It takes a lot of effort to get your audience to trust you, but you need trust to get conversions. Consumers have changed the way they buy. People don’t just go to a mall to shop, where they can pick up and really get a feel for the quality of a product, how it looks, how it feels, and how it works. People buy online. They rely on other user reviews to learn more about products. More than that, they rely on the thoughts of others who know more than they do.
Influencers have already built trust with their followers. People listen and act on what they say. Until you build trust with your own audience, these influencers can play a huge role in helping you to meet your business goals. You have to do it correctly.
Set Your Goals
Before you begin, set clear, detailed goals for your campaign. Why are you doing this? Are you just trying to create a connection, or are you looking for a partnership or promotion? Are you trying to become an online influencer yourself? Maybe you want all of those, but for right now, it’s best to narrow it down and figure out exactly what you want to get out of this. Set one detailed goal, and let the rest go (for now).
Figuring this out now is important for two very important reasons. The first is that your goals will dictate which influencers are going to best be able to help you meet them. The second reason is that your strategy is based on your goals. If you don’t have a defined goal for this task, you aren’t going to get definite results, either.
Find Your Influencers
Now that you know what you want, who is going to help you get there? Which influencers matter to your target audience? If you’re not sure, do a hashtag search for terms relevant to your niche, and see who is a part of the conversation, and, better yet, who is leading the conversation. Start writing down names and checking out their social profiles and website. Who is their audience? Who are they connecting with? If their audience aligns with yours, they’re probably a good fit. Remove anyone who doesn’t fit from your list.
Create Your Strategy
Create your plan for approaching influencers. The key is to offer value and to be professional. If you have a joint connection, that’s perfect. If not, then you need to make sure that you have something to offer in return.
Also, keep it authentic. Influencers have people pitching to them all of the time. They know the drill. Leave the marketing to speak behind, and make sure your strategy is true to your brand, your products, and who you are as a person.
Engage And Interact
Reach out to your chosen influencers. Consider this the courtship period. Your goal here is to support them, add value, and basically introduce yourself as someone who might be worth their attention. Just remember, your goal here is to be engaging, not scary. Read and comment on blog posts, share and respond to their social media posts, and get involved in the conversation. Get to know them before you approach them, and let them get to know you, too.
Take some time to get to know them. Be supportive. Take part in the conversations they’re having, and be active within their circles. More than that, as they are starting to see your name pop up here or there, make sure that you’re publishing great content, that you’re engaged and interacting with your own audience, and that you’re really showcasing what you do. If they click on your Twitter feed or website, you want them to be really impressed with what they find. Make a great impression!
Pitch Your Value
Now that you know them, and they should at least recognize you, it’s time to reach out. Present your pitch in a way that is mutually beneficial. Most importantly, remember that influencers are people, too. If you are selling your pitch, for example, tell the influencer they will get more Instagram followers because you are interested in doing a product giveaway contest based on shares, likes, and follows. Approach them as a colleague, or as a friend. And remember that their purpose isn’t to promote your product or service. They’re looking for meaningful ways to share value with their audience. Show that you can provide value, make it beneficial for them and their audience, and be as genuine as possible.
Measure Your Results
How well did your campaign work? Did you get the results you were hoping for? Look at how influencers responded to your pitch and look for areas you could improve on for next time. If they agreed to help, measure your results, too. Use Google Analytics or similar tools to see how your partnership affected your bottom line.
Revise and Improve Your Strategy
If things didn’t work out exactly as you’d hoped, take the time to sit down and figure out why. Even expert marketers can mess up; it doesn’t mean that you, or your business, isn’t good enough. It might mean that it wasn’t the right time for the influencer, or that while your product is good, your approach might need more finesse.
Pick another influencer or two from your list, and try again, making improvements and changes where necessary. Engage for a longer period of time before the pitch. Do some A/B testing on your approach.
Most importantly, don’t burn bridges. If your first few influencers aren’t interested, keep engaging with them. Show value. And keep working on building your own influence tribe of followers. As your own circle of influence grows, other influencers will be more likely to respond positively to your interest in creating partnerships and opportunities to share value.
Originally posted 2018-06-15 00:19:29.