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Crash Course in Influencer Marketing

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What is influencer marketing and how do you get it right?

When you start your own business, marketing isn’t always at the top of your to-do list. In fact, it’s often buried underneath setting up the legal side of things, finding suppliers, and sorting out your finances.

Then, as time goes by, other priorities fill the number one spot, and marketing gets put to the side again. In fact, recent research shows that almost half of small businesses don’t have a marketing plan.

The US Small Business Administration advises that small business start-ups should be looking to spend between seven and eight percent of their revenues on marketing. But even with this advice in your hand, it can be hard as a business owner to know how to spend this budget.

How do you know how much to spend on social media, email marketing, traditional print advertising, or trade shows. And how do you make sure your marketing is targeting the people who might buy from you?

This is where influencer marketing comes in. This form of marketing is hyper-targeted. It involves you taking a little bit of time to identify certain people who hold the attention of your potential customers. Then it requires you to form a relationship with these people so that they want to promote your products or services for you.

For example, if you sell baby clothes, you’ll want to identify popular mommy bloggers or if you have a restaurant you might want to get a food reviewer on side.

So how do you go about getting influencer marketing right?

Don’t Rush In

Sometimes bloggers or prolific social media users may appear like they could be an influencer at first glance. For example, they could have thousands of followers on twitter or millions of likes on facebook, but this doesn’t mean they are actually engaging their audience. Look at the quality of comments on your potential influencers blog posts, look for retweets on twitter, and look for shares on facebook. These are the signs of an influencer.

If you’re uncertain of a potential influencer’s position, you can always look up their Klout score, This is a rating of how engaging they are online. Anyone with a score above 60 is worth pursuing.

Don’t Overshoot The Moon

Obviously celebrities are influencers, but the chances are they won’t have the time to mention your products or services, no matter how great they are. Start with local influencers rather than national ones, because they will be more likely to have time to work with you.

Start Small

Don’t go in for the hard sell straight away. Start your relationship with your influencer by showing you appreciate their content. Share their blog posts and comment on their blogs.

Do Your Homework

A lot of influencers will get a mailbox full of emails every day from people who want to form a relationship with them. Therefore, lots of them have a section on their website or social media site that explains the correct way to approach them. This may be in their About section or their Press section, so make sure you look for it before getting in touch.

Follow Up

Once you have the attention of an influencer, don’t lose it. If they mention your product on their media streams, email them to thank them and retweet or share their efforts among your own followers.

Attend Events

Never underestimate the value of meeting someone face to face. Try to attend networking events where you think your influencers might be. If you’re not sure where to start, look into the professional association for your industry. You can find a list of them on Wikipedia – it’s that easy. There will always be at least one influencer at an association networking meeting. The local Chamber of Commerce is also a great resource when it comes to small business networking. You can find out more about events via the Chamber of Commerce website.

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