Social media influencers hold a lot of power; with one quick Facebook status, Tweet, or Snap, they could launch a relatively unknown business or product into the spotlight. Influencers on social media can put your brand on the radar of an enormous radar, especially when they vouch for it by aligning or promoting it. One mention holds a lot of power.
Connecting with influencers on social media isn’t as simple as just sending them a friend request on Facebook, but the work you put into connecting and building a relationship with them can have long term benefits that help your business (and sometimes even them, too).
Why You Need Social Media Influencers
As much as I may try to avoid the Kardashians, you have to give them credit for being some major influencers. Kendall Jenner wears a sweatshirt and there is actually an article that is written about trying to find out which one it is so users can purchase it, and the post is popular enough it pops up on my Facebook newsfeed. And guess what? The business that sells those sweatshirts should be ready for some major incoming orders.
All industries and fields have influencers; last week I was grocery shopping with a friend who bought a brand recommended by The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond), even though she’d never tried it before, and a teenage influencer on Snapchat teamed up with Wet Seal to promote their products. Jon Loomer is a major influencer in the social media world, particularly when it comes to Facebook Ads; Neil Patel is the go-to guy for content marketing and blogging.
Social media influencers are a huge deal. If you’re able to get on their radar and build a relationship with them, it could benefit your brand and your reputation quickly, with long term benefits.
With social media (and blogging) influencers vouching for you and your brand, you can quickly send traffic to your site, build brand awareness, boost your reputation, and even increase leads and sales.
How to Find Social Media Influencers
In order to find and connect with social media influencers, you first have to know who it is that you want to find. Which influencers will be best positioned to help your brand? Which ones can you offer something in return? Who would be interested in your product, brand, or promotion?
There are a few things to consider when compiling your list of ideal influencers. These include:
- How relevant are they to your business? You don’t need your business to be an exact match to the influencers in order for them to be considered relevant, but their expertise needs to compliment your business. A fashion blogger can promote clothing, for example, but if they’re a fashion blogger that focuses on brands like Chanel and Guess, they wouldn’t be relevant to brands promoting combat boots or ironic Christmas sweaters.
- How many people follow them? Do they have a large number of followers on social media and subscribers to their blog? This is a great sign. You also want to take a look at how much engagement they have.
- What is their reputation? While sometimes it feels like anyone willing to share you with their followers are a good thing, this isn’t always the case. Many influencers only want to promote products or brands they really, truly believe in, and this is good– it means the few recommendations they do make will get a lot of attention from their followers, who will trust them more because they make these recommendations sparingly.
Finding influencers to ask these questions about will depend on your knowledge of your industry and those who have a lot of sway within it.Finding them is relatively easy; it just takes a bit of research, which can include Google.Google is one of your best friends. Googling blogs in the field of interest (“best cooking blogs” or “blogs about photography”) will often tell you all you need to know—or at least get you a good start. Whatever ranks highly, after all, likely does well with traffic and has a large following.
You can and should also do research on social media; this give you the best look at engagement, reach, and number of followers.
How to Reach Out to Them & Engage
Once you have chosen your influencer(s) that you want to work with, it’s time to reach out and contact them.
There are a few ways you can do this, though it’s often good to start following their blog and their social media pages/profiles before reaching out and contacting them. Sharing their content on your profiles is a good way to start making those connections, and shows that you value what they have to say. Respond to what they say, and engage on their social media activity when appropriate. You want to be consistent without channeling a “teacher’s pet” persona.
I still prefer e-mailing the influencer directly (if that’s not available, trying to private message them on Facebook, then Twitter, and so on) over all other channels; this is how I prefer to be contacted, as I may not notice when I’m messaged in other ways. It’s also easier to find their e-mail by contacting them through their site, which feels non-invasive. Within this e-mail, you’ll want to send them a “pitch” about what your offer for them is. This pitch should include:
- An introduction. This should be brief and to-the-point, but still informative; hopefully they know who you are, but if they don’t, this should give them what they need to know to consider to your pitch. This introduction should go over you and your brand and product.
- What you’re looking for. Explain what it is that you’re hoping achieve with them; asking them to take a look or share your blog post, or to consider you for a guest post on their blog, for example, are both specific offers. If you want them to try out your product, let them know; they know you’re hoping they’ll promote it.
- What’s in it for them. This is what most people care about across the board. What do they get in this exchange? Do they get a free year long subscription of your product? A free blog post in exchange for your name appearing on their site? Maybe you can create an infographic for their blog posts if they share one of yours. Ideally, this has to outweigh what you are asking of them. They’re doing you the favor, after all.
Once you’ve sent out the e-mail, you have to be patient. This is probably the hardest part. If you haven’t heard back after a week you can reach out again to follow up (this is where I’ve seen faster responses typically happen), but after that it’s time to cut your losses and move on. Ultimately, don’t be crushed if you get a “no,”—influencers have their own goals and business models to focus on, and sometimes it just doesn’t align with your offer. Be persistent though and keep reaching out to other influencers—you never know who will say yes!
In the majority of cases, influencers won’t just promote you or your product because you offer to pay them to do so; many influencers take their responsibility of impact seriously and will only recommend products they recommend, and this has their followers trusting them more.
Staying engaged and maintaining a relationship with these influencers over a long period of time will help you increase the benefits your relationship has long-term, and often presents more opportunities for you to help each other. Reaching out from time to time, especially when you can be of additional value to them, helps do this.
Influencers on social media can make a huge impact on your campaign; having a big name mention you, your brand, or your product somewhere is often enough to put you on the radar of a ton of customers who had never even heard of you before.Thanks to the digital age, it’s easier than ever to find and connect with these influencers, as well as to create and maintain a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.
Have you connected with social media influencers? How did it impact your business? Leave a comment and let us know!