For better or worse, we all know that social media allows information to spread like never before. If you don't believe us, check out these incredible social media statistics. When people find content they’re interested in, they engage - by reposting, rebloggiing, and retweeting - sending it rippling all over the planet. Over 347,000 new Twitter tweets are sent every minute. The same goes for Instagram, with almost 50,000 photos sent every minute. Youtube uploads are at 300+ hours of video every minute, and there are over 31 million posts on Facebook per minute.
The person at the center of the biggest ripples is someone we call an "influencer"—someone recognized as an authority in their field, whose thoughts and opinions spread like wildfire through the thousands, or even millions, of people who follow them. You already know exactly who the influencers are in your own market. They are the folks whose blogs, tweets, photos, and posts you already follow and repost/retweet.It is important to focus your digital marketing on influencers because sometimes the best way to connect with the people who haven’t heard about your business isn’t to approach them directly, but by some sort of referral (in this case, a digital referral). And one of the best ways to win new leads is through an influencer. Here’s why.
Only 22% of customers trust ads and 27% trust branded content, whereas 51% trust an influencer’s endorsement. Not only do influencer audiences trust the influencer’s advice, but they’re also more receptive to content from a human being – as opposed to a brand.
While you need to be playing the long game of building trust and winning leads through content marketing, earning the advocacy of a key influencer might jumpstart your following, because a big percentage of online impact stems from just a small percentage of social media users.
Keeping tabs on the content your industry craves will help you tailor it to meet their demand, and this can boost your conversions by anywhere from 3–10x. Without a well-developed audience, though, it’s tough to know what your customers really want from your content.
Getting inspired by an influencer or, even better, partnering with an influencer, and creating brand new content that jumpstarts new conversations, is the best way to establish yourself as an influencer, too. People want to learn about products through content instead of advertising, but their interest drops significantly if you’re using the same old words as everyone else.
By paying attention to what influencers say, you’ll keep abreast of the latest trends in your industry. It’s easy to get lost in the crazy, "filler" content floating around the web, but key influencers tend to be more discerning about the information they endorse—that’s how they earned their audience’s trust in the first place.
Choosing your Influencers
Here are some things to get you started:
Katy Perry has over 90 million Twitter followers, and Justin Bieber has more than 84 million. But unless your content specifically deals with pop music, these probably aren’t the influencers that will drive leads to your doorstep. That’s why it’s important to identify what the goal of your influencer marketing strategy is before you get started. Compile lists organized by category that you can easily consult in the future if you need to change your strategy or try a different approach.
Ideal Influencer Persona
First, create an ideal type of influencer (similar to a customer persona). Define the genres, niches, and topics your ideal influencer specializes in, and figure out which personality types you want to collaborate with. This will help you track down influencers that will truly complement your business.
Next, it’s time to compile a list of your top prospects. Find all the top names in your target niche. Next, figure out where they publish and get a good feel for their existing content. When you’ve done your research on a prospective influencer, you’ll be able to better tailor your content to appeal to them on the specific and appropriate social channels.
Content Worth Sharing and Promoting by Influencers
If you don’t have a repertoire of good, solid content already, you’re not ready for influencer targeting. Influencer targeting, as with all aspects of social media outreach and content marketing, begins with having high-quality, original content that’s worth sharing.
A prominent blogger may not be as active on Twitter as another influencer, while a big name on YouTube might not have much written content to offer. Rarely do you want to exist in only one circle, which means that you need influencers from a variety of different platforms.
Impacting your Business
Influencer outreach gets much easier when you’re aware of your overall goals. For example, you might be looking for more brand awareness and engagement, in which case you’d want to try and connect with someone with a large number of followers that would be excited to promote your content. Or maybe you’re after lead generation or increased sales, in which case you would look for influencers with a strong conversion history – even if they don’t have as many followers.
It’s possible that a big influencer is already onboard with your services, and it will pay to reach out to them. Note, however, that strong advocacy from just anyone does not make them an influencer. Influencers have a large following of people who trust their recommendations implicitly, and it’s these people whose goodwill you need to earn.
Finding Influencers That Matter
Today’s influencers may not be tomorrow’s, because one of the problems is the lightning fast rate at which social media
changes. But no matter your industry, a quick Google search will turn up lists of the most prominent movers and shakers.
Reaching Out & Building Your Posse
Now it's time to reach out to your target influencers on the platforms they inhabit and tempt them to engage with content that speaks their language. Here’s a few ways to do that.
Love Their Content
Very Important: You need to be authentic in your interest! It’s encouraged to offer a different opinion on a topic that sparks real conversation, but it’s essential that you’re not just approaching an influencer for good PR while secretly hating their content.
Engage with Their Updates
Start conversations, ask questions, comment on their blogs, and retweet their insights, because the way you show interest is through genuine engagement.
You as their Peer
Present yourself as their peer, so that you share topics relevant to their interests, offer keen insights in their niche, and offer up some of your own experience and advise. Make sure you’re contributing as much as they are.
Do this with each influencer until you have a pool of potential partners to draw from. Remember to keep engaging them: Whenever you publish new content or offer a new product that speaks to their interests and might appeal to their audience, send them a link. Then sit back and watch the ripples spread.
Have more questions? Need more information? Check out
this free guide on content marketing
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