Influencer Marketing: Building Your List Through Trust and Credibility
By Sam Hollis
What do you think of when you hear the words “influencer marketing?”
An influencer is someone who has built up the trust and credibility of their audience in such a way that they’ll be more willing to make a purchase based on recommendation alone. We all know this scenario: Kim Kardashian tweets about a new clothing line and suddenly it’s the most popular product on the market. People go crazy when a celebrity endorses a product.
But the power of endorsements and influencers isn’t only available to big brands with celebrity contacts. In fact, any brand can work with an established influencer to jumpstart their email list building efforts.
Sure, working with a celebrity sounds like a lot of fun, but might not be attainable right from the start. By partnering with a well-known personality in your space you can boost the awareness and reach of your brand. But how do you get started?
We’ll go over the best practices for locating, reaching out to, and working with the best possible influencer for your brand. When you find the right fit, you’ll start seeing increases in your email audience size in no time.
Who’s the best influencer for my brand?
As you get started, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. A celebrity endorsement may not make the most sense for you. Instead, think about your audience, and the people you connect with every day.
Who are they? What do they like? And, maybe most importantly, who (besides you) do they listen to?
You’re involved in your customer’s world, there’s no doubt that you know who they’re talking about. You want someone who is going to have the klout to expand your potential audience, while still being relevant and valuable to your current subscribers. Social influence is what you want to look for in an influencer.
You’ll be using this partnership to garner trust and credibility. Mutual benefit is important, but remember, you’re connecting with their audience to promote your brand.
This influencer is going to act as a trusted advisor and advocate for your brand. They speak on your behalf. Having an advocate for your brand helps businesses grow in a number of ways. Not only will you be able to use their influence to increase your social media buzz, an advocate is loyal and will share their opinions freely. They’ll even jump in to defend you if need be.
Look for someone who is a subject matter expert and a thought leader in your market. Their authenticity and credibility are key factors in how well your campaign is going to perform. According to a Nielson study from 2015, “the most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust.” Eighty three percent of people rely on recommendations from friends and family most, while 70 percent trust branded websites over traditional advertising.
How do I find the right influencer for my brand?
The number one way is by doing a little research.
As you look for someone who is the perfect fit for prospects as well as your current customers, start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Who is the influencer’s audience?
- Is the influencer’s audience similar to mine?
- What kind of value can an influencer provide to my audience?
- What kind of value can I provide to the influencer’s audience?
- How engaged is the influencer’s audience with their content?
- Is the influencer engaged with their audience in return?
There are also tons of resources on influencer marketing. Convince and Convert is one of my personal favorites; they go over a few things to look out for when choosing an influencer:
- Engagement – How does does the influencer’s audience interact with their content?
- Reach – How well can the influencer reach your audience?
- Frequency – Are they posting consistently? How is their email cadence; is it overwhelming or not?
- Authenticity – How much does the audience trust the influencer?
There is a lot to consider, but we have some tips to help get you started.
What tools are available to help me find the right fit?
Start by learning all that you can about your prospective influencer. This is the beginning of a fun, new relationship, so a little targeted social media stalking can’t hurt. As you check out their social profiles, consider:
- How often do they tweet, and when they do, what is favorited or retweeted most?
- Do they have a Facebook community and are they involved?
- How does their audience interact on their blog? Do they respond to comments?
The biggest characteristic you want to look for here is engagement. Just keep in mind that a large following does not necessarily translate to good engagement. The more people are engaged with your influencer, the more people you can potentially have signing up to your email list. It’s as simple as that. There are even platforms you can use for this kind of research, such as Klout, which measures a person’s various profiles for their overall social influence.
Tracking relevant hashtags is another way to seek out your ideal influencer. SocialMention is a great tool for social channels. Buzzstream Discovery is another for finding influencers by keyword. You can also mine popular SEO keywords to see what pops up. For example, if you’re looking for an influencer who is big in food and recipe blogging, you would search for “food blogging”, “recipes” or “cooking blogs”. Google Keyword Planner or keywordtool.io are great options as well.
There are specific influencer marketing platforms too:
- Traackr – They’re an influencer marketing platform that helps connect brands with influencers based on a number of variables, such as topic, hashtag relevance and geolocation. There is a strong focus on using tracking and analytics to find the best possible influencer for your brand.
- Mavrck – Positioned as a connection point between brands and influencers on a person-to-person basis, which they call micro-influencers. Their focus is on people and connecting brands with the right influencers using social data.
- Exposely – Their goal is to help build influencer marketing campaigns on a case-by-case basis. They’re built in a way to include budgeting for brands with a focus on cost-per-click campaigns and making compensation for influencers more streamlined.
These tools are a great place to kickstart your new influencer marketing campaign. Properly constructed, your campaign will flourish.
With the right influencer, what can I do to grow my list?
It’s time to start thinking about your campaign specifics. When you work with an influencer, here are some of the best ways to reach their audience:
Tried and true, this is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to connect your brand with an influencer’s audience. Trade spots on your respective blogs, or ask your influencer to write a post on their expertise. Giving them the option to represent their own brand is a great way to break the ice.
Growth Opportunity: Set up specific landing pages for people coming directly to this post. Include an incentive for those people who sign up. You’d be surprised how much some exclusive content can help boost your sign ups.
And as the savvy marketing person that you are, you’re aware of how your landing pages perform on a day-to-day basis. Set up your landing pages for the incoming audience from your influencer, and think about how you want it to perform. Look for the following indicators of success:
- Increased traffic to the page
- Leads captured by the page
- Social shares of your exclusive content
Once you’ve published this post, run a short social campaign of your own as well as promote the link to your Facebook and Twitter followers. That will boost the overall reach of this content, and help you get more out of the campaign.
Look for any overlap with your influencer and current customers to see if there is any potential for outreach. You can also provide a new influencer with a test of your service for them to review.
Growth Opportunity: A high-value testimonial from a trusted influencer will help ease any doubts your prospective customers have about signing up.
Use this testimonial on an upcoming split test on your site. Direct potential leads to a page that features it prominently, and check into how that page converts in comparison to other campaigns you’ve run in the past.
Co-host a webinar or invite that influencer to speak on your podcast. This could be an interview, educational webinar or casual conversation. Try to find something that highlights all of your strengths and gives your influencer the ability to promote your content on their end as well.
Growth Opportunity: Set up specific landing pages for the podcast. Subscribers who sign up for more information can be nudged further down the funnel while you provide them with details on the upcoming event. There is also the potential to follow up with more material after the podcast.
By setting up a webinar with your influencer, you’re able to give their audience a direct introduction to who you are and speak candidly about your brand. This is a great time to promote your business, but remember, they’re keying into your personality, so make sure to showcase that as well.
During the planning process, think about what kind of value you’ll be able to provide to this audience. If you’re educating on a particular subject, include a recap or study guide after the big day. This additional content keeps you top of mind and helps cement your new relationship.
You can use a recording of the webinar as a lead generation piece too. Try offering it up as an incentive for subscribers who may have missed the actual event.
How can I tell it’s working?
Once you’ve set up the campaign and figured out how best to work with your influencer, how will you know it’s working?
As influencer marketing functions mostly in the awareness and acquisition stages of your campaign, the benefits and return on investment will be seen as increases in traffic and conversion. When you work closely with someone whose audience is engaged and willing to trust their recommendations, the benefits can be qualitative as well as quantitative.
Look for how the traffic to these pages differs from other campaigns you’ve run in the past.
- Was there an increase in my overall traffic to this page?
- Is there anything I did differently, outside of using an influencer?
- How can I use those tactics for future landing pages?
Your campaign will not only raise awareness of your brand, it will lend a sense of credibility that can lead to increased willingness to engage and purchase.
When everything is up and running you can track the growth of your list through subscribers. You’ll see an increase in your total subscriber count, but there will be other metrics to look for as well. If you’re adding people to an existing list, you will see an increase in the overall opens for your messages. As these prospects are highly engaged with the influencer you’ve chosen, the click and open rates for your autoresponder messages should reflect that engagement as well.
You may see an increase in your social traffic as well. As the people you reached through this campaign start talking about your brand, potential leads from their networks will seek you out as well. It’s kind of a trickle down effect. Keep track of any spikes in your “likes” or “follows” after the campaign is completed.
Influencer marketing is a bit of a long game. But if you plan correctly, and have the patience to allow the results to come in, the value is immeasurable.
Who are the influencers that you use?
Have you worked with an influencer in the past? Let us know in the comments. What has worked, and what tips do you have?
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