Advantages of the slow and steady approach:

  • You’ll have a higher success rate.
  • It’s a more organic approach.
  • You can get natural exposure, even if you don’t officially work with the influencer.
  • Influencers will be more excited to work with you because they’re familiar with your brand.

Disadvantages of the slow and steady approach:

  • It takes longer to get influencers on board.
  • Your efforts could go unnoticed.

You can try a combination of both techniques to see which gives you the best results. Focus on building long-term relationships instead of being transactional.

Start Connecting!
The best part about influencer marketing is it’s easy to get the ball rolling. To refresh, here’s a simple rundown of the process: Define what you want to accomplish through influencer marketing
Decide how you want to work with influencers (guest blogging, review, content collaboration etc.)
Identify influencers that fit your brand
Reach out to influencers through the Direct or Slow and Steady approach Tap into the strategy that’s being used by top brands and start getting more exposure for your company! influencer marketing infographic
Embed This Infographic:
<p><strong>"<a href=’http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-managers/’>Influencer Marketing Infographic</a>" by Sprout Social</strong><br /><br /><img src=’http://sproutsocial.com/insights/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/influencer-marketing-infographic.png’ alt=’Build Social Relationships With Influencer Marketing’ width=’640′ border=’0′ /></p>
This post Build Social Relationships With Influencer Marketing originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Common SEO Mistakes

Common SEO Mistakes

Even the most seasoned content marketers make mistakes. In the world of SEO-driven content, with constant algorithm tweaks and changing search patterns, it’s nearly unavoidable. However, those same mistakes can often lead to discoveries that enable even better content performance.

The key is being able to recognize those easy-to-fix SEO mistakes and address them. As a result, your content will become an optimized, integrated network of metaphorical highways, leading searchers to best-answer content in a strategic and purposeful way.

So, what are the most common SEO mistakes, and how can they be addressed? Below, I’ve singled out the ‘usual suspects’ along with guidance on how to fix them while setting yourself up for long-term SEO success.

SEO Mistake #1 - Choosing Target Keywords Based on Volume vs. Relevance

How Keywords Affect Content Marketers: Great content isn't great unless people see it. But when content marketers overemphasize high-volume keywords, they miss out on meaningful engagement.

It’s tempting to plug into your keyword research tool of choice and select keywords with the highest search volume as your focuses for new content. But if the content you’re creating doesn’t match the search intent for that high-volume keyword, it’s unlikely to perform to your expectations.

The Fix: Google it! All jokes aside, evaluating the first ten search results for your target keywords can help you understand what searchers are trying to find, and what supporting content you should provide to truly be the best answer for that query.

While you’re analyzing those top results, pay attention to key factors that will shape your content creation and promotion strategy:

  1. What type of information is NOT included in top content, but is topically related? This can help you inform how you differentiate your content.
  2. What’s the content demand for that keyword? For example, are mostly top of funnel blog posts ranking, or are you seeing mostly product or service pages?
  3. How many backlinks and referring domains are pointing to the top search results? This can help you understand how competitive the first page of results is, and whether or not ongoing link building should be part of your content promotion strategy.
  4. How long is the top-ranking content for that keyword? This will help you determine ideal content length for your own post.

SEO Mistake #2 - Targeting the Same Keyword with Multiple Pages or Posts

How Same-Topic Targeting Affects Content Marketers: Pressure to create comprehensive content on a topic can actually result in dilution within search.

The conventional wisdom that more is better doesn’t apply universally — especially when it comes to SEO-driven content. Creating multiple pieces of content that target the exact same keyword is a surefire way to stand in your own way of success. There’s enough competition out there for B2B marketers without having to compete with your own content.

For example, a B2B technology company that wants to rank for B2B software consulting should optimize their service page for that term based on what is currently being served in search results. But, if they also create a series of blogs or resources that are targeting that specific term, search engine bots will be confused about which page is the best answer for that query. This could result in none of the content appearing in the top 10 results, in favor of competing sites with a more clear ‘answer’ to that query.

The Fix: Determine which of your pages or posts is the best answer for that particular query by analyzing ranking and analytics data. Which post or page sees the greatest amount of engaged organic traffic for your target keyword, and most closely matches the associated search intent?

Once you’ve determined your target page, it’s time to evaluate the remaining content targeting that keyword. Look for opportunities to:

  1. Remove or prune low-value or outdated content. Is there a blog post full of stats from 2009 that’s hindering your priority page’s chances of ranking? It might be time to consider removing that post and implementing the proper redirects.
  2. Optimize existing content for related, but different, keyword targets. For example, if you have a priority post for Chocolate Chip Cookies, and another post that more closely relates to ‘Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies’, consider optimizing that post for the latter and implementing internal links back to your priority cookies post.
  3. Combine closely related content. For example, if you have several blog posts around your targeted keyword(s), consider combining those posts into a longer, more robust piece of content.

SEO Mistake #3 - Ignoring Internal Link Structure

How Internal Linking Affects Content Marketers: Links are like electricity on the web, lighting up content for people and search engines alike.

Content is discovered by links. Your site’s internal linking structure tells bots (and users) which pages are most important, and which pages are most relevant to specific keywords. If you link to several pages from the same anchor text, for example, there will be some confusion about which page is truly ‘about’ that topic. Other times, you could have pages or posts on your site that are orphaned, with no internal links directing users or bots their way. This can confuse your site users, search engine bots, and even your own team. Confusion is not a ranking factor!

The Fix: Make sure you develop and continue to update your site’s keyword map. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet that lists your page’s URL and associated target keyword(s). This keyword map will help you determine what anchor text should be used to link to your target pages.

Next, conduct a site audit to determine:

  1. If there are orphaned pages that need internal links
  2. If you are linking to multiple pages with the same keyword-rich anchor text
  3. Where there are opportunities to create additional supporting content
  4. Where you might have opportunities to reduce and prune existing supporting content

Next, you’re going to want to crawl your site to find any orphaned pages. Then, map those into your overall keyword strategy and implement internal links.

SEO Mistake #4 - Ignoring Data from Other Digital Tactics

How Marketing Data Affects Content Marketers: Inspiration often drives ideation for many content marketers, but data drives optimization for ideal content performance. Marketing performance data can provide both.

Any data you can collect about how your audience engages with your content has the potential to be an SEO gold mine. For example, analyzing the keywords from your paid search campaigns can give you insight into which keywords are your best converters, and what content best suits searchers for those terms. Social posts that get the greatest amount of engagement can tell you which topics your audience is most interested in. Ignoring data from your other marketing and sales channels means missing out on an opportunity to better engage your prospects.

The Fix: Meet with different teams or departments to find out what kind of content performs best on their channels. Look at the data each platform or channel provides and compare that with your site analytics data for a full picture. And, be sure to share your channel performance data with the rest of your marketing team. The more information available related to content and marketing performance, the better equipped you are to optimize.

SEO Mistake #5 - Giving Up

How Persistence Affects Content Marketers: Content performance in search is a long game and persistence is essential for success.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes a lack of results can feel demoralizing, but giving up is simply not an option. You wouldn’t stop building your house just because the nearest lumber yard ran out of wood, right? You’d find another lumber yard and keep plugging along.

The Fix: Take a step back. Re-evaluate the search landscape, your competitor’s organic presence, and your site’s overall health. Being able to remove yourself from the frustration can help you find opportunities you may have missed and additional whitespace to tackle.

Next, seek out advice from other SEOs. Ask questions on social media, in specific groups or forums, or send a question to your favorite SEO blog. If budget permits, enlist the help of a consultant or SEO agency that can help you break through your roadblocks.

Finally, we have two big SEO bummers that are tougher to fix, but absolutely necessary to address.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Migrating Your Site with No SEO Plan

How Migrating Without a Plan Affects Content Marketers: A bad migration can effectively undo your hard work, reducing content visibility and creating more user friction.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of SEOs cringing around the globe. A botched site migration can wreak havoc on your organic positioning and torpedo your results. It can take months, even years to recuperate organic visibility to pre-migration levels.

The Fix: Always, always consult your in-house SEO team or SEO agency when you’re considering a website migration. Before you move forward, it’s imperative you have a plan for technical, on-page, and off-page factors.

If you’ve already migrated your site and have experienced a loss of organic traffic and rankings, start with a site audit. Check for the basics, like whether or not your site is being indexed, first. Then start to evaluate technical factors like broken links, crawl errors, and duplicate content.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Recovering from a site migration is a challenge for even the best of SEOs, and sometimes those big challenges call for a little teamwork.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Not Optimizing for Mobile

How Not Optimizing for Mobile Affects Content Marketers: Even the greatest content can’t stand up to a bad mobile experience. Users will bounce, reducing engagement and sending negative signals to search engines.

Mobile accounts for about half of web traffic worldwide. Knowing this, in March 2018 Google started migrating sites to mobile-first indexing. Providing a seamless mobile experience is no longer optional, especially when you’re living in the wild world of search.

Sites that didn’t properly prepare for this can and will likely see some declines in organic search traffic and rankings as a result. And, as more sites follow mobile best practices, more users will notice and become frustrated by poor mobile experiences. This leads to declines in other pivotal ranking factors like on-page engagement. In short, if not properly addressed, a poor mobile experience can wreak havoc on your search visibility.

The Fix: The first thing to do is to conduct a mobile audit on your site. Understanding your site’s mobile performance is step one toward making improvements. Look for things like:

  1. Mobile site speed. A couple great tools for this are Google Page Speed Insights and Pingdom. These tools can tell you where to look for issues like slow-loading code, images that aren’t optimized, and other technical issues.
  2. Mobile experience. Visit your site on your phone. Ask someone who doesn’t use your site regularly to do the same. Record your experience, take notes on where you get stuck and why. Click on everything. Turn your phone into horizontal mode. Try to think of every single way a user could browse your site. And, don’t forget to try a site search on mobile.
  3. Look at mobile analytics. This will tell you key metrics like mobile bounce rate, mobile time on page and pages per session.

These steps will help you build a hypothesis to test against. Is your mobile bounce rate crazy high? Does your site take a long time to load? Is your time on page way out of line with desktop traffic? Then, use A/B testing to root out the discrepancy. Use these same metrics to test if the fix is working. Then, repeat with another element.

So, What Does This All Mean for You?

Ultimately, following SEO best practices as a content marketer can reduce performance-related headaches and set you up for long-term success.

For example, when Innovatech Labs decided it was time to make major changes to their website, they worked with our team at TopRank Marketing to implement a safe website transition strategy, minimizing their risk of reduced content visibility on Google. This assessment involved avoiding many of the big risks mentioned above, including linking, use of data and keyword research which allowed us to act quickly post-migration to combat organic traffic declines. The result? Double- and triple-digit increases in organic traffic (and increased conversions, too!).

A best-answer content strategy focused on creating content with the most relevance to their audience was the ticket to better marketing performance for a martech SaaS company. Working with the team at TopRank Marketing, long-tail and hyper-relevant keywords were researched for a comprehensive content strategy to help the brand content become the best answer for those queries. The “best answer” approach and topics were applied across organic and paid efforts. As a result, the volume of both paid and organic MQLs increased, leading to better content performance and spontaneous proclamations of love from the client’s sales team.

Fixing these big SEO mistakes aren’t only for short-term wins. Our longtime partner Antea Group USA has achieved amazing triple-digit growth over three years by avoiding these big mistakes and implementing an ongoing commitment to SEO-driven, best answer content.

As I mentioned earlier, even the most experienced content marketers can make these common SEO mistakes. But, with the right SEO strategy driven by diligent execution and monitoring of results, you can get back on track. The key is to be intentional about your site’s architecture, as well as the content you create, and to never, ever give up.

Still feeling stuck? Or maybe your team doesn’t have the resources to take on this battle alone? Check out our SEO services, tweet us your thoughts @toprank, or drop me a line in the comments. We are here to help!

The post 5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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