We’ve been perfecting the art of identifying influencers for several years here at PeerIndex. One question we’re often asked by people who have identified influencers using PiQ is “what do I do now?”
It’s a good question. But there’s no single correct answer. It really depends on your particular social strategy and goals and on what kind of influencer you’re dealing with.
So here are a few of the key actions you might want to think about implementing in your influencer marketing strategy.
One of the best ways to get an influencer to notice you is to send them a gift! People have been doing this for years of course: handing out free stuff to people who might talk about it or write about it or even wear it. Think of the ‘goody bag’ that celebrities get when they attend the Oscars for example.
Not featured in the goodie bag
But social media has given regular folk today the possibility of having an enormous reach, on a par with some celebrities. An influencer who is regularly engaging with a tight-knit community is particularly powerful at getting a message out about a new product or service they’ve come across. And if they’ve had a freebie from you they’re (hopefully) likely to talk positively about you.
- If you’re a hotel you might want to leave a chilled bottle of wine with a note in your influential traveller’s room.
- If you’re a publisher why not send out a few free copies ahead of schedule to some keen readers who will boast about having finished it before anyone else to all their followers.
- Or if you’re a data-providing service, perhaps you could select some top journalists or bloggers to grant free access to for their research.
Build a shortlist of super-leads
Ok, so you don’t want to just give your stuff away. That’s understandable. That doesn’t mean finding influencers isn’t helpful.
Try building a shortlist of super-leads: the sort of people you’re particularly interested in selling to because they’ll spread the word extremely fast once they’re bought from you. That way you’re focusing your sales or marketing efforts on the best possible people first, making your job a whole lot easier in the future.
This could be as simple as finding your most influential followers in the right sectors and getting in touch with them directly offering to show them what you’ve got on offer.
With Twitter’s new ads accounts you can now target lists of users. This is why we’ve added the ability to export your lists from PiQ directly on to your Twitter account and to download them as a spreadsheet. Want to target your next add at influential people in the cycling world? Search for cyclists (or ask us about our custom communities built around cycling, running or fitness and athletics) and add the most influential to a list at the click of a button. Now you’re ready to start marketing to a particularly valuable audience.
Hire some advocates
Another option is to find the best people you could possibly have talking about your brand and offer them a fee to do just that.
This is sometimes a tricky one so tread carefully. No one wants to be seen as a ‘sellout’ and if you ask someone to compromise the integrity that they have been building up, that makes them an influencer in the first place, they won’t be happy!
But sometimes it makes sense to offer renumeration to the people who are helping you spread the word about your brand.
Examples of this include hiring a guest blogger to write something on your blog. Make it something that they and their followers would find interesting and that tells people something positive about your brand.
Or you may want to try sponsoring an artist on YouTube, a photographer on Instagram or a musician on SoundCloud – helping them make a living in return for some branding or a mention.
Just be social
After all, it’s called ‘social media’ for a reason! The other three actions may depend on what sort of brand you are or the approach you want to take. But this one is a must for any business or organisation today.
Build relationships with the people that matter, follow them, show an interest, share their content and start conversations. The benefits of having a social presence, even a small one, and engaging regularly with the thought-leaders and big personalities in your area are many.
By engaging with key influencers you’ll build your following and you’ll be filling it with other influential people with similar common interests. Having a following like this is far more useful in the long run than having an eclectic bunch of competition hunters who ‘RTd and followed to win’ your latest campaign.
By sharing your key influencers’ content you’ll be posting stuff the rest of your target audience is interested in and you’ll get their gratitude. Perhaps they’ll retweet some of your content next time as well.
Put together a list of target influencers and start following them all and tweeting their interesting content and joining in their conversations. Measure how this affects your engagement rates and see how the quality of your following improves over time.
There’s so many ways to engage with influencers on social media. We’d love to hear your stories. Let us know if you’ve had success (or disasters!) when reaching out.
Of course if you want to start finding influencers, log on to PiQ and start using our free search tool today.
If you’re interested in getting access to our topic-specific communities or your company’s follower audience. Get in touch with us!