As more companies turn to social media and the similar for advertising, consumers are becoming less responsive to paid content. Users of the platform are getting better at recognizing sponsored content and are scrolling right over it.
The trick to sustaining engagement among the sea of sponsored content is gaining trust. You gain trust by providing value and not just ads or fluff. But, how do you get followers in the first place to see your great organic content. The solution is influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the idea of paying influencers or thought leaders in your target community to promote your content. It can be as simple as sharing a link or mentioning your product. This form of marketing is especially common on social media and on podcasts.
If you listen to Tim Ferriss’ podcast, you’ve heard him slyly try and sell you on 99 Designs or Blue Apron. Influencer marketing is especially effective, because listeners or followers trust what this person is saying. You take advice from your friends, not from companies. So, when Tim tells you how great 99 Designs is and how he used it for his most recent book resulting in amazing graphics, or whatever adjective he decided to use, you trust him. You want to try out the service he’s recommending.
Now if that same pitch popped up in the midst of your Facebook news feed, posted directly by 99 Designs, you’d probably just keep swiping and not even think twice about it. You see the value in this type of marketing, but now how do you implement it? Follow these steps.
1. Find the Right Influencer
Look for individuals that have a presence in your target community and are actively involved on your target platform. Influencers can be bloggers with a large following, podcasters, or Twitter users that have influence. Note that having many followers is different than having a large following.
There are companies like Captiv8 that can help you find the right influencer and negotiate the terms. If you’re completely lost in this process, this can be a good place to start and get your feet wet.
2. Contact Influencers
Unless you’re going through an agency or the influencer has contact information in their bio, the most effective way to start a conversation is usually sending a direct message on the platform the individual is active on. Introduce yourself, your product, and what compensation you have to offer, whether that be merchandise or monetary.
3. Be Explicit
Have a particular post or story in mind and have a deadline, but be open to collaborating with the influencer as they may have good insight from past experience. If they’ve done sponsored content in the past, take a look at it to see what has worked and what hasn’t.
4. Stay Involved
Stay involved along the way in case the influencer has any last minute questions. Once the sponsored content goes live, be active on the platform to respond to any questions and attract new followers.