If you are only reaching out to your brand’s social media influencers on a one-off campaign support basis, you’re missing the point.
Sure, someone with thousands of followers on social can get your message distributed to an audience you’d otherwise be unable to reach.
But as a one-time communication, how likely is it to drive meaningful results for your brand?
If it takes seven communications for someone to take action on your message, those aren’t very good odds.
The best social media influencer marketing results come from working with someone over time.
Collaborating on original, on-message content.
Not from paying them to copy and paste your campaign slogan into an Instagram post.
Identifying the Right Social Media Influencers
Do you know who your ideal customers look to when they are in the market for buying products and services like yours?
Although the celebrity-level influencers with millions of social media followers get all the hype, partnering with them is rarely the most cost-effective partnership.
Often, working with micro-influencers who have specialized knowledge about your industry—and an engaged audience—has better return-on-investment and conversion.
Go beyond the vanity metrics of number of followers and likes and see who your customers are actually talking about.
Ask new customers how they heard about your company.
What resources did they look at before making their purchase?
The people they mention are the social media influencers you should consider cultivating for your brand.
Building Influencer Relationships Takes Time
Distributing a string of brand pitch emails doesn’t build influencer relationships.
It takes time, patience, due diligence and spreadsheets.
Here are some ideas to get started:
- Create a list of books and podcasts that would be of interest to your audience. Authors and podcasters need ratings and reviews to build their own audiences. A thoughtful review of their work makes a much better first impression than a cold pitch email.
- Follow your social media influencers on the social networks. Create lists or use tools to stay informed of what they post. Then comment and share away. Focus first on building the new relationship and becoming a valuable part of their community.
- On Feedly, create a list of bloggers to watch. Use this as your personal content curation gold mine. Whenever they publish new content, share it with your own networks.
Build Up to the First Ask
Once they get to know you, these social media influencers may share your content or include it in their own content.
Once you reach this point in your relationship with them, propose a mutually beneficial collaboration with your brand.
A good first ask is a quote that shares their perspective on a question.
This is something that doesn’t take a lot of time on their part and has the potential to help them build their own brand.
Put Some Money Behind the Collaboration
Creating and distributing influencer collaborative content is a good first step.
But if you want to obtain the widest reach, consider putting paid social advertising dollars behind it, as well.
When someone’s first interaction with your company comes in the form of authoritative influencer content—not a sales pitch—they’ll remember you.
And hopefully sign up for more of the same.
Yes, part of the value the influencer brings to your collaboration is their built-in audience.
But even social media influencers can’t reach their entire follower group through organic postings.
It takes advertising support to make sure your content shows up in the right timelines.
The influencer’s brand is what drives the clickthrough and consumption of that content.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your influencer relationships won’t be either.
But if you show them you’re in it for the long haul, you have the opportunity to build a mutually beneficial, lasting partnership.