Influencing the Influencer: Do’s and Don’ts
Last year we discussed how positive online reviews can be a great marketing tool for small businesses. Similar to customer reviews, brand advocates on social media (often referred to as “influencers”) help increase brand awareness and also optimize processes, services and products. Using an influencer to promote your brand is not dissimilar from a ringing celebrity endorsement, albeit on a much smaller scale and with a much more authentic, personal tone. So how do you find the right brand advocate? Read on for our do’s and don’ts of influencer outreach.
DO start with what you know.
If you already have a solid social media following, take a look at your current followers. Chances are, fans in your network already have a significant following of their own. Look for individual profiles with a large number of followers—should they spread the word about your brand, it’ll amplify the organic reach.
DON’T forget an incentive.
Once you’ve found someone with a profile you’re interested in, reach out and offer them a free product/experience/trial in exchange for a mention on their social networks. Keep in mind that most influencers will (and should) disclose any type of brand promotion so as to remain a trustworthy source of information to their own audience. Other influencers may also charge a promotional fee—if you’re not willing or unable to cover the cost, don’t be discouraged. Simply thank them for their time and leave them with a small parting gift. You may get a little free publicity out of it anyway!
DO search hashtags.
If your brand is on Twitter or Instagram, a great way to search for influencers is to search for relevant hashtags that pertain to your business. Both platforms tend to filter posts with high engagement rates (likes, favorites, comments, etc.) to the top of search of results.
DON’T forget to be realistic.
When reaching out to a potential brand advocate, it’s important to consider just how large an influencer’s reach is. For a small business, it would be ideal to have a mega-influencer such as a celebrity promote your brand for free, but the chances of that happening are fairly slim. Reach out to people who are experts in their field, even if they have a following of under 5,000 people. Quality > quantity.
One of the best ways to show appreciation for an influencer is by promoting them on your social network. Not only is it the gracious thing to do, but reposting an influencer’s review helps boost their own awareness as well as lets other potential influencers know that you’re open to partnerships.