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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
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<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.

Check Also

10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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