If content is king, then distribution is like King Kong. A McKinsey study found that “consumer-to-consumer word of mouth marketing generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.”
More than ever, people expect brands to talk with them rather than at them. It sounds simple enough but sometimes breaking through all the noise can be harder than you think – especially when you’re just starting out.
This is the reason that many companies are exploring influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is when companies partner with someone who has built a large following in order to have them share a message with their audience. Partnering with an influencer can do wonders for your brand when done right – or your efforts can fall completely flat.
When deciding who to approach to work with, there’s several things to keep in mind.
This one may seem obvious but it comes with a caveat. Just because your potential influencer partner has 1.5 million followers does not mean that what they are sharing will reach that entire group. According to the Marketing Agency Ogilvy, a tweet will reach at most 15% of a Twitter user’s followers. The actual average is between 1.7%-5% of followers. Therefore the sheer number of followers isn’t everything but it is definitely something to take into account. Targeting relevant and engaged influencers will always be more effective than any celebrity involvement for a campaign.
This is the biggest element to look at. If your potential influencer has 10 thousand followers but receives little-to-no engagement, then that is a warning sign. You want to see their audience actively engaging in the content that they are posting. Working with someone who has around a thousand followers but clearly is leading a conversation is bound to have better ROI for your business.
Being human is one of the elements that makes this marketing method so effective. That said, when working with someone, it’s important to let them be themselves, while also making sure to choose someone that aligns with your brand voice and values. When doing the initial vetting, look at how they talk and interact with others in the public domain to make sure they are respectful and responsive. Look at behavior, not just demographics of their following, and make sure what you’re pitching will make sense in your proposed medium.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are a large amount of conversations happening outside of the sphere of direct view. According to Ogilvy, nearly 2/3 of all social referrals come from an indefinable source. If the influencer is willing to reach out on your behalf or share with their personal networks as well, this can be more effective than public reach.
Sustained endorsements go way further than one-off tweets or blogs, so maintaining a relationship is crucial. When thinking about the content you’ll be pitching it’s important to think about the audience you’re trying to reach. Think about your buyer personas and be sure the content you are creating is funny, useful or inspiring to that group. If you don’t have buyer personas built out yet check out this post on creating them.
Useful Resources for Finding Influencers
GroupHigh is a helpful tool for pulling blogger data, and Followerwonk is a great way to research for your Twitter outreach.
When you’re reaching out be sure to read the blog before pitching. Reaching out with an irrelevant story or idea will get you nowhere and only annoy the person that you wish to partner with.
Once you have your programs up and running be sure to monitor it closely. Read everything they post about your brand for quality control. Staying on top of the strategy is in your best interest and will lead to the best results.