HOW TO USE INFLUENCER MARKETING IN YOUR ?· HOW TO USE INFLUENCER MARKETING IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY…
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HOW TO USE INFLUENCER MARKETING IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Are you itching to discover how to use influencer marketing in your social media strategy?
Youre not alone.
This may be the MOST POWERFUL marketing weapon youll ever wield.
But before I load you up with actionable influencer marketing ammo, let me take you on a little trip into Ancient Rome.
It's 140 AD. The legendary Gaius Appuleius Diocles is at the height of his chariot-racing career. He's fast. He's ferocious. He's an ancient-day Michael Schumacher, with a whopping 1,400 victories under his ever-expanding belt.
But like the Formula One racers of today, he's not just competing for the fun of it.
He earns a chariot-load of cash every race, through sponsorship. The Roman equivalent of 15billion dollars over his entire career in fact in exchange for his representation and endorsement of prominent local businesses.
Because Gaius is a hero. He has status.
He has influence.
By aligning with him, the businesses of Rome can expose their brands and offerings to his colossal fanbase. And by gaining Gaius endorsement, these companies can win the trust of the gazillion Roman citizens who worship the floor he rides on.
Why the brief history lesson, you ask?
Because this was a case of influencer marketing, in its infancy.
Fast forward to 2016 and social media has changed the face of marketing as we once knew it.
It allows companies of any size to instantly connect with target prospects worldwide, with the mere twitch of a finger.
And more importantly (for the sake of this blog post at least), it allows you to easily communicate with the influencers in your industry. The celebrities of your sphere. The modern day Gaiuses.
It makes influencer marketing accessible to all of us.THIS is the concept that led to the transformation of my company, The Creative Copywriter.
I first discovered its enormous power just 2 years ago. And it was the foundation on which I built an extremely successful, bottom-line-boosting social media strategy for my business. And subsequently, for our clients. Are you ready for me to reveal my secrets?
The more you read of this blog post, the more you'll understand exactly how to use influencer marketing in your social media strategy. And you'll soon have a pocket-full of powerful, actionable tactics that you can start putting into practice TODAY.
How to Use Influencer Marketing in Your Social Media Strategy
Who are influencers and how can they help your social media strategy?
According to BusinessDictionary.com, influencers are "individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position or relationship."
They are the celebrities of the digital world. The thought-leaders of your sphere. Each with tens to hundreds of thousands of devout social media followers, eagerly awaiting their updates. And tens to hundreds of thousands of blog readers, hanging on their every word.
Now imagine if someone with such incredible influence over your target audience shared your blog post on their Facebook page. Or retweeted one of your tweets. Imagine if they
involved you in a Twitter chat about a hot industry topic. Or publicly endorsed your new product or service.
And let's say you'd built an actual relationship with this influencer a friendship even and they did all of the above regularly.
Sounds pretty powerful, doesnt it?
Then get your noggin round this:
With the tactics I'm about to reveal, you could build the above relationship with not just one of these power influencers but a hundred. With the potential combined social media following of over 2 million!
Starting to understand how valuable influencer marketing could be to your social media strategy?
Then keep on reading.
Here comes the juicy part...
10 Steps to Influencer Marketing Success
1. Identify Your Influencers First thing's first. Identify the influential players in your ballgame.
By using tools like Klout, Kred, Traackr, Followerwonk, Little Bird or Buzzsumo. By paying attention to the Forbes top influencer lists. By Googling 'top [insert your industry] influencers.
This valuable post by Lee Odden will quench your influencer-finding queries. And then some.
If your company offers a range of services or products, and you abide by Neal Schaffer's content bucket philosophy of sharing content (which you can learn about in his book: Maximize Your Social), then you might want to identify 3 or 4 different lists of influencers.
For The Creative Copywriter, for example, the services we offer fit snugly into 4 overarching buckets; branding, copywriting, content marketing and social media. Thus the content we choose to create and curate remains faithful to those 4 topic areas.
And likewise, the influencers that we have identified, segregated and done our darndest to build relationships with are experts in those very same four fields.
I reached out to Branding badasses like Bernadette Jiwa. Copywriting queens like James Chartrand. Content marketing masters like Joe Pulizzi. And social media megastars like Diana Adams and the rest of the lovable Post Planner possy.
Now pause for a moment. And stroke your chin pensively...
Which types of influencers would you love to have on your side?
Are there any individuals that spring to mind right off the bat?
Do your research. Compile a list of 30 - 50 influencers according to your company's content buckets. And then...
2. Segregate and Separate Your Lists The influencers you've mushroom-picked are very special people.
You'll be giving them a whole heap of love and attention over the next umpteen months or years. So let's make sure their content and comments don't get swallowed by a sea of promotional marketing tweets or "here are 20 more pics of my awesome holiday" Facebook updates.
By following them all on each relevant platform (step 1), then separating them from the masses (step 2).
Twitter has an invaluable list-building feature. Just click on the Lists tab on your profile dashboard, then Create New List, like so:
Call it [your industry] influencers/experts/gurus/masters/rockstars -- or whatever other creative synonym you can muster up at the time. Then add your chosen thought-leaders to it by:
1. Visiting their profile. 2. Clicking on the more user actions tab (the cog-like icon). 3. Selecting 'Add or remove from lists.
And voila! Your Twitter influencer list is good to go.
You can then view a thread with only their updates avoiding the noise and constant marketing dribble that likely swamps your home feed all the bloody time.
This will be super handy when it comes to steps 3 to 10.
PS. If you're lucky, someone in your circle may have created the perfect or near perfect influencer list already. In that case, copy it and save yourself a heckload of time. Yoink!
Facebook doesn't have an equivalent list-building feature, but you can follow and interact with other pages as your business page. If you only follow valuable influencers' pages (from your company page, NOT your personal profile) then your home feed will only populate with valuable influencers' updates.
This will give you the perfect stomping ground for schmoozing them.
Google+ works like Twitter. Create separate 'circles' for your influencer lists. And if you don't know how, this post by Kristi Hines will reveal all.
If you play the follow/unfollow game on Twitter or Google+ for fast growth, then make sure to whitelist your influencers. You certainly dont want to unfollow a powerful ally purely because they havent honored you with a follow-back yet.
It will take time and a bit of hard graft to grab their attention and earn their respect. So have patience my friend.
Great. Now you're ready to....
3. Build a Memorable, Valuable Profile Here's the thing,
Influencers tend to have A LOT of fans and followers. Hence the classification.
This means they see shedloads of tiny profile pics and gravatars every single day. Hundreds, if not thousands, every week.
Youll need to stand out from the crowd if you want them to take heed.
Be the pixie among orks. The flower among weeds. The diamond among gravel.
By making sure your social media profiles are uniquely and distinctly branded, gloriously memorable and dripping with value from every orifice.
When the social media and content marketing influencers on my list saw my memorably distinct, vintage, circular profile pic cropping up on their Twitter notification feed daily, they took notice.
I stood out.
And after clicking through to my profile where they found a value-packed thread of carefully curated content and pearls of branded, copywriting wisdom they thought to themselves; hmmm, this guy knows his onions. Hes worth paying attention to.
This is the effect that you should be shooting for.
And in order to do so, ask yourself these questions:
How can you make your profile pic and gravatar memorably different, yet in tune with your core brand identity and values?
Should your profile pic be a face or a company logo (hint: influencers are more likely to build relationships with real people, but if youre a well-established brand already, the latter may be wiser).
What can you do with the rest of your profile to reinforce that potent, memorable brand identity?
What branded, valuable and/or entertaining imagery can you post on a daily basis to strengthen it further? You know, stuff like this:
(but aligned with your brand identity, not mine).
Its time to get a-chin-stroking. These posts should give you a splash of inspiration while youre at it:
How to Design Social Media Images for Brand Recognition (Social Media Examiner)
The 10 Elements of a Successful Social Media Profile (Kissmetrics)
Brand Identity: How to Crush Your Competition with a Hat and a Typewriter (me!)
4. Make 'em Laugh. And be Real. It doesn't matter how prestigious they are. Influencers are people, like you and me.
And people like to laugh.
If you want to develop real relationships with influencers in social media, then be a real person.
Be social. Be friendly. Be funny. Be honest. Be relatable. And treat them like you would your bestest pals.
Keep your eyes peeled for any influencer updates that are a little more personal, and a little less corporate. You know "just had the best cup of coffee ever", "happy weekend everyone" or "my daughter just graduated high school!" - that kinda stuff.
That's your chance to chime in with a witty (or super nice) response, as you would with one of your mates.
How often should you strike?
As much as possible. Without crossing over into stalkery or just plain flippant territory. You'll have to have a little tact in order to get the balance right. You know, like in real life social situations.
Aaron Lee vowed to chat to at least 5 Twitter users every single day since he started his social media marketing journey. He now has close to 500,000 followers... Why not take a leaf out of his legendary book?
But whatever you do, keep your social media updates firmly on-brand.
I.e. Don't say things like 'fur shizzle ma' nizzle' if you're representing a well-respected law firm. Comprende?
5. Help Your Influencers Out. A lot. 'You Scratch My Back I Scratch Yours' is how influencer marketing works, in a nutshell. The more good deeds you do for your influencers, the better the chances of them a) noticing you and b) feeling inclined to help you back (at some point or other).
So share their blog posts and vlog episodes across all your social media channels, constantly.
Retweet their valuable tweets. Re-share their insightful Facebook updates. Endorse their new books publicly. Pick out pearls of wisdom from their articles and turn them into quotes, always making sure to tag them, like this:
And while you're there, leave long, insightful comments under their blog posts which a) reveal what you loved about them, b) add more value and in-depth analysis, establishing you as a fellow industry thought-leader, and c) encourage the influencer to engage in some good old back and forth with you. Maybe even some jocular banter.
After months of love and attention, they'll associate your little branded profile pic and gravatar with value, respect and hopefully a smidgen of friendship too.
And what's the beauty of this strategy?
It works two fold. Curating your influencer's content will not only get you well and truly in their good books. It'll also turn your social channels into value-packed, industry-relevant streams of content. The kind of juicy streams your target audience will just lap up!
And don't forget
6. Flattery Will Get You Everywhere Who can resist a dash of flattery every now and then? Especially when done publicly...
They're just as susceptible to charm and compliments as us regular folk. Particularly those who we might class as industry thought-leaders, but havent quite achieved that Brangelina level of fame yet. (Which is why you should target mid-level influencers as well as the big dogs).
So give them public 'shout outs' across your social media platforms. Like these:
On Facebook and Google+ you can tag people (and pages) too. But with a larger word count to play with, why not fire out a longer list once in awhile? Like so:
Again, this tactic is a double-pronged attack. It will...
Get you on your influencer's radar.
Benefit your followers by directing them to valuable, must-know experts and brands in your field.
Now its time to...
7. Ask Them Questions. Straight up. This little trick worked wonders for my brand. The main aim: to engage influencers in discussions. And by doing so, pump a load of fuel into your influencer marketing engine. The secondary aim: to get world-class answers to your genuine niggling industry questions.
By tagging a few big names in, you're more likely to get a response than if you just ask...