Influencer Marketing: Finding & Contacting Influencers

Did you know that 57% of consumers have made a purchase based solely on the recommendation of a digital influencer?

An impressive figure that proves that word-of-mouth remains one of the most valuable forms of marketing. Potential customers are far more likely to be receptive to recommendations from a trusted person they respect, rather than advertisements or other corporate messages.

Of course, the concept of the influencers is not new, and many brands have been using it for decades. But word-of-mouth now extends far beyond recommendations from friends and family members.

The advent of social media, and the rise of new platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, has led to a huge increase in the reach of influencers.

This is part of the reason why influencer marketing has become vital for any consumer-facing brand in 2018.

 

What are influencers and influencer marketing?

Before getting into the heart of the matter, let’s start at the beginning, with a small definition of the influencer and influencer marketing:

  • An influencer is simply someone who has influence over others. Influence is defined as the ability to affect the character, development or behavior of someone or something.
  • Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using online leaders to get your brand’s message out to the marketplace. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you must instead inspire/hire/pay a digital influencer to increase your awareness, and spread the word.

Influencer marketing often goes hand-in-hand with two other forms of marketing:

  • Social marketing: most influencer campaigns are a sort of social media component, through which influencers spread the word via their personal accounts.
  • Content marketing: many influencer campaigns include content created specifically for the influencer, or created by the influencer themselves.

To give just one example, we could mention DJ Khaled. If there is someone who embodies the concept of influencer, it is him! With his 6 million Snapchat and Instagram followers, The Washington Post even named him “The King of Snapchat”.

 

#GRATEUL #BEATS @beatsbydre

Une publication partagée par DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) le

 

Why incorporate influencer marketing into your strategy?

It goes without saying that building relationships with well-known bloggers and other influencers allows you to capture a larger audience and create new business opportunities. For three main reasons:

  • Some influencers are more popular than some “traditional” celebrities, especially among millenials who see them as peers. Ordinary people have actually become “celebrities” online, especially in certain market segments like beauty, fashion, travel or video games. According to a recent study, 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product endorsed by a blogger, than by a “traditional” celebrity.
  • Consumers are wary of paid ads: whether it’s traditional media or digital media, people still view ads with skepticism. In 2018, consumers prefer conversation over advertising!
  • Influencer marketing offers a cost-effective way to connect with a target audience: according to a recent study, 22% of marketers surveyed said influencer marketing is the most cost-effective PR tool, along with email marketing.

In summary, influencers can really become your best and most effective brand ambassadors. Having them on your side will help your brand gain credibility through their recommendations.

 

How do you incorporate influencer marketing into your strategy?

In many cases, you’ll use influencer marketing to extend the reach of your brand message. You’ll work with influencers to create or support the content they post on their own social media accounts to connect with their loyal followers.

In the example below, travel blogger Bruno Maltor is organizing an original event in partnership with the AccorHotels group.

 

 

Another way is to recruit influencers to participate in the content you share or post on your own accounts, as the fashion brand Topshop regularly does by inviting bloggers to choose and suggest looks from its collections.

 

Exemple partenariat marque influenceur

 

Find & contact the right influencer

Targeting the right audience

A common mistake brands and agencies make is to first decide what type of influencer they want to work with.

Instead, start by focusing on the audience you want to target, rather than the influencers themselves!

Who are you trying to reach and influence? What is the target market for your message? Your influencer campaign can’t target several distinct audiences at once.

Whatever your goals are, they must absolutely align with the needs of the audience you are trying to influence. This may seem logical, but it’s always good to remember it. You can’t build a campaign the same way if you’re targeting 30-somethings looking to buy their first home, or if you’re targeting millennials looking to travel on a budget.

So before you set out to find the perfect influencer, you need to have a clear understanding of your goals and your audience.

To do this, it is important to take a data-driven approach. A tool like Woopra can help you. This platform collects data from your website’s customers and visitors, and provides you with detailed information about them. Using this data, you can create a profile of your website’s most engaged customers, users and visitors to find more.

 

Identifying influencers

Let’s first divide influencers into four categories, each of which can have different levels of influence:

  • Famous influencers: these social media stars have usually turned their name into a real brand, and have a large “following.” They can deliver a message on a large scale and are excellent to use as the face of a campaign.
  • High quality content creators: these high volume content producers have attracted a large audience that they have gotten to know over the course of their posts. This type of influencer knows how to create content for a certain type of audience and has the data to understand what works and what doesn’t.
  • Buzz builders and promoters: some are bloggers with a wide reach, while others know how to put out the right content to help your brand get the attention you are looking for. They will help you expand your outreach efforts with little collaboration.
  • Brand advocates and employees: these ambassadors know and love your brand. So they are naturally willing to talk about what you do. Invite them to share and create content!

Regardless of the profile of the targeted influencer, the key requirement for true influence is trust. In other words, your audience must respect the opinion of the influencers you partner with. Without the trust component, any lift will be superficial and you will struggle to see a tangible impact on your business.

To ensure that the trust factor is already present, you can find thought leaders and opinion leaders that your audience seeks out as a source of information. These influencers are already powerful people, so partnerships with them can lead to real impact.

How to proceed and where to start?

It may be worthwhile to start your search for the perfect influencer, by checking your existing brand advocates. For example, you can use Google Alerts to track mentions of keywords related to your brand. This free service is very useful as it allows you to receive an email notification every time someone posts content about your business or market.

In addition, you can search for relevant influencers through hashtags or by typing keywords into the search engines of major social networks: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. Then look at the profiles of people who use them, to find those who contribute to conversations around relevant topics.

If one of them meets your criteria for influence, you won’t be able to find a better influencer! It will never be easier than approaching someone who has already taken the initiative to advocate and promote your brand.

Finally, if your budget allows, consider investing in advanced influencer marketing solutions. These tools can help you identify people with large, engaged networks who are talking about topics of interest to your audience:

  • Traackr: This tool helps you identify the top influencers in any niche conversation, and track their content. The analysis is based on relevance, geo-targeting and multilingual search, and also helps reveal emerging influencers in your communities.
  • Hootsuite: you can use Hootsuite search feeds to discover social network influencers by monitoring conversations relevant to your industry.
  • SocialMention: As the name suggests, this tool allows you to track mentions of your brand on various social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but also on blogs, forums and other community sites.
  • Followerwonk: This tool from Moz makes it easy to find influencers on Twitter by topic and location. Use it to create a list of potential influencers to engage and partner with.
  • Buzzsumo: This tool gives you a list of trending articles and those that get a lot of shares. It can be used to search for the most popular content around a keyword to discover the top users. Use the “Influencers” feature to reveal potential targets based on a certain keyword.
  • Buzzstream: with this tool you can get contact information about content development on a specific topic and, most importantly, identify influencers by getting their SEO and social media statistics.

 

See also our best SEO tools for natural search

 

Once you’ve identified a set of influencers, you can add them to a Twitter list and save it as a feed to easily track what they share and who they engage with.

 

Selecting influencers

Before deciding whether an association with an influencer can be beneficial to you, you will need to consider 3 important points:

  • Relevance: the influencer shares content and a following that is relevant to your business and the market segment you want to target.
  • Reach: the number of people you could reach through the influencer’s follower base that will bring value to your business.
  • Resonance: the potential for engagement that the influencer can create with an audience that is both valuable and relevant to your brand.

The key to any successful influencer marketing campaign is to create content that is compelling to the influencer’s audience, authentic and aligns with your goals.

Logically enough, your choice of influencer should be someone who produces content with a similar look and feel to your business.

Beyond a question of consistency, this will also make it much easier for your brand and the influencer to share, exchange and collaborate without creating a messy feeling.

On the other hand, it is undeniable that an influencer must have a significant audience to be worthy of your time and efforts. However, having a large number of followers is not a sufficient criteria.

Engagement is also a very important indicator. To what extent does the influencer’s content trigger interactions? Does the influencer trigger ongoing conversations with their followers? Do they perceive him as trustworthy? What is the rate of comments, shares, retweets from followers, etc.? Monitor the number of views, likes, comments, and shares, all from the specific segments you are trying to reach.

Indeed, a huge number of followers is meaningless if they don’t pay attention to posts, while a small number of followers can be especially powerful in a niche area where the influencer is a recognized leader.

In fact, a study recently revealed that partnering with “micro-influencers” can offer a much higher return on investment than trying to hook a media celebrity. With a follower count between 1,000 and 10,000, micro-influencers often have deeper engagement and therefore real influence on their communities.

It’s also best to go with an influencer who knows your industry well. Unlike reach and engagement rate, which can be measured automatically, an influencer’s expertise requires careful consideration of their content.

You can also select influencers based on certain aspects:

  • Semrush ranking
  • MozRank
  • Average comments per article
  • Domain authority
  • Number of articles published per week on the site/blog
  • Ranking per page of the site/blog
  • Reliability of the page thanks to the trust flow
  • Citation feed

 

Approach an Influencer

Once you identify an influencer you want to engage with, begin the connection process by browsing the content they share and the conversations they lead.

One tip: emphasize personalization in how you approach influencers. To do this, identify what their focus is, and which channels they use first, and then use those platforms in the context in which they use them.

For example, one influencer may be a blogger, while another may be engaged in various communities on social networks. So it wouldn’t be wise to approach them in the same way. Instead, try sharing and commenting on their content, and engaging in the conversations they are participating in. However, keep it real. Join a conversation only if it makes sense to do so. If you have nothing to contribute, then don’t.

If you know your influencer is hosting a Twitter chat, be sure to note the date and participate.

If they have a blog, leave comments on their posts to show that you actually read their content.

You can also monitor the events your target influencers attend. This approach goes beyond just digital channels. Sign up for these events, via email or social media, and once there, offer the influencer a coffee to start a conversation. The offer will be hard to refuse knowing that you are in the same place.

Once you start building rapport, the relationship can transform in a beneficial way.

 

Create mutual value

As a marketer, you probably focus on the value influencers can provide to your brand, not the other way around. But to create a meaningful and lasting relationship, influencers must also get value from the partnership with your brand, and not just in the form of money. “Value” doesn’t just mean financial compensation.

 

Influenceur digital

Influenceur 2017

 

The perceived benefit of the partnership is equally important to you and the influencer. It can involve:

  • A content exchange
  • An introduction to a community
  • Product placement
  • A commission system

Whatever the case, always keep in mind that reciprocal value will be the main driver of long-term influencer relationships.

By this point, you should have already been monitoring your target influencers closely, and have learned a lot about them: from what they like in life to the hobbies they practice.

This knowledge gives you the power to surprise them and offer them a tailored partnership that will contribute to their professional goals and personal desires.

Take influencer Gary Vaynerchuk, for example. If you really pay attention to what he’s doing, you’ll notice that he’s a Nike fanatic.

 

 

Based on this, there are many ways to use this knowledge to get his attention. Offering him a discount code for an online shoe store so he can get a new pair is a simple approach. You can also find out his shoe size and send a limited edition pair of his favorite brand directly to his office.

 

Measuring results

With the emergence of online PR strategies such as influencer marketing, measuring the success of a PR campaign has become much easier. One of the biggest advantages of influencer marketing is its ability to properly measure the performance of your campaign.

You can use a variety of metrics such as:

  • Social likes
  • Brand mentions
  • Click-through rates
  • Referral traffic
  • Revenue, etc.

Developing an influencer marketing campaign around KPIs from the start will keep you focused on the clear goal you set for yourself. As an example, if you want to complement a new product launch with an influencer campaign, your KPIs might be:

  • The total number of sales for the campaign
  • The amount of social engagement (comments, pins, tweets, etc.)
  • The number of unique visitors that arrived on your website via an influencer

 

In the digital age, where marketers struggle to make their voices heard, digital influencers can help you amplify your message, gain credibility and generate an engaged and consistent audience.

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