Social Media Influencers; How and Why You Need to Build Relationships
As mobile and social trends are shaping numerous industries, it can be hard to tread water if you don’t know where to look. Luckily, social media influencers are often a direct route to your audience. There are some risks involved, however, and it is important to go into it with a direct plan of action.
What is a social media influencer?
An influencer is someone who runs a social account with an established reputation in a specific industry. They can use this reputation to help persuade others’ opinions and purchasing power.
Simply put, they have access to a good chunk of your audience, and your audience trusts them.
Why use social media influencers?
Obviously, building an audience from the ground up and having a direct line with your potential customers is the ideal way to interact with them. But let’s be honest, this can be slow work. This is why many companies choose to harness the power of social media influencers to gain a foothold in their industry.
Research from Twitter noted that social media influencers are second only to personal friends when it comes to product recommendations. Talk about power.
Think of it as a celebrity endorsement on a smaller scale. The influencer’s followers look up to them. They respect their opinion, and in many ways want to be like them or have their lifestyle. This includes using the same products as them or being involved with the same companies they like. It is easy to see where this can fit into your business strategy.
The pros and cons of social media influencers
While working with an influencer may seem like a godsend, it is important to consider both sides of the coin.
- Extended Reach
- Trust your target audience
- Bypassing the ad blocker
- Brand building
- Reaching exclusive digital users
- Brand damage based on the influencer’s actions (think Logan Paul)
- Fees/disciplinary action if sponsored content is not disclosed
- Influencers may leech, or use your name to grow their own audience (you pay to make them bigger rather than the other way around)
- Fraud (purchased followers with no engagement, no real following, etc)
- Content can come off forced (when authenticity is why they are successful)
- It is important to factor in the risk vs reward of your influencer strategy before moving forward.
The best way to utilize social media influencers
As with any marketing strategy, you need to have a solid plan before reaching out to influencers in your field. This can be broken down into a few easy steps.
- Identify your goals. Reach? Sales? Building relationships? What do you want out of this engagement?
- Research topics, lifestyles, and products that are aimed at your target audience
- After finding influencers in your field, categorize them based on overall fit, content quality, reach, and engagement. It is also crucial that the influencers align with the values of your brand
- Rate these influencers based on how well they fit into each category
- Reach out to the influencers that best fit your brand: follow them, engage through email and/or social media, start a conversation about partnering with the brand for compensation
- Measure the results of each influencer to determine which of them helps your business the most
- Continue the relationship with the most beneficial influencers for your business
Remember this is not a cookie-cutter solution. Social media influencers that work well for your competitors may flop for you. Experimentation, and most importantly tracking the results, is key to a good influencer strategy.