Social media users who are viewed as having the ability to affect the purchasing decision of others due to their perceived authority or popularity, are nowadays commonly referred to as “influencers”.
Influencers are generally viewed as being relatable to their followers and as such, their opinions are trusted. Brands and businesses have been partnering with influencers for a number of years now, to endorse their products and spread brand awareness to their followers. Influencers are seen as providing authenticity that cannot be achieved through traditional advertising.
Working with influencers can be really rewarding for your business, but you can’t just assume that every influencer you reach out to will want to partner with your business. You need to put some real thought into working with influencers before you reach out to them, and that involves doing some research first.
Without a doubt, engaging in B2B influencer marketing can provide a number of benefits for businesses, not least of which being brand awareness. It’s important however, that businesses choose their influencers wisely. Relevance is key. There’s no point in working with an influencer whose audience are not your target market.
If an influencer has a personal connection to your business, they are more likely to create authentic content that resonates with their own followers, and their followers are likewise more likely to be interested in posts about your products and services.
Finding the right influencer for your business will require some research (i.e. social media stalking) but getting this right will provide you with the best benefits in the long-term. Spend some time looking through their profile and get a feel for the content they’re creating. Study how they’re engaging with their followers and make note of other brands that they might be already working with. It’s important that their values are aligned with your business’, otherwise it may not be the right fit.
Ensuring an influencer is the right fit for your business, and you for them, will go a long way towards you being able to develop an ongoing working relationship with them. It will also help you reach your target audience and capture new leads.
Building a relationship with influencers is a crucial part to building a strong collaborative partnership. When researching influencers, maybe even start engaging with some of their latest posts to start building a relationship and show them you are interested in the work they’re doing.
As well as engaging with them on their social media channels, you could endorse them on your own, through reposting relevant content of theirs.
Once you’ve found an influencer you want to reach out to, work on getting your pitch right. Connect why you think you’d be a good fit for them (and them for you) to some of their recent activity. Influencers get bombarded with requests, so make sure your pitch stands out and sparks their interest.
In working with influencers, you want to co-produce content that feels organic to their channel, so as to encourage genuine engagement between their followers and your business. The relationship, as well as being authentic, should benefit them as well as you. If you only pitch what the influencer can do for you, then you’re not really giving them incentive to work with you.
Once you and the influencer have determined that a relationship is the right fit, it’s important to determine how the influencer will be compensated. The last thing you want is to be called out by customers or even the influencer for failing to compensate them fairly. Swapping free products and services in exchange for the influencer leveraging their social media following typically won’t cut it. You need to research fair pricing and settle on an appropriate payment plan with the influencer.
In addition to investing dollars in your influencer marketing program, you also need to invest time. Consider developing an editorial schedule that outlines what topics the influencer will post about and when so that you know when to jump in with responses to questions and comments on the influencer’s social media pages. Be careful to tread lightly around the exact language used in the post. You want the influencer’s message to come from the heart but you also want to make sure the copy hits on your key messages and above all, is accurate. Finally, spend time tracking website visits over the course of the campaign. Use Google Analytics to identify instances when web traffic spiked following an influencer’s posts and your reposts of their content.
If you’re looking to influence an influencer to work with your business, you need to be willing to put in a lot of hard work. Especially when it comes to selling the influencer on why a collaboration between you would be in the best interest of both parties. Something to always remember when working with influencers is that the relationship should be a two-way street!
Does your business need help defining and executing an influencer relations strategy? Contact Mulberry to learn how to get influencers to promote your brand.
Caitlin Zoon is a Content Specialist at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She enjoys creating engaging content to achieve brand awareness for her clients.