A large percentage of people have grown tired of traditional advertising. We are surrounded by it in every possible way and we now know all of the marketers’ tricks: reverse psychology, playing on our fears or resorting to our most basic instincts: desire for safety, reproduction or the need to fit in. This has progressively desensitised us and pushed us to distrust the messages we see on TV, magazines or the internet.
We are now shifting towards our friends and inner circles when it comes to getting a recommendation. We know them and we know we can trust them. What’s more, they have nothing to sell which makes their opinions credible. This is why, over the last few years, we have witnessed the growth of review sites and the explosion of influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
In simple terms, influencer marketing means calling upon individuals that have influence over people, more specifically potential buyers, to sell a product or service. By doing so, you focus your efforts on a single person rather than your whole target market. Bloggers are the perfect example of individuals targeted in this type of campaign as they are seen as credible, dedicated and have loyal followers.
This type of approach usually goes hand in hand with social media and content marketing. It also requires creating and nurturing a relationship with the influencer by giving them access to exclusive benefits for example.
However, influencer marketing can be a double-edged sword. Indeed, as you are dealing with an individual, you have less control of the outcomes compared to traditional marketing. Influencers pledge of authenticity towards their audiences also implies that in the case they encounter a problem of any sort with your product, they’ll dutifully report it.
What is an “Influencer”?
Anyone and anything can exercise an influence on people. A key opinion leader can be a person, a group or a key brand for instance. These people have influence because they are able to connect with their audience and provide them with the information they are looking for better than anyone else. Their opinion is seen as genuine, useful and trustworthy.
Their influence can be measured in terms of audience size or number of followers on their social media platforms. However, influencers can also be people with a lot of, or very specific, knowledge and expertise on certain topics (see “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell). Therefore, instead of only looking at the fan base size, it would be worth considering the following parameters as well:
Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers
How to Build Relationships with Influencers?
Do your Research
You have to find someone who is relevant to your market, knowledgeable and has a good reputation. What type of blogs do they post, are they careful and detail oriented when writing them? What about the quality and quantity of pictures? Also look for metrics such as Domain Authority, Spam Score, frequency of their posts on social networks and whether these posts are shared or not, etc.
Build the relationship beforehand
Find the targeted blogger’s social media accounts and establish a relationship by commenting on or sharing their posts. Your name will remain in the back of their mind, which will facilitate any future approach.
Give them options
People like to have options. Moreover, bloggers are people that are constantly solicited which means they are at an advantage and they know it. Therefore, make sure you give them plenty of options: provide choices or different angles in your pitch so that they benefit from more flexibility and can craft the message they want. Include other campaigns that they might find relevant to them, let them choose between several pictures etc.
However, even though having options is undeniably good, too many choices can be paralyzing. Providing too many options can be overwhelming so limit your selection to three.
People are more likely to support information that is in accordance with their own beliefs. Reading the follower’s previous posts and following them on their social media networks should give you a good idea of their opinions and provide an edge when it comes to approaching them.