Ever been on a blind date?
They’re not exactly the most comfortable of experiences, right? There you are with some complete stranger, awkwardly making small talk to try and find out more about each other. It could very well be that you do have plenty in common, but if so, you have no idea what.
Thrust suddenly into a high-pressure situation like a date, it’s possible you might hit it off right away, but odds are you won’t. And unless you just happen to make a real connection based on shared interests, you’ll probably suffer through the evening politely, head home relieved it’s over, and never call that person again.
Now, compare that experience to a date with a person you’ve been getting to know slowly for some time.
You met while pursuing a common interest, and began to develop a friendship naturally, chatting about those interests, slowly finding out more about each other. For a while, you only met up in pursuit of that common interest, but eventually, you start meeting up specifically in order to spend time together.
Your first date with this person will look a lot different from that blind date, right? You’ll both be at ease – maybe a little nervous, but mostly excited. You’ll have no lack of things to talk about, based on your existing relationship, and most likely, you’ll have such a good time that you’ll decide to do it again sometime soon.
So how is this relevant to marketing?
Word of mouth marketing has always been important – friends naturally value the advice of friends when it comes to purchasing products or services – but in today’s digital marketing landscape, it’s evolved into what’s now called influencer marketing. This new approach involves developing a relationship with popular online influencers in your industry, in the hopes that they will eventually partner with you to promote your business, whether by featuring you in a blog post, allowing you to guest blog on their site, or even just tweeting something about your company to their audience.
The key to influencer marketing success?
Getting that all-important second date.
[bctt tweet=”Most businesses trying influencer marketing make the mistake of treating it like a blind date. “]
They send an influencer an email out of the blue, without any kind of prior relationship, asking whether they might want to collaborate on a blog post or product review. If they frame their request well, an awkward email exchange might ensue, but unless it happens to be an extraordinarily good match, it’s not likely to go anywhere.
Smart marketers understand that in order to get that first date to lead to a second one, they need to create a real relationship with an influencer beforehand. But doing so can be tricky. How do you go about developing a natural relationship with someone you’ve strategically targeted to be a partner in promoting your business, without it seeming just as forced or awkward as a blind date?
The pros (ahem, like us!) use 5 secrets to create those relationships and keep them thriving well into the future. Here’s how we win influencers over and get them to agree to help us market our clients’ businesses.
Have real conversations with them.
Just like in real life, the best way to develop a relationship with someone is to talk with them about your common interests. Online, this takes the form of engaging with the content that your chosen influencers have produced. Read their blog posts and leave thoughtful comments. Ask them questions on social media about their latest posts. You might even email them privately to discuss something interesting they wrote, or to ask a more in-depth question. The key is to be authentic, thoughtful, and personable – this is not the time to start talking business.
Show them you value their work.
Who doesn’t respond well to a little show of appreciation for what they do? A true sign that you appreciate someone’s content is sharing it with your own network. Share links to your chosen influencers’ latest blog posts on social media, and be sure to tag them so they can see that you’re promoting them. Retweet or favorite their tweets, and share their Facebook updates as well, to show them you find their content valuable.
Understand their needs.
When it comes time to pitch your idea for working together, you want to make sure that it fits the influencer’s blog’s theme and audience. You may both be in the gardening business, but if the influencer is all about organic and you ask them to review your chemical fertilizer, it’s not going to work out. Do your research and find out what topics appeal to your influencer and their audience before you approach them.
Make sure to offer them something worth their time.
Now you’ve laid the groundwork to be able to finally send that email asking the influencer to work with you to promote your company. But even here, you’ll need to tread carefully. Your email should be all about how you can help them, not the other way around. How will promoting your business provide value to their audience and to them?
Keep those dates coming.
Once you’ve worked so hard to build that relationship, don’t waste it by stopping the conversation after just one guest post or review. Keep up with every influencer you’ve worked with, continuing to comment on their blogs and engage with them on social media. That way, you can continue to promote each other in small ways, and occasionally partner up again for bigger campaigns. The beauty of developing a relationship like this is that it’s a real relationship – two friends enjoying each other’s company and helping each other out whenever they can. Approaching it as a sales pitch or business transaction will never be as effective.
Using these 5 secrets will get you connecting meaningfully with influencers in no time, so that you can get to that second date…and a third…and maybe even a fourth. Coupling the power of influencer marketing with the benefits of real friendships with those influencers? Now that’s a match made in heaven. Contact us today for help getting your influencer marketing program off the ground!