The basic concept of influencer marketing is to target people who have some degree of influence over the public's buying decisions.
A successful influencer campaign starts with seeking out relevant influencers.
In terms of content marketing, these are people who weld the same power through various online platforms ranging from blogs to online review sites.
You want to build relationships with these discerning individuals in an effort to boost your brand and establish credibility among your target audience.
Solicit Content from Relevant Influencers
Online influencers aren't as elusive as paparazzi-shy celebs. In fact, many influencers are more than willing to contribute a wide range of content to your site, write about you on their website or blog or simply pass on your eBook to their followers.
By turning to influencers, you get the benefit of:
• Free content from a reputable source with significant followers
• Building your brand by association with a trusted influencer
• A steady stream of new visitors generated from your influencers' traffic stream
Identify Influencers Relevant to Your Target Audience
There are plenty of influencers out there. The key to successful influencer marketing, however, is finding influencers relevant to your target audience.
The research involved with this process can be as simple as searching on keywords and phrases your target audience is likely to be using to find you.
Google has a Blog Search feature you can use if you only want to find influential bloggers. You can also search on specific keywords on social sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter or use PR tools such as Cision and Vocus.
Prioritize Your Influencers
Once you identify relevant influencers, the next step is to prioritize your list of influencers.
Engage one or two of your influencers at a time to keep things manageable, especially if you're a smaller business with other tasks you need to perform on a daily basis outside of marketing efforts.
An easy way to rank influencers is to test the waters and engage each one in a small way. Make your decision based on how engaging they are with you and the results you see in terms of traffic.
Additional ways to rank your influencers include:
• Following them on Twitter or Facebook
• Re-tweeting some of their content that's relevant to your business or industry
• Leaving comments on their blogs
Introduce Yourself Establish a Professional Relationship
After a few weeks of testing the waters, you should have a good idea of which influencers jive with your business. Once you reach that point, send your selected influencers an email where you introduce yourself.
In a professional way, explain that you've been following them on Twitter or leaving comments on their blog. You'll also want to share a few of your collaborative ideas once you've identified topics relevant to both of you.
During your introduction, you should also:
• Include relevant stats such as how many visitors your site gets each month
• Offer incentives such as mentioning them in your newsletters or eBooks
• Delve into your stats and point out how you can broaden their audience
If anything, these examples should serve as an incentive to interact with followers and engage your target audience. The more personable you become, the more likely you are to form mutually beneficial relationships.
Finally, take time to build followers and become an influencer yourself.