An Introduction to Effective Influencer Marketing
Beyond defining influence and how we can measure and identify influencers lies a greater challenge:
Marketing to influencers the right way.
While certain aspects of influencer marketing are equally as subjective as they are debated, there are core best practices for outreach that we believe are universal and professionally preferred when making a new connection with an influencer (or anyone for that matter).
Best Practices for Marketing to Influencers
We have compiled tips to help you implement a few best practices in your influencer marketing strategies:
Start with the relationship – and start early
The basic principles and art of relationship building haven’t changed, only the technology and communication channels that we use to establish the connection. Read and interact with their content. Before you ask for their time and energy, give your time and attention.
Make an informed connection – not a cold pitch
Influencer outreach is NOT mining or cold calling for potential prospects. In fact, the two should remain as polar opposite as possible. Show them you’re invested in the long-term relationship by taking the time to get to know the influencer, their background and any common interests before you reach out. It’s amazing how many embarrassing first steps and mistakes could be avoided with a little work up front.
(on a related note – Amanda Maksymiw at Business 2 Community has some great insights on the pitch and an example of how a cold pitch can go very wrong – Influencer Marketing Basics: The Pitch)
Communicate on their terms
Be sure that you are tuned in to the preferred communication channels for each influencer. Most influencers (if not all) will clearly outline their preferred methods for connection on their blog/website – whether that is by phone, email, Twitter or otherwise.
Personalize your outreach
Making a positive first impression is never out of practice or faux pas. Avoid creating rigid, templated messaging for your outreach strategy, i.e. sandblasting your communications. Observe how the influencer interacts and listens to his/her people so that you can tailor your communication to their method of conversation. Be relevant and personable versus off the shelf and out of the box.
Pitch value, not product
Our snake oil and spam radar systems are in top shape these days, especially considering the rising level of noise on the Web. Approach an influencer from a position of value – for them and their audience. Don’t pitch a product, show them how your product or solution will improve lives. The influencer has done the hard work to establish trust with their audience. Help them understand how your product or services provides a positive outcome that is both tangible and relevant to their own market.
Why these best practices for influencer marketing work
Relationships and influence are not mutually exclusive. What comprises a thoughtful, targeted and value-driven influencer marketing strategy is no different than what it takes to build the same kind of connections in the real world. While online influence may evolve as rapidly as the technology evolves, the basics will remain the same.
Approach influence the same you would a professional relationship, and you’ll build the right foundation for establishing an effective influencer marketing strategy.
What are your best practices for effective influencer marketing? Please share your tips in the comments below.