There’s a new buzz word online and it’s called “influencer marketing.” What is influencer marketing and how can it help you?
It’s essentially the idea of building a relationship with an influential person (who has a much larger network than you do) with the ultimate aim of getting them to promote your products or services to their vast network.
I say ultimate aim, because that should not be the true aim of anyone building a relationship. Sure, we build relationships with all sorts of people, for all sorts of purposes. But the best kind of relationships are the ones that are forged over shared interests and goals.
Influencer marketing is a little bit like dating (minus the personal stuff), with the intent of building a long-term partnership with someone that you benefit from knowing. In the online world, it usually involves forging a relationship with someone whose content you enjoy.
The best relationships involve give and take. Just giving is codependent and just taking is parasitic. Giving is how you initiate a relationship and get the attention of an influencer. How can you give to an influencer?
1. Share their content
Who doesn’t love to get more shares to their content? It’s a great way to show other people that you enjoy it. If you’re trying to get the attention of an influencer, you need to be reading all their content. Follow them on all the social media channels they’re active on and share their posts.
There are some things you can do to increase the chance that they will notice you sharing their content, however.
• Retweet their posts directly
• If you don’t Retweet them, mention their Twitter handle in your tweet
• Tag them in your Tweet or when you post or reshare their content on Facebook, Google+ or Instagram
• Don’t be creepy and share them exclusively or too often. You’ll look like a stalker. Once a week, or whenever they write great content, is good enough.
2. Link to their content
Links are even more valuable than shares, especially in terms of search engine optimization.
Even if you have a small, new blog, linking to the influencer’s blog from your own will give them a little boost in the search rankings, especially if you write about very similar topics. This is something most bloggers will appreciate.
Here are some linking etiquette tips to follow when you link to an influencer’s content.
• Link from a well-written post.
• Don’t just copy and paste them – add your own insights.
• Give them a link with optimized anchor text.
For instance, if I were linking to this exhaustive list of tips on Influencer Marketing, I would use the anchor text – Influencer Marketing Tips.
3. Comment on their blog
Every blogger loves comments, especially well-written, insightful ones that show that the commenter has read their post and understands what they’re trying to say.
If the influencer, that you’re trying to build a relationship with, writes a blog, go ahead and post insightful comments on their posts. Don’t be spammy and try to get in a link to your own blog. Your comment will most likely get deleted as spam.
Only make positive comments and add your own take on their post, so that they know you’ve read it through.
4. Write a review of their book
Which book author does not love to read reviews (especially positive ones) of their own books? Speaking as an author, I know that you can never have too many reviews.
If you’ve taken the time to read an influencer’s book and post the review on your blog, it’s likely that you will catch their attention.
To make sure they notice your review, you can do the following:
• Tweet the link to the review, mentioning the influencer’s handle in your tweet.
• In your blog post, use the Click To Tweet plugin to insert quotable tweets within the body of the post so your readers can also tweet your post with the influencer’s handle.
You can see how I did this in my review of Ronnie Screwvala’s book here.
The nice thing was, when I shared these Tweets on my Twitter account, Ronnie Screwvala himself retweeted them, and they got a lot more shares as a result. 🙂
5. Meet them face to face
When it comes to building a relationship, nothing can beat the familiarity of meeting face to face, even if it’s at a conference.
If you want to give an influencer a reason to meet you in person, invite them out to dinner at a really good restaurant and tell them you’d like the opportunity to get their insights and feedback. It’s very similar to starting out a mentor-mentee relationship, but with a different aim in mind.
6. Ask to interview them for your blog
Email the influencer and ask if you can interview them for your blog. Most people love to give interviews because it gives them a chance to talk about themselves and helps them reach a wider audience.
When you finally get to interview them, ask about their work, their latest blog post, book or project. Ask how they built their business, where they come from, who their influences are. Listen more than you talk. When you do talk, make it about your common interests and be engaging and authentic.
Once they are done talking about themselves and start asking about you, that’s the signal to talk about yourself and your work. Again, don’t ask them to promote you. They will offer to do it themselves if they see potential in you.
7. Ask how you can help them
Offer to help them by connecting them to someone who might benefit them. Ask what you can do for them. Offer them some of your services at no cost, if you can. If possible, have an offer for them in mind even before you meet them.
8. Do something noteworthy
Ultimately, if you want an influencer to mention you to their network, you have to give them a reason to do so. If you have done anything noteworthy in your life, mention it. If not, do something noteworthy before reaching out to influencers.
If you create content or write a blog, write a really epic post before you reach out to influencers who have linked to something similar in the past. If you’re planning to publish a book, give the influencer a few chapters to read and ask them for their feedback on it.
Give an influencer a good enough reason to promote you, and they most likely will.
What To Avoid When Connecting With an Influencer
When you meet an influencer, online or offline, there are some things you should avoid if you don’t want them running for the hills.
• When you connect with an influencer, don’t ask them to promote you (or read your blog or buy your book) outright. It’s as distasteful as coming onto someone you just met.
• Avoid mentioning their family or kids, unless you know them personally, or wait until they bring it up. Assuming a relationship that doesn’t exist comes across as creepy and stalkerish.
• Understand cultural differences. Whereas it may be alright to shake hands or hug in some cultures, in others it would be seen as obnoxious. Read up on the cultural practices in the country that your influencer comes from and follow their cue in any instance.
Just as you shouldn’t rush someone into getting married to you, you can’t rush relationship building with an influencer. The best relationships are built over time and they take authenticity, vulnerability and trust to build.
When you formulate your influencer marketing strategy, approach it as you would any other relationship that is important to you. Give value first and you will be rewarded with a relationship that works for both of you.