Last week I spoke at an event on different ways brands can ramp up PR in the digital age. Inevitably the topic of influencer marketing came up – outreach, guesting and three words brands don’t seem to like to hear. Social media influencer.
After the talk, I was approached by a lady who said:
“My business is product based, how can I work with social media influencers?”.
This is a very good question and one that when I thought about it more, realised it would make a great blog. So let’s begin by defining what a social media influencer actually is.
What is a social media influencer?
A social media influencer is considered to be an ‘A list celebrity’ of the social media world who has the power to recommend products or services in such a way that influences the purchasing decisions for their thousands / millions of followers.
Social media influencers are usually celebrities, high profile content creators (bloggers, YouTubers etc) and online entrepreneurs who have built credibility in a particular niche or field.
In today’s world, a social media influencer has immense power over brands. In fact, they can make or break a brand’s reputation in a single post. That’s why it’s important to make sure you work with them in the right way to for your business – to grow it rather than damage it.
Why work with social media influencers?
Working with social media influencers to sell your products has many benefits for your business, including:
- Increased traffic to your website
- Building your credibility in your field
- Offering you exposure that other means of PR can’t necessarily do
- Increased sales of your products
The thing to remember is that working with social media influencers will work well for your business if you pick the right person to partner with – someone who has synergy with your brand, the right type of followers for your product and reflects your values.
6 ways to work with social media influencers
So now you know what a social media influencer is and the benefits you can reap from working with them, now it’s time to talk about how to actually work with them. Here are 6 ways:
This is one of the most obvious (and most popular) ways to work with influencers. When I think about it, I’m sure I see influencers on my Instagram feed promoting gifted products on what feels like almost a daily basis.
This is popular because it works. Simply by sending an influencer your product to try, you can almost guarantee exposure for your business because they’ll share it with their followers via their newsfeeds and stories.
Did you notice I said “almost guarantee exposure …?” You have to remember that you’ll be competing with other brands to get their attention, so it’s important that you approach the influencers in the right way to start a relationship, rather than just randomly sending them products to try that they might not have heard of. Make contact with them ahead of gifting just to make sure it’s the right fit and that they’re happy to share your brand with their followers / fans.
#2: Giveaways / Competitions
Giveaways and competitions are often posted on social media and they do work (in the short term) for generating engagement, but in my opinion sometimes they can cheapen the perception of a brand, so I would be very careful when working with a social media influencer on this.
If you decide to go ahead with either a giveaway or a competition, here are a few tips to make the most of the opportunity and get the engagement you want:
- Get your audience involved – get them to submit a video or photo that you can use as part of wider campaign activity.
- Incentivise followers – offer discount codes or coupons to reward them for taking part in the competition or giveaway. This will increase your sales and create a buzz for your brand with those who don’t win.
- Leverage hashtags – these are amazing for engagement. Make it unique to your brand to help you stand out and promote it as much as possible on your social media platforms.
This type of promo really helps you and the influencer to work together to leverage followers in a way that not only makes them want to be involved in the giveaways and competitions, but actually buy from you one time or more.
#3: Sponsored posts
Instagram, Facebook and YouTube all offer you means of finding the right influencers for your brand to work with and the features you need to deliver a good campaign that will get you the results you want.
Once you’ve agreed the way forward for your campaign – i.e. goals and objectives, target audiences, key messages, tactics, influencer activity and analytics – you can create multiple versions of sponsored posts to generate a buzz around your product.
Simply ask the influencer to take photos, video snippets and voice overs of them talking about and using the product and turn these into a series of sponsored posts targeting a broad audience on both your social media channels and the influencer’s themselves.
Did you know that 93% of businesses say they’ve gotten a new customer thanks to a video on social media? With over 1 billion hours of video viewed daily on YouTube, the opportunity presented by video to build brand awareness and drive sales is endless.
That’s why now, more than ever, it’s important to utilise video, especially when working with social media influencers who potentially have millions of fans ready to learn about your products.
The trick is to stand out – your videos need to be creative, they need to showcase the benefits of your product, be shareable and be easy for your consumers to digest. In other words, your videos need to make people want to buy from you.
#5: Blog post reviews
Hand up who reads blog reviews? I do, and if the review is good then it will have an impact on whether or not I decide to buy a product.
Blog post reviews are incredibly effective if they’re written by a popular blogger who has built an audience and credibility in his or her field. The only issue is that blog post reviews are not always positive, especially if you’ve gifted them with your product and asked for an honest review. This gives you no content control from a PR perspective, but it is a more authentic representation of your product and brand.
My advice would be to establish a partnership with that allows you to actually be part of the content – they could interview on their blog alongside a post review or you could provide a comment (in writing or via video).
If you’re not able to do this then I would recommend you create a briefing pack for the influencer, outlining things like:
- Your business / product mission
- Key words to be used in the blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- Benefits of your product
- How you want your audience to feel using the product
By giving the influencer a briefing pack, you’re making sure they have all of the information they need to write about your product without insisting on creative control over their content. After all, an honest review about your product will be more authentic and generate more engagement than one that looks like it was written by you.
#6: Podcast sponsorship
Have you ever listened to a podcast and ended up buying a product because it was recommended by the host or sponsored an episode? I have.
Right now, there are more than 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million podcast episodes available for us to listen to and brands that advertise their products and services on podcasts enjoy an average 14% rise in purchase intent.
In other words, it’s a great platform to use to get exposure for your brand, especially if you choose to work with the right influencers. This is worth considering as part of your campaign.
Final thoughts …
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – influencer marketing is a powerful tool to leverage in growing your business and if done correctly it can potentially have HUGE impact on your bottom line.
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from reading this blog, it’s this. You need to focus on building good relationships with the right influencers for you. They need to reflect your values, have an audience you can benefit from knowing and most importantly, have credibility in the field that will enhance your brand reputation, not damage it.
Do you want to learn how to build influence and become to go-to expert in your industry? Check out my membership site Headliners: The PR & Digital Marketing Academy to learn more.
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