9 Ways to Get a Marketing Influencer to Endorse Your Brand
The avenues of advertising and marketing are constantly changing. In fact, if these “avenues” were made of actual streets Google Maps could barely keep up. However, as more people spend hours of their day consuming social media, partnering with a marketing influencer is proving to be a better way to spend your marketing budget and time than by putting ads in magazines or even paying Facebook directly for sponsored posts to increase traffic. Sometimes it doesn’t even cost you anything except a well-written pitch and some giveaways.
People are naturally skeptical about advertising, but when a football star is seen drinking a specific energy drink on SportsCenter, fans have no problem dropping a few dollars at their nearest gas station to try it. It’s a more subtle way to get people to think, “If Tom Brady drinks it, it must be good,” than producing a commercial that he was clearly paid millions of dollars to appear in. It’s simply more organic, even if it was still orchestrated.
Influencer marketing is essentially word-of-mouth marketing with a megaphone. It’s like Katy Perry posing a selfie on Instagram with the caption, “I love my Covergirl watermelon lipstick,” rather than her saying the same thing as a celebrity endorser on a TV commercial followed by the phrase, “Easy. Breezy. Beautiful. Covergirl.” Something coming from one of her own social media portals feels more authentic and natural and allows consumers to trust it without as much questioning.
According to research collected by Traackr, a company that specializes in Influencer Relationship Marketing and helps businesses find and work with appropriate influencers, “three percent of individuals generate 90 percent of online impact.” Meaning that if you are able to get a small handful of the people that your target market follows and admires to start talking about you or to you, then you will find yourself attracting a wealth of new customers.
Remember, any person, group, brand, or place could potentially be an influencer. Standing next to others of influence is a crucial strategy to increase your authority in your field. Although it may sound intimidating, it turns out that establishing relationships with appropriate marketing influencers is one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to build your brand recognizability. Keep reading for some fool-proof plans to get the conversation started.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Stalk your best customers.
In a perfect world, who is your target market? Think of a few current clients who you wish were a majority of your clients were like. Then take a look through their social media channels. See what they are talking about, what they are liking, and who they are retweeting. Then look at that person’s followers. Do they look more like your ideal target market? Having this influencer endorse you could be the secret ingredient to unlocking that ideal market’s taste buds.
Narrow the list.
Commit to making a list of 20 possible market influencers to start and then dive into your research, finding them on as many platforms as you can. Check out their blogs. Follow and retweet them on Twitter. But also look into what other media outlets they are featured in. They may have recently done an article that was featured on Huffington Post or been interviewed for a podcast on their expertise, which increases their credibility and may be worth more of an investment. Research them as much as you can and put it into a spreadsheet that you update as you learn more about them. Let a week or two go by before contacting them so you are sure they are a good fit for your brand and post new content frequently enough to keep followers engaged. The better you know them before you contact them, the better you can direct your pitch to get them to help you out.
Draft an email that tells them who you are, what you do, and most importantly why you think that they would love your product or service (and should tell others about it). Be direct in your proposal, but don’t make it sound like you expect them to do it. You are still asking them for a favor. Some influencers will ask for money, but others will simply ask to sample the product. To start, go for mid-level influencers, who have a lot of YouTube followers on their vlog or a decent amount of Instagram followers, but aren’t necessarily a celebrity. Going for influencers who have a dedicated following but are still slightly under the radar is the best way to see an impressive ROI.
Did you know that there is such thing as a professional Instagrammer? These are people who are known as high-caliber influencers, who actually paid to go to hotels or exotic locations just to take pictures of where they are. That’s how many active followers they have. While you may not have it in your budget to send your influencers on an all-inclusive vacation, you are still able to engage with them. Tag your ideal influencers in posts, comment on their pictures, and retweet them when you see something that echoes your messaging. You might be surprised by the genuine connections you can make with some pretty high-profile people.
Invite them to be a guest blogger.
It’s great if you have consistent content on your blog that’s written by you, but the more you include others, the farther your reach spans. Draft an email or direct message a potential influence through social media asking them to be a guest blogger on your page. Remember, a little flattery goes a long way, so make sure you reference a recent post and tell them something you liked about it and why you think that your messages or missions align.
Request an interview.
Make it easy for your potential influencer to say yes and take a bulk of the work out of the request for them. By asking to interview them, you are taking away the looming responsibility of them having to draft content or put together something specifically for you on their own time. All they have to do is talk to you on the phone or via podcast for them (and you) to get some extra exposure. Not to mention that most people love to talk about themselves and what they’re passionate about, so this is hardly a chore.
Host a takeover.
Ask your influencer to answer questions on your Twitter account with a specific hashtag for about an hour at a predetermined date and time. Promotion and planning on both sides are crucial if you decide to try this strategy. Set a time about a week in advance and post the times and gist of the takeover to gain followers who love you and new followers who are fans of your influencer. Ensure that you have a content plan and an established voice before handing your handle over to your influencer though. You want to create a buzz, not confuse people.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? If you are a product-based company then send the influencer a nicely packaged group of samples with a handwritten note. If they are social media stars, hopefully they will post on their channels with some kind words if they like it. Also make sure to include relevant hashtags and handles in your letter so they can tag you, giving you props. Since snail mail is a rarity these days, it makes people feel special and thought-of when they receive something.
You can also take this idea in a new direction and do a “mass sampling” to potential and existing customers. A few years ago, Barilla Pasta sent out “Test Kitchen” packages with pastas, sauces, and other products with a note asking them to use the items to host a dinner party. The recipients were asked to submit a photo of their meals. Those photos were then used to create beautiful and authentic print ads that featured real customers. Running a similar campaign can create tons of free and authentic content for you to utilize.
Get a testimonial.
If you do send an influencer samples, then make sure that you record their testimonials or reactions. Monitor their social media channels for a few days and screenshot anything that they post about you. You never know when a high-profile influencer might give you kudos and you can use leverage that for marketing campaigns in the future. In addition, your current customer base should also be considered influencers, simply because they interact with new people everyday, so ask them for what they thought of your service via email after every interaction and post the positive feedback to your site. There is power in numbers so the more testimonials you can get posted anywhere, whether it be on your site, their social media channels, or third-party review websites, the more potential customers you are reaching.
Just like in everyday life, people want to feel understood and engaged with. It’s much easier for a person to connect with another person, rather than connecting with a brand. It’s just like meeting a new person for the first time. The more comfortable that person makes you feel with their genuine personality, the more likely you will want to connect with them again. So do your business a favor and find a few influencers to make the introduction.