You know how you have that one friend who always gives you amazing movie recommendations? If he says you should see this new movie, you probably trust him implicitly – you just know he’s got great taste.
But maybe this friend isn’t such a good source when it comes to, say, restaurants. Maybe, in fact, his taste in restaurants frankly sucks. Because of that, you don’t put much weight on any food recommendations he passes along your way.
While you might not think of him this way, from a marketing perspective your friend with impeccable taste in film is an influencer. He’s someone whose opinion you trust, and a recommendation from him is probably more likely to encourage you to see a particular film than the best trailer that a production company can dream up.
If you were to stick him online, he’d be the equivalent of a really talented, popular blogger whose movie-related posts get retweeted and shared like crazy – and, most importantly, get people to buy movie tickets.
If you’ve been working in digital marketing long, you know how important influencers like him have become. In fact, they’ve become just as important as the other components of a strong digital marketing campaign, from ads, to content, to a great social media strategy.
But how do you go about finding the right influencer for your particular brand? Well, we’ve got some killer influencer marketing strategists here at Zen Media, so we’re going to share with you a few of our best pro tips.
First, identify your audience.
Who, exactly, are you trying to influence? While you should have a good idea of who your audience is simply from knowing your product (and from your market research), you should keep in mind that you’ll most likely need different influencers for different segments of your audience.
But if this is your first time working with influencers, you may want to work on just one or two target segments first. For example, let’s say you sell nutrition bars. You’ve got two major audiences: serious weightlifters who consume your nutrition bars as part of a workout and nutritional regimen, and the casual gym goer who picks one up now and then after finishing a workout.
There you have it: these are the two groups of people for whom you’re going to seek influencers.
[bctt tweet=”When working with influencers, first identify your audience. Then identify your ideal influencers. “]
Then figure out WHO your ideal influencer is.
Now that you’ve identified your audiences, you can move on to your influencers.
Most likely, these two audiences generally get their workout advice from two different kinds of blogs, two different kinds of websites, etc. The serious lifters want advice from other serious lifters. The casual gym goers might be more likely to take pointers from a personal trainer, a celebrity, or a coach with a popular fitness website.
That gives you a starting point: using a tool like BuzzSumo, you can start researching who’s writing the most popular blog posts and articles about the topics you’re going after. Let’s say that’s weightlifting, fitness, fitness nutrition, and personal training.
Another good thing to do is to research hashtags. You could search #weights, #personaltraining, #fitness, etc., refining your search as you go. Make a list of any users you find who seem like they may be potential influencers.
Once you’ve identified some big names in those topic areas, you can move on to the next step: checking your own social media pages for brand advocates.
See if your brand advocates can serve as influencers.
Take a look at your social media profiles. Do you have people who consistently comment, ask questions, and generally engage with the brand? Do they participate in your giveaways or contests?
[bctt tweet=”See if you have brand advocates who could become influencers. #influencermarketing #brandadvocate”]
These people – your brand advocates – could turn out to be great influencers for your brand. They already love what your brand stands for, so you won’t have to try to convince them that they’re a good fit.
To see if they’d make a good influencer, check out their social media profiles. Do they have a blog? How many followers on Twitter? How many Facebook friends? If they’ve got a good reach – in other words, if what they post makes it to a whole lot of people – then consider approaching them for a potential partnership.
Figure out what you want from your influencers, and map out an approach.
Now, when we say “figure out what you want,” we mean that in the nicest, least greedy sense. You’re embarking on a relationship with these influencers – and if it’s going to work it needs to be authentic and genuine.
Ideally, you’ve already been engaging with some of these people, like the brand advocates who are active on your social media pages. With them, as mentioned before, making the leap from simple engagement to real partnership could be quick and easy.
However, you’ve also most likely found influencers whose names you’d never heard of before during your research. With them, the process of building a relationship will naturally take a little longer. (To learn more about how to do that, read our post 5 Secrets the Pros Use to Win Over Influencers.)
But back to deciding what you want from your influencers. Sure, your final goal is to sell more nutrition bars, but it can help to have a much more specific ask when you reach out to your influencers.
For example, maybe you’re launching a new flavor, and you want to create a buzz around it. You could send free samples of the new bar to the influencers you’ve targeted, asking if they’d be willing to try it and review it. You could set up a hashtag, and request that any reviews be tagged.
Or maybe you’re trying to increase your visibility with a specific demographic, like college-aged men. In this case, you’d of course want to reach out to an influencer who speaks to that group.
Whatever the need you’re trying to fill, just make sure that you have a clear idea of what your goals are in seeking to partner with these influencers. Otherwise, you risk sending a vague, confusing request that may discourage the influencer from wanting to work with you.
Of course, we at Zen Media are always ready to help you amp up your influencer marketing. Contact us for more information!