Creating and fostering relationships with influencers and tapping into their engaged and wide audience, can help your brand gain awareness and increase its reach. Determining who the best influencers for your organization are and mapping out a plan that ensures both parties will benefit from the relationship can be challenging.
This week at #SproutChat, we discussed best practices for the entire influencer marketing process–from identifying the best individuals to work with to what a successful relationship looks like.
Find Influencers With Engaged Communities
Start by digging into the conversations happening on social around your industry. Make a shortlist of the thought leaders that people are listening to on outlets like Google Hangouts, Blab and Twitter. Then, go a step further and identify the people on your list who have enthusiastic and engaged audiences.
Be diligent in activating influencers you’ve shortlisted are a good fit. Take notes on their follower demographics, what makes their communities excited and the nature of the content they write and promote. If there’s an overlap with your organization’s goals, move forward and reach out.
A1: We identify influencers by looking for publications they've written or been featured in & their online/speaking presence #sproutchat
— Aaron Lumnah (@aaronlumnah) March 23, 2016
A1. Their profile matters too – how do they define themselves? #sproutchat
— Reva Minkoff (@revaminkoff) March 23, 2016
A1. Find people that are talking authentically about the industry and your brand. #sproutchat
— Rasmus Hallgren (@rasmushallgren) March 23, 2016
True influence is organic, it's real, it's passion! #Sproutchat
— Chris Barrows (@CBarrows) March 23, 2016
Don’t Just Go for Numbers
Influencer doesn’t necessarily mean follower count. Many #SproutChat folks agree that it’s not all about big numbers. An influencer can be someone who has a smaller following, but a group full of zealots. Passionate followers who are primed to act are much more valuable than an enormous and disengaged group. Finding these individuals is a bit harder, but once you’ve initiated a relationship, the payoff will be worthwhile.
A2 Its important that your influencers have the ears and eyes of the people you want to get in front of & have a good following #sproutchat
— Nycole Hampton (@MsNycole) March 23, 2016
A2: No. However, those numbers can serve as breadcrumbs to find your way to whom you're after. #sproutchat
— Matt LaCasse (@MattLaCasse) March 23, 2016
— GhostBloggerForHire (@GhostBlogr4Hire) March 23, 2016
— Jeremy Bond (@JeremyDBond) March 23, 2016
— Katka Lapelosová (@Its_Katka) March 23, 2016
Build a Relationship Over Time & With Friendly Cadence
Whether you’re paying your influencer or not, it’s always wise to foster an amicable connection prior to your formal partnership. Build a relationship based on your mutual interests and offer to help your influencers before you ask any favors for yourself or your brand.
A3: Show that you value what they share & say. Retweet & like. Ask a Q about a piece they shared. Genuine dialogue is key. #sproutchat
— K.L.Wightman (@KLWightman) March 23, 2016
A3. Join the community and engage with them where ever they choose to add value. Assist them in adding to THEIR value not yours #sproutchat
— Chris Desadoy (@EliteYouTubePro) March 23, 2016
— Laura Powell (@dailysuitcase) March 23, 2016
A3. When working with influencers, so many forget that it needs to be about them and their needs, not just you. Join, don't use. #sproutchat
— Carrie Morgan (@morgancarrie) March 23, 2016
Be Straightforward in Your Ask
Be upfront about your desires. Hiding your real intentions will only hurt your relationship and damage any kind of credibility you’ve built. If you think the ask might be too much, start small and work your way up. Gain insight from other industry professionals who are connected to your influencer. Be reasonable and always be sure to offer your time in return. It’s also smart to use social media monitoring tools to track who’s talking to you on each platform.
A5 Remember: "influencers" are always being asked to do things. You'll get more if you don't ask right away. #SproutChat
— Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman) March 23, 2016
A5 That sounds like game playing. Know WHY you want to work with someone and make that clear from the start #sproutchat
— LUCYrk (@LUCYrk78) March 23, 2016
— Jeremy Bond (@JeremyDBond) March 23, 2016
A5: The end product will likely be better if the relationship you've built is solid from the get go. #sproutchat
— Kate Kelly (@katekellyunt) March 23, 2016
Join us next week with special guest Sprout All Star Mandy Edwards as we discuss best practices for content curation. In the meantime, check out our Facebook community to connect with other industry professionals.
Sarah Nagel: Sarah is the Senior Manager, Brand Advocacy and Community at Sprout Social and a Twitter queen. She runs the weekly #SproutChat and is a champion for our incredible community. Outside of work, she spends her time taking on DIY projects and petting her two rescue pups.