Digital Marketing

Influencer Marketing Guide – What is it & How to do it?

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The problem with digital marketing is, you can never know it all. The moment you think you’ve got all bases covered, out pops another important concept, which can make or break the future of your websites and blogs. Believe it or not, Influencer Marketing is one such contemporary digital marketing juggernaut that you’ve either got to board or be run over by it.

Another problem with digital marketing education is that there’s way too much use of jargon going around. In this guide, I want to break the whole recipe of digital marketing into distinct and easy to understand ingredients. I will tell you

  • What is influencer marketing?
  • Why do you need to spend your valuable time on it?
  • How can you develop your influencer marketing strategy?

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a highly focused style of marketing your brand to niche audiences via people (called influencers) who are considered subject matter experts.

  • You can use influencer marketing to get positive messages related to your brand, blog, or product.
  • The marketing is directed at highly relevant end users and audiences.
  • A Medium is a group of people who are thought leaders, market experts, subject matter experts, and other veterans.

Expertcity has a dedicated page to define influencer marketing; read it. These are the essential features of influencer marketing.

  • At its core, influencer marketing has the principles of driving the power of endorsement and advice of a subject matter expert – a force that ends users and audiences trust and willing to embrace.
  • Rather than directing your marketing messages at the target audience, you inspire/pay/hire an influencer to do the same.
  • The resulting exposure for your messages, then,
    • is highly contextualized,
    • relayed to a highly targeted audience, and
    • backed with the endorsement of a thought leader of the field.
  • Influencer marketing leverages the concepts of social media marketing, content marketing, and word of mouth to deliver exciting results for your digital marketing campaigns.

On one side, this means that you can make use of your knowledge and experience with social media, content, and word of mouth marketing to drive influencer marketing. On the other, it becomes necessary to understand the difference between influencer marketing, and word of mouth marketing.

Want an example?

Check out how Kendall Jenner (a young Kardashian, with more than 75 million Instagram followers) collaborated with Estee Lauder, a veteran cosmetics company, for an Instagram promotion campaign. This is one of the pictures she posted.

kendall jenner influencer

Also, Check out this HubSpot list of top brands successfully leveraging influencer marketing.

What’s the Difference between Word-of-Mouth Marketing and Influencer Marketing?

Many digital marketing educators use the terms influencer marketing and word of mouth marketing interchangeably. However, they’re not the same. Think of influencer marketing as all efforts you do to get an influencer to broadcast favorable marketing content relevant to your brand. This could be done in the form of:

  • Social media shares (call it a digital version of word of mouth)
  • Mention of your brand in a keynote speech (this is word of mouth in a broadcast scenario)
  • Newspaper or magazine content contribution with mention of your brand in positive light (textual version of word of mouth)
  • Personal suggestion to somebody to check out your blog (this is word of mouth, as we know it conventionally)

See how word of mouth becomes a ‘way’ by which influencers spread the positive word about your blog? Influencer marketing is the broader perspective, focused on getting influencers to do so in all possible ways.

Is Advocate Marketing the Same as Influencer Marketing?

Nope, they’re different. Who’s an advocate? He/she is an existing product user, brand loyalist, blog subscriber who is willing to showcase love for your brand on all platforms. This is done via product reviews, customer references, etc. Influencer marketing is about identifying relevant and high potential individuals who enjoy the trust and affiliation of audiences you are interested in.

Also, brand advocates don’t expect anything in return for their efforts to spread positive words about your brand. While dealing with influencers, however, you need to consider subtle means of incentivizing their efforts, by means such as:

  • Monetary rewards
  • Free product trials
  • Reciprocal favorable mentions in your content

Why Does Your Brand Need Influencers?

This is the most important question you should ask yourself. Okay, let’s do a quick test here, I have a few questions for you and I want you to answer them honestly.

  • Do you agree that audiences are mostly spread across several niches and segments?
  • Do you agree that it’s rather impractical for digital marketers to manage specific campaigns for all these niches?
  • Do you agree that people are more likely to act on the advice of a trusted source than a marketing message?
  • Do you agree that influencers with thousands and millions of social media followers have the firepower to bring great traffic, brand equity, sale, subscriptions, and social shares for your blogs?
  • Do you agree that any method that helps you easily distribute your marketing appeals to specific audiences, via powerful leaders of these audience communities, is worth pursuing?

I can bet you answered every question with a resounding YES. You now know why you need to hop on the influencer marketing bandwagon right away.

What are the Key Components of Influencer Marketing?

A successful influencer marketing campaign will need your due diligence on these components-

Clear Campaign Goals

What do you want to achieve via the campaign? Outline clear and quantifiable goals, such as:

  • 5,000 subscribers for your blog’s Facebook page within a quarter
  • 1,000 registrations at your e-store within a month
  • 5,000 page visits for a blog post

Influencer Identification

Lay clear criteria that your target influencer must possess, such as:

  • 1mn+ followership on Twitter
  • Authoritative opinion in a specialized subject matter
  • Platforms that he/she is active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc.)

Outreach

This aspect covers details pertaining to:

  • How you plan to reach out to influencers?
  • What proposition will you pitch to the influencer?
  • What platforms will you use to search for influencers?

We’ll need to treat every influencer engagement effort just like an important business meeting, considering the potential benefits at stake.

Understand the Characteristics of Influencers for your Blog/Business

Let’s understand how you can characterize influencers and can segregate them into different brackets, which helps you ultimately target the right influencers for appropriate blog promotion goals.

  • Personality type: Do you need an authority, educator, activist, or informer? Match the right personality with the personality of the target audience, for best results.
  • Genre: Look to identify influencers with some overlaps across 2 or more niche; for instance, a fashion blog would ideally want an influencer with roots in apparel, accessories, sports, lifestyle, etc. This helps broaden the audience base that you can get exposure to, via the influencer.
  • Niche: Look for influencers active in 3 or more closely related niches. Again, this is to ensure that successful influencer marketing campaigns eventually get exposure to a vast number of potential users and subscribers.
  • Topics: It helps to understand a focused range of topics that an influencer is interested in so that you can create content on the subject matter, and use it while pitching to the influencer on how you two are a good fit.
  • Type of reach: Depending on whether you need site visits, social media followers, product sales, blog subscribers, etc., you will need to choose influencers that will get you the results you desire. An influencer with a blog on Google’s first page but not active on Facebook will be great to get your blog more visitors, but you might want someone with 1 mn+ Facebook followers if you want Facebook followers for your blog’s profile.

The Big Question – How to Find Influencers?

I’m sure you’re going, “I’m ready to rock, tell me what’s next.’ Well, now’s the part where we find our influencers. I am going to tell you how you can use some free or inexpensive tools to easily find and organize lists of influencers totally relevant for your blog, your target audience, and your desired marketing outcomes.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo keeps you ahead of others in the influencer marketing game, with its simple to use outreach and influencer search feature.

  • You can simply key in relevant keywords, and get lists of influencers active in the same field.
  • Sort influencers, companies, bloggers, and routine users and target them for your influencer marketing campaigns.
  • Filter the results based on parameters like the number of shares, domain authority of website, page authority, retweet ratio, etc.

For instance, if you’re looking for influencers relevant to the ‘social media’ niche, just put keyword in the search box, and you get this-

social media influencer buzzsumo

LinkedIn

Why not use the largest professional networking portal out there for your influence research. Much like BuzzSumo, you just need to put in relevant keywords in the LinkedIn search box and find out second-degree connections that you can slowly reach out to and get onboard your influencer marketing campaign.

social media influencer on linkedin

Here are some tactics you can use to get into the mind space of potential influencers before you send out your value proportion to them.

  • Like their own posts and the ones they share.
  • Send out the odd value-adding comment about their recent post.
  • Join their LinkedIn pages, and ask them to join one of yours.

FollowerWonk

This Moz tool integrates Twitter research and marketing efforts into one screen. However, it’s also a great tool for influencer search on Twitter. Here’s how you can do it.

  • Go to https://moz.com/followerwonk/
  • Click on Search Bios
  • Enter a keyword in the search box (again, like we did with BuzzSumo.)
  • Click on ‘search Twitter bios only’ option.
  • Do It.

This is what you get.

social media bios followerwonk

For searching Twitter influencers, you might want to make use of this amazing twitter cheat sheet from SproutSocial.

Google Alerts

You can set alerts for the most relevant keywords for your blog, to find out people who are actively creating content in the same niche.

You’ll get an email alert as Google finds new content for your interest. This is the best way to track influencers and their activities.

Blogger Outreach

A Technorati Media report suggests that 86% of influencers have their own actively operated blogs.

technoratimedia-survey-How-Influencers-Post

This means that you can also conduct blogger outreach, and hope to find influencers in the process. To do so, AllTop is a terrific source. Here’s how you can use it.

  • Go to alltop.com
  • Put your keyword in the search box to the right. (I searched for ‘affiliate marketing’ for example.)
  • You’ll see a lot of ‘search results’ categories show up. Click on the most relevant one.

all top affiliate marketing

And get all the top blogs on the topic. Find influencers and outreach them.

top affiliate sites

Other influencer search tools you can try out are:-

I Found My Target Influencers. Now What?

Well, now the game begins. You’ll need to communicate to them in a respective manner, so that they are interested in your blog, idea, content, product, brand, and agree to shout out a positive message about you on their social channels, blogs, etc. To drive this, you will need to add an incentive for them to partner with you.

Let me share some practical options you can explore:

  • Participate in discussions on Google Plus communities, LinkedIn, your blog comments sections, an influencer’s blog comments section, etc. Extract the valuable words from your influencer’s content, and weave it into a blog post. Then, invite the influencer to share it (it’s too good to resist for most influencers).
  • Curate a list of best blog posts on a specific subject manner, and keep your influencer’s recent post in the first 10. Tell them how you prepared a list and ranked them. They’d want to share their pole position with their world, right?
  • Promise a product give away or discount in return of user generated content. Send out free trial software, mail a customized product, parcel a little freebie and see how product users become chirpy about your brand on social media.
  • Swap guest posts on each other’s blogs.
  • Invite them for answers to questions that you know they would love to answer (study their last few blog posts, and you’ll know their area of expertise).

Before I wrap it up, let me share some amazing blogs you can follow to keep yourself updated on the latest from the world of influencer marketing.

Final Thoughts

That’s all; remember that influencer market is a digital marketing strategy with great potential, considering not many bloggers are doing it, and considering how it can quickly result in a lot of social traction, page views, blog subscriptions, etc.

Have you ever done influencer marketing for your brands or projects? Just share your experience with fellow readers in comments. Like this guide? Let your friends know about it.

I write for small businesses and people who want to learn SEO. I share useful resources, tools, and tricks which are helpful to build an online business. Follow my blogging journey and connect with me on social media.

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