“92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people—even someone they don’t know – over brand content.” The Shelf, infographic.
We’re always told not to judge a book by its cover, but at the same time, there are some very natural assumptions that would be silly to ignore. If you’re sitting behind the wheel of a Bugatti Chiron, you probably want to drive fast. And if you have a website, you want visitors.
But as introverted as we may want to be, it’s near impossible to entice people to visit your website without help. And a little help from a big influencer can go a long way.
Why Do You Need Influencers?
Do you instantly trust every person you meet? Even if they sound smart, you’re wondering why you should care instead of listening to what that person has to say. Now, imagine one of your mentors introduces you to a random stranger. Your mentor prefaces the conversation with two simple sentences:
“Hey, you should listen to this guy. He knows what he’s talking about.”
You’d be all ears, wouldn’t you?
Well, that’s exactly how and why influencer marketing works. People at the top of their niche got to where they are because they have proven themselves. These people are extremely selective about who they endorse and what they share because their reputation is on the line.
Endorsements from influencers are difficult to come by, but that’s why they are so valuable.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
When you set out on an influencer marketing campaign, of course, you’re not looking for an endorsement from any old Shmoe. The person or people you are targeting will have an extensive audience of their own, and with that audience, they have massive authority. These benefits are obvious, but then there are some more surprising benefits of getting an endorsement from someone with authority. Let’s review them all.
- Backlinks and Search Engine Presence – Did you know that Google is aware of who the influencers are in your niche? Their spy techniques are top secret and complex, but it all has to do with the authority of someone’s website and social accounts. The greater the authority, the greater the influence. So even if you’re just trying to get a tweet in front of someone else’s massive following, your search engine presence may also benefit.
- Exposure – If someone with a large audience endorses you in some way, it’s reasonable to believe that a portion of that audience will check out your online presence. If they like what they see, they may even join your tribe.
- Authority – You know you’ve made it when someone big in your industry mentions you in a tweet or links to one of your blog posts. Everyone else knows it too.
Influencers Agree That Influencer Marketing Works
If you’re on the fence about reaching out to influencers, here’s something that may help propel you over: They do it too! Even the most influential people in the marketing realm recommend influencer marketing to promote content, gain authority and get backlinks.
“Influencers have two special powers. Number one, they can amplify social reach to your audience… secondarily, they can provide links, mentions, and other kinds of signals that search engines use to rank sites higher,” Rand Fishkin of Moz
When asked about advice for brands making their first contact with influencers, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs had this to say, “I think the important thing is to give before you get.”
Smart Brands Are Already Doing It
If you’re not already spending time on influencer marketing, you may be behind your competitors. Brands like Smashbox Cosmetics understand that getting their products into customers’ hands. They dedicate time in their studios for YouTubers to play around with their products.
And there’s good reason why top brands are devoting time and money to getting attention from influencers. It works. An eMarketer study also that found that brands earned an average of $6.85 for every $1 they spent on influencer marketing. That’s a rather appealing return.
It’s also true, according to data from Deloitte, that customers acquired through word of mouth have a 37 percent higher retention rate.
How to Get Started with Influencer Marketing
Before you even decide on who to target, you should understand that this is relationship marketing. Don’t even think about asking for something from anyone before you have a relationship. Not only will your efforts fall flat, but you risk damaging your reputation in the process.
It’s time to forget about everything you want to get out of this and focus on the influencers themselves.
Think about how you would become this person’s friend or colleague if you met them in real life. You probably wouldn’t expect a warm reception if you waddled up to them with a brochure about your company, right? So why do so many people do the online equivalent?
Consider the following examples of how you can impress someone with influence and decide which will work best for you and your target.
- Linking to blog posts
- Retweeting content
- Asking/answering questions (not self-serving) on social media
- Pointing out things that are likely to be of interest
- Commenting on blog posts
- Sharing content
- Sharing proprietary data (surveys, case studies, etc.)
If you’re worried about knowing when it’s time to move past relationship building and ask for something, assign an arbitrary number to your efforts. Keep it between 8 and 15 touchpoints. Once you have helped someone this many times, they are likely to recognize your name and may be open to hearing what you have to say.
Once you have proven that you can provide value, you’re on your way to having a real relationship. It’s human nature. If someone provides value to you, you’ll want to encourage their good behavior in hopes that they will provide more value. If someone is a pest, you’ll ignore them until they go away. Which person do you want to be?
If you want to learn more about how to reach out to an influencer, head on over to this post for some more tips.