Over the past few months, I have been working on an Influencer Marketing Program for my client -Urban Sweetheart. It has been a learning experience to say the least, so I wanted to share a few tips on what I have done thus far. For those of you that are not familiar with Influencer Marketing, industry leader TapInfluence defines it as "a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand's message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire/hire/pay influencers to get out the word for you."
In a time when social media and and content marketing are all the rage Influencer Marketing has become an important tool for both bloggers and small businesses that are selling a product or service. Bloggers who have large and engaged audiences are now able to leverage their readership to align and partner with brands if it makes sense. If you are a brand that is looking to align with key influencers in your industry here are a few steps that you should take.
1. Know and Define Your Audience - This is extremely important. If you do not know who you are talking to or who your audience is how can you know which influencers you should reach out to? For example, my client is an online clothing and accessories boutique that caters to young millennial women. By identifying this, we knew that we wanted to reach top fashion or lifestyle bloggers.
2. Do the Research - There are plenty of ways to find top influencers, and there are even paid services out there, which I will discuss at a later date. However, if you are simply doing research on your own I would start with Bloglovin where you can create an account and then explore posts by category. Based on your audience, you can then select a category and you will find a host of blogs that may be a good fit for your brand. In addition to Bloglovin, you can research bloggers by hashtag. For example, you can use #fashionblogger or #foodblogger on Instagram or Twitter and see what you are able to find in the search results. Then of course there is that search tool called Google. When I was looking for a specific segment of bloggers, Google was very useful in helping me find what I needed.
3. Compile & Organize Your Findings - After you have taken the time to do the research and figured out which influencers align best with your brand, it's important to compile all of your data in one place. I am a HUGE fan of excel and would recommend creating a spreadsheet of all the influencers that you would like to reach out to. The spreadsheet should include relevant contact info, social media follower numbers and the suggested opportunity that you would like to work with that particular influencer on. A suggested opportunity can include a sponsored tweet, instagram post, blog post, etc.
4. Make the Connection - You have done your research, compiled and organized your findings and now it's time to reach out to potential influencers. I would suggest connecting with them on social media, commenting on posts as well as liking and sharing their content. After that is done, I would recommend reaching out via email with information about your brand and how you are willing to collaborate. When reaching out, it's important to have an understanding of how the influencer's blog or content channels work. Is there a content segment that would make perfect sense - if so bring it up and show how your two brands can collide! For example, if I have a new line of lipstick and I want to reach out to a beauty influencer that does a weekly Make-Up Monday content segment, I would mention that in my collaboration pitch, while I would also offer to send her products to review. Influencers appreciate it when you know about the content their producing since they work so hard to create it.
Are you a brand that is thinking of how you can tap into Influencer Marketing, but just don't know how? Leave comments below and feel free to ask questions.