When you are seeking visibility for a product, brand or website, social media is a clear necessity in your tool belt. Spanning across multiple websites, formats and audiences, the way you structure your website can make all the difference in the world as to your eventual popularity.
Perhaps the easiest way to make the most of social media is connecting with influencers. Think of social media as real estate, whether it is a Twitter profile or a blog. Spaces run by influencers are prime locations, which have the greatest impact on your social portfolio.
Influencers run the social web. From Instagram accounts that have millions of followers to Twitter celebrities accounts, a single share can end up launching you from obscurity to internet fame. Any brand that is looking to grow online dreams of that happening.
Businesses have been going to extreme (and creative) lengths to engage these influencers. Here are some actual tips for building genuine relationships with influencers:
Focus On Building A Relationship
When you catch the eye of an influencer, you aren’t going to connect right away. It will take time to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship, and earn one another’s trust. You have to put in the time and effort to get to that point.
That means focusing on a small list of influencers, not throwing your net out to everyone you can find and hoping you catch a few.
Look for someway to add value. Find when and where you can contribute. The best way to come across as helpful is do the work for them. For example, start looking for a broken link-relationship building.
Get Your Whole Team Working on Relationship Building
Creating community is the team effort. Think of how much exposure to influencers your customer support team may have! A large portion of your customers may be niche micro-celebrities and you don’t even have a clue! Get them treated wrong and you have a reputation crisis. Make them happy and those influencers will share your brand with their audience and come back to give you more exposure again and again.
Involving your teams into the influencer marketing process, educating them on how the relationship building works and why it is important is your top priority these days!
Try Smarp to engage your whole team in the community building process. Smarp helps you bring important resources and news in front of your employees and then get them take action through gamification.
Know What Influencers Can Do For You
There is a basic rule of thumb in social media marketing, and that is knowing your categories of promotion. Consumers are going to make up the majority of your word of mouth marketing. They are the ones who are using your product, they are the ones who are going to be speaking out the most, they are who you have to keep happy. Tip: Sleep with your customer
Next, you have industry leaders, people who are well respected in your field. They are people who consumers trust, regular people who will be listened to and respected. They will make up your biggest list of potential influencers to target.
Try Onalytica to manage those relationships properly and also discover more influencers to connect to.
Finally, you have actual celebrities, be they internet or otherwise. They are great for sponsorship and promotion, getting the word out to a huge number of fans. Unfortunately, they are also the hardest to connect with. You would be better served focusing on industry leaders, and leaving the celebrities to big brands that can offer major advertising deals.
Once you know who you are going to target, it is time to start working on that relationship building. But just knowing you have to build one doesn’t mean you will be successful. It cannot be a one sided process; you have to entice the influencer into wanting to connect.
Be genuine, even when you are speaking on behalf of your brand. A person can’t build a relationship with a company. They can with a face behind that company, with real people. Be a real person, and try to relate on that level.
David Leonhardt has a great recipe for this:
Find something you can connect with on a personal level. For instance, if you are a cat-owner, and 3 of the 10 influencers on your short list tweet about their cats, put those three on your “very short list” and start interacting with them when they tweet about their cats.
Never contact them speaking PR jargon, or making promises or demands. Start a conversation, compliment them and their work, tell them why you think they would be a good fit. Offer them something free, with no strings. Keep in contact, and show an interest in what they regularly post.
Brighton Cormac offers to learn some relationship building lessons from a well-known book:
Dale Carnegie had a lot right when he wrote ‘How to win friends and influence people’ almost 80 years ago. There is so much that can still be taken from this book and for those trying to turn casual site visitors or influencers into loyal members.
If you don’t have time to read the book – the Wikipedia page summarises its main points nicely.
You’ll realize at a glance that it doesn’t take a lot to bring most of this philosophy online and it will help you reap rewards if you do take from it.
Read further: 8 Genuine Ways To Keep In Touch On Social Media
The end goal of any influencer marketing campaign is not to hear back from the influencer once (or twice). It’s to make him/her part of your site community.
Turning influencers into brand ambassadors is what you should be targeting.
Here are a few tools to help do that:
- Commun.it: Don’t miss a single interaction
- Tweetdeck: Manage Twitter lists
- Follow up Then: Never forget to follow up!
- Oktopost: Manage your social inbox
Do you have any tips for engaging influencers? Any case studies of brands doing it right? We would love to hear all about it, so let us know in the comments!