Dear XY, I have a great story for you. I read your blog about (insert niche) and I loved it. I work with (insert that same niche) and would be delighted to see you write something about my business. Look forward to hear from you.
How many times did you write something along these lines? Or are you on the receiving end of messages like these? These types of messages are usually sent to people perceived as influencers, a.k.a. people whose words seem heavy enough to cause a reaction in the reader’s mindset and encourage them to take some sort of action.
Pretty much all industries love influencers. As people with a gazillion of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and newsletter subscribers, they are pretty much the online version of high school prom queens. They are the queen Bees, and they carry the power to change a small business’ destiny, set a course from zero to hero or simply send some buyers your way.
Why are they important for marketers?
Numbers show us that each dollar invested in influencer marketing is returned 6,5 times. It is the most effective online customer acquisition method. That alone makes them very desirable. And they know it.
That number is closely related to some other stats. First, there’s the overflow of paid ads. The average American is exposed to 5000 ads on daily basis. That number of impressions makes it impossible for the consumer to discern relevant from irrelevant, which in turn leads to ignoring most of them. Influencers, on the other hand, serve as filters providing customers with data they are more likely to find interesting.
Chances are that being a part of the industry, you’ve already heard about the biggest influencers and who even might be sharing the latest news about your business, some content you provide and generally spread the joyous word of your existence.
What makes an influencer?
Influencers are something of a very loud, vocal minority. In a social network feed consisted of hundreds of people with three influencers, those three influencers will probably take the same amount of feed as the rest of the network combined. When a relevant topic comes up, those three will be among the first ones to start posting about it and make it seem like everyone is talking about it. Decidedly, that will soon turn out to be true as influencers create interest on topic.
But it’s not influencers number of fans/followers/connections which makes them relevant. Its the engagement of these connections. Influencers are the starting point, but it’s the fans resharing the quality content that makes it viral.
This point makes it vital to choose your influencer carefully. The problem is that if a single influencer you’re already acquainted with is overly enthusiastic about your business, after some time what your influencer says about you will be pretty much ignored. If influencers content doesn’t achieve shares, it’s either not interesting, relevant or it’s already exhausted making it hard to achieve desired effect.
There’s a reason why people trust influencers more than the Average Joe. The validity of Average Joe’s review doesn’t necessarily mean anything to him. Influencers on the other hand usually build their careers by providing content that relevant to their audience. If a product they endorse proves to be irrelevant, so are they.
How to find the right influencer?
Some of the influencers will reach your business by themselves. There aren’t many of those, but it can happen. If by chance you stumble upon one of those, you’ll probably need to produce content by yourself for them to publish. It shouldn’t be much of a problem, but keep in mind that no matter the popularity of the influencer involved, it’s up to you to spice up the story to make it interesting. Don’t shy away from some of the embarrassing moments from the past. Those just might spike the interest in your brand.
But, not everyone will be approached by an influencer. Most of the time, a growing business will have to fight tooth and nail to get the attention of an established influencer. So, to find a right influencer it’s important to have a right tool for the job. This can be done by using specialized tools like Traackr, BuzzSumo, Kred or Klout focused on ranking influencers by popularity.
You can also search for industry terms and find the most relevant sources on top of search pages, who value popularity, SEO and quality of content.
To get the full picture, however, you will also need a media monitoring tool which enables you to receive relevant information in time. Tracking topics as they emerge helps you learn about the latest industry news and see which people are the first to share it. These are the influencers you want to reach.
As the topic grows in popularity, you can join the conversation early enough to be relevant and to have your opinion heard.
Media monitoring tools also enable you to identify the rising blogging hopes, social media commenters and industry specific websites on the rise.
For instance, did you know that bloggers doing their job right, can get over 500% increase of traffic in a year? Most of the influencers started out as Average Joe’s so there’s no need to disqualify newbies from promoting your business. Their reputation is still being built and when stumbling upon a newbie blogger, it’s a good thing to encourage their growth. Finding good newbie bloggers just might prove to be your next long term marketing win.
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