Dos and Don’ts of Getting Started With Influencer Marketing
[By Kait Fowlie]
If you’re in PR, investor relations or marketing, you’re well aware that the way people find information today is much different than it was just a few years ago. Today, when it comes to getting your message heard, cold emails and calls just don’t cut it.
To make sure that your message connects with the influential people you really want to reach, you have to build a relationship with them. To do this, and to stay out of the spam folder forever, shift your communication strategy to involve relationship-building efforts with influencers – the key players that can help spread your message to the right audiences. Here are some dos and don’ts to guide you as you get started.
Do discover ways to appeal to influencers on an individual level. Do your research so you can craft a personalized message that offers unique value. When it comes to reaching out to influencers, you get what you give. Give value.
Don’t mass-blast people who influence your industry’s online communities. This is the fundamental rule of influencer marketing. The point is to build relationships that function around mutual value. Your success depends on your having something great to offer the influencers and their audiences.
Do find commonality with influencers. In relationships, people have things in common and appreciate those connections. Find mutual points of reference to build on, which could be fun facts you find about the influencers, a similar opinion on a trending topic, etc. Influencers are humans, not lead-generation platforms. Be personable and be authentic.
Don’t just retweet influencers you want to connect with; engage with their content and add your opinions. Contribute to discussions in a way that allows you to add value to the influencers’ communities. You benefit from this by helping those communities grow, and also by building credibility for yourself among the influencers’ audiences.
Do seek out many different ways to communicate with influencers. If they are most active on Twitter, don’t neglect their Facebook pages, for example. Find more than one way to show influencers you take note in the many ways they share their expertise. And always tailor your messages to the platforms.
Don’t get caught up in the numbers. Just because someone you think might be an influencer doesn’t have a huge following doesn’t mean he or she is “not good enough.” Someone who has a smaller following may still be incredibly valuable in a specific niche.
Do give influencers everything they need to promote your message. Influencers may not know anything about you or your brand, and asking them to write a product review without offering everything they need to know isn’t helpful for anyone. Their audiences trust them to tell the truth. Give as many freebies, samples, and test drives as they need so they can do so.
Don’t ask for too much without having built relationships first. When was the last time you did a favor for an acquaintance or stranger that took you time? Think about what motivates you to take action and apply that to your very first outreach message or pitch.
Do let your influencers be themselves. They know their audiences better than you do. Let them be in charge of their content approach. Feel free to give them information or ideas as thought-starters, or to make content creation / social distribution easier, but allow them to talk about your brand in their own voice and tone.
Don’t let yourself off the hook as soon as a relationship has been built. Deirdre Breakenridge, in How to Lose an Influencer in 10 Days, calls this “the “honeymoon-is-over mindset.” She writes, “you can’t just show the love in the beginning and shower them with “affection,” then leave them high and dry. Be consistent in your efforts and communication. If you do, you’ll see the relationship blossom long past the first 10 days!”
Do you have any fail-proof dos or surefire don’ts you’ve come across in connecting with influencers? If so, we want to know. Leave a comment below.