Building Your Brand Using Influencers
Influencer marketing has become paramount with the rise and here-to-stay presence of social media. Now more than ever, influencers have by far the greatest reach to consumers compared to any other point in time. Today, social media platforms provide a medium for distributing instantly accessible information and allows producers of quality content to form a following base; those who focus in on specific topics and gather a large following become influencers. Using these individuals to jump start business growth can be extremely rewarding by allowing you to reach target audiences you couldn’t get to yourself. Still, finding the right influencer for your business can be a challenge.
One way of finding influencers is by searching through social media sites for users who produce quality content and have many followers. Another method is by searching in media databases for popular content authors. To make this search easier, subscription tools have been developed to compile media data, distinguish influencers, and manage PR campaigns. One of the many services we’ve found success with is CisionPoint, a tool that puts all of the data in one place, giving businesses the ability to easily team up with influencers and help promote their brand. Follow these steps to see how using tools like Cision can help find quality influencers:
Define Your Target
To run a successful business you should know who your target audience is, what they are interested in, where they are located, and who they go to for information. Answer these questions in relation to your business and create a persona based on your main consumers that will help guide your search.
Choose Who, Where, and What
Once you’ve created your consumer persona, use this information to fill out your initial search:
- First, decide where your consumer base is getting their information from. While the use of the internet has grown immensely, it only makes sense to choose the categories that best suit your target’s persona. For example, if you are a franchisor, your target audience is most likely going to consist of mid-aged, well-established, entrepreneurial individuals who are either a current franchisee or looking to get started. These people often use blogs, forums, and news sites to learn more about different franchises, so it would make sense to select internet as their go to source for contacts.
- Now pick a location to search for influencers. If we are an American franchisor, we would select the United States, however this selection can be more specific such as selecting specific states if we we’re mainly focusing on expanding in certain areas.
- Last, select the topic that your consumers are searching for. Using the franchisor as an example, the main topic would be franchises, but it might make sense to also search for a specific industry (restaurant, retail, healthcare).
Once you’ve entered in the proper information, click search.
Title and Save Your Search
Your search should have come up with a page like this. From here you can alter your search and add additional filters. If you find that your current search is too broad and has come up with too many results, add additional filters now (make sure your topics stay relevant to your product or service). CisionPoint also allows users to save their searches for later. Start by clicking Unsaved search and give it a title. Click the save icon on the right, then click the collapse button on the bottom.
Check for Influencer Ranking
Once you’re done setting the filters, click Influencer rank and sort in descending order. The influencer rank is based off of the individual's use of social networking sites, frequency of blogs posts, and overall what they are doing to connect to consumers. While a high influencer rank is a good sign, this doesn’t mean they are the best influencer available or even fit for your business in particular. Take a look at the contact topics to make sure the influencer matches your needs and select a few names for further research. CisionPoint provides links to influencers’ social networking accounts, blogs, and websites (if they have them).
Research the Influencer’s Content
Clicking on an influencer’s name will bring you to their profile. From there, you can look into the types of content they create. Here are some examples:
Ms. Mangum was the top ranked influencer for ‘franchises’ in my search. She also had multiple content topics relating to my needs. Looking closer at her profile, she’s attached to a website, but more importantly, she has a Twitter account to which she posts content. Taking a closer look at her Twitter, I find out her profile is asking franchise companies to Tweet at them. This means they are open to contact and most likely willing to produce content for franchisors. Are they actually worth contacting though? You should also take a look at how many followers they have, how many retweets and likes they get, and the actual quality of the content. Unfortunately, in my conclusion, I’ve decided she’s not my best option; she only has 2,500 followers, none of whom seem to be actively engaging in her posts.
Mr. Cranford was found lower down in my initial search results, however this does not make him less qualified. Actually, I found out he has over twice as many followers as Ms. Mangum. His followers are also more actively engaging in the content he his posting and his blog posts provide more quality information on the franchises he writes about. Better yet, his Twitter profile is extremely welcoming to my needs by asking "Want to advertise your franchise with us?" At this point I’ve concluded that this influence would be beneficial to me. Once you start to find influencers that qualify for your needs, start adding them to your list.
Create a List and Contact
Once you’ve found quality influencers, you can now add them to your contact list from their profile page. After you have completed your list, it’s your choice as to whether you want to build a relationship with the influencer first or just directly contact them. It’s best practice and will help you get better results if you build a relationship first. To build a relationship you should:
- Follow their social accounts. Even when CisionPoint only mentions Twitter, it's possible that influencers or their companies use more than one social platform.
- Engage with their content. Like and comment on posts so they see you’re interested.
- Be patient. Interact with the influencer for a week or two before directly contacting them.
- Double check each influencers’ prefered method of contact. Make sure you are sending messages where they want to receive them.
You’re now ready to start contacting your influencers and begin your influencer campaign.
Initiate Your Influencer Campaign
After you form a relationship, influencers will be more likely to recognize your brand when contacting them. Realize that when trying to get these individuals to promote your brand, they will be looking for some compensation. Offering a free trial or product is often not considered payment; you should be considering the potential return on investment from having this individual promote your brand and pay accordingly.
Reaching consumers is a matter of using the right people to share quality content at the right time. Without using influencers you could be missing out on reaching many potential consumers and distinguishing yourself from other businesses. Using these steps, building an influencer campaign can be extremely beneficial to any business trying to build their brand. For more ways on how to generate buzz around your brand, download our free eGuide filled with great lead generation tips!