In the past week, I've felt the power of the influence shifting in the social business marketplace. It seems that most brands have figured out that it's more authentic, genuine, and real to partner with an influencer than to run more social media advertising. I've literally had 4 different brands reach out to partner on Twitter & Instagram with content, and they want me to feel rewarded for sharing their awesome content. It's a new strategy to really deliver to the social media audiences based on the niche of the influencer. Also a term you might start to hear more is "micro-celebrity", these are folks that have a following that is smaller than 100K on any platform. We all want to partner with Taylor Swift but to keep it real, not many brands can afford the endorsement with such a superstar. So the alternative is to work with 5-10 micro-celebrities that are all focused in a niche that serve your CUSTOMERS!
I have two simple strategies to finding the perfect influencer to partner with for your next campaign:
1. Research your Audience - Find out what they like, who they are, where they hangout on social, and what their social behaviors are. One of the best ways to do this, is to reach out to 10 of your fans/followers, and ask them if you could get them on the phone to chat. The phone personally brings out everything, too many times we try to get an email answered, but no one wants to sit there and answer a bunch of questions via email. Take the time to plan phone calls, to discuss your brand, and in return give them a fun prize! You will see the true colors of your business come out when you talk to your social followers.
2. Define your Goals & Budget - We all wish Lady Gaga would tweet about us, but unless you have the budget this will only be a fantasy. The reality is that influencer marketing takes revenue, incentives/rewards, time, and energy to coordinate a successful campaign. The other main thing is to make sure you define what your expectations are from this campaign? Too often we think of the campaign and all the big ideas, but we don't stop to think... "What do I want out of this?" Once you understand your goals and budget, it will be a lot easier to be realistic with your influencer marketing outreach.
Have patience, influencer marketing takes time and it will not happen overnight. There is quite a bit of planning that is involved and you will have to coordinate with the influencers, so be willing to take your time with this effort. My advice is to be willing to fail from the beginning and it will make the results that much better, because you will have the chance to learn, and get better every time. I truly believe that the next level to successful social marketing campaigns will come from influencers spreading your story/message across their networks, so get out there and be INFLUENTIAL!!