This post is directed towards people who are looking find new ways to reach new customers, be it small business owners, solo entrepreneurs, a big enterprise or if you’re someone like me, the marketing manager of a SaaS platform with a user base of 16 million users.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research lately about Influencer Marketing.
Yes they are two different things, reading and researching.
We’ve already mentioned about Influencer Marketing being a prominent Marketing Trend in 2018 in the blog link mentioned below; which I obviously want you to click and read through.
I didn’t restrict myself to just theory though. I decided to move into the wilderness and started interacting with people that other people said are influencers.
Why did I exactly do all this?
I wanted to experiment if Influencer Marketing actually could work as a Growth Hack. The hack being for our blog and see if we could get more reach and more visitors in just a week.
In this whole process I made some keen observations which you will read about below like instead of Influencer Marketing people should focus more on Influencer Relations.
I was able to nail down few things that worked for me in increasing the traction on our blog; and I believe will work for you.
Bonus: We will be debunking some myths about Influencer Marketing and find the real authentic ways to get your service to new customers.
Reading further, we’re going to discuss
How I Created My Influencer Marketing Strategy
- How To Find Influencers
- How To Connect And Reach Out To Influencers
- How To Spread Your Idea Using Influencer Marketing
- How To Monitor The Effectiveness Of Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
1. How To Find Influencers (On Twitter)
Influencers are people that have a lot of followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and have a lot of likes on their Facebook page.
Because it’s extremely easy to click a good and professional profile picture and then buy a lot of followers.
It’s not necessary that influencers need to have thousands of followers. Influencers are the people who have to have the right followers and the right amount of interaction with them.
Now in my journey to find the right influencers I wanted to be sure that I’m spending my time and effort with the right people because, well, time is something that no one can get enough of.
How did I find the right people?
I’m going to break this down into a series of steps
- Searching the internet
- Using tools
- Making a List
Searching The Internet
The first thing I did was go to Google and search for ‘list of social media influencers’ and ’top social media influencers’. This helped me in one way, I was able to narrow down who I wanted to talk to and what was my niche.
This way I was able to do more advanced and targeted searches about what I wanted to find.
Note: I haven’t yet found the influencers I want to talk to. I just know my niche.
Now that I have my niche, I can easily search for topics like ‘content marketing influencers on Twitter’.
Let’s break down this search.
‘Content Marketing’ because I want to find influencers related to that.
‘Influencers’ because that’s who I am looking for.
‘Twitter’ because it’s a platform that I am active on and according to the search results, these people are too. So it’s extremely easy for me to connect with them.
Now that I’ve found the niche that I want to interact with, it’s time to find the right influencers, the right way.
Well my first choice was Statusbrew, because I know almost everything about the application and I know how to use it to do what I want.
As a matter of fact, we wrote another post helping customers do the same. Which, again, I obviously want you to click and read.
Statusbrew helped me in first segmenting the users according to the keywords in their bio and then sort them on the basis of their followers. Then the most important part, it allowed me to filter out the profiles that did not have much activity by using the ‘Tweets per Day’ filter. It’s important for an influencer to be active.
Then my next choice was Buzzsumo (which, by the way, is a great way to find niche related content too, as mentioned in this video).
Why did I mention Buzzsumo here or why did I find it useful is because of 2 things:
- Not because it allowed me to search for people that were influencers in that domain (I already did that with Google) but also because it had a metric for domain authority that helped me make an informed decision about which people should I talk with.
- It also showed me the content that these influencers recently shared. This helped me understand if the content that I was writing was really up their alley or not.
Now Buzzsumo was based on Twitter statistics and their influence over that platform. So just to be sure about other platforms, I used two other tools.
Klout, gave me an easy option to just signup and connect my social profiles. Through Klout, I was able to search for topics and find people that were experts in that domain along with their influence score over all the Social Networks.
Klear let me filter out the people based on different criteria like Social Networks, Influence, Skills, Location, Skill Focus and even Audience Age. This I found particularly interesting because this way, I could find the influencers that were in the right demographic.
There was Kred. Apart from the other information like Influence score, it gave me an outreach score which was helpful because it told me how likely were they to share my content. It is similar to the ‘Tweets per Day’ filter that Statusbrew offers.
Now I particularly knew everything there was to know about my Influencers. All that was left to do was making a list.
Making a List
This was the final step I did in my research. I compared all the influencers that I had found in the different tools that I used and I compiled a list of all these influencers.
Now this list was not just any another list. I categorized the influencers in my list based on my ability to interact with them, the Social Network they used prominently, their interests, the type of content they shared, their influence score and their expertise.
This made it extremely easy for me to find a new influencer to connect with based on how I might want to connect with an influencer in future.
To help me organize this list, I looked no further than Google Sheets. Here is a template of the list that I made. You can use it to make your own list of influencers:
Some of the influencers that were in my list were:
- Neal Schaffer (Influence Score 95)?
- Mark Schaefer
- Rand Fishkin
- Jay Baer
- Mari Smith
- Joe Pulizzi
- Sam Hurley
- Lilach Bullock
- Ann Handley
- Michael A. Stelzner
Now that this list was ready, I took off my thinking cap and started contacting these influencers.
2. How To Connect And Reach Out To Influencers
Talking to an Influencer is difficult. You don’t get replies to most of the emails or Tweets.
Influencers are actually very active and they make it a point to reply to almost every mention to them. One reason why they are influencers are because they talk to everyone. Networking is a big part of their lifestyle, online and offline.
I don't claim to be best friends with all of the people I've mentioned above but I've exchanged some words with some of them. My aim was not just to see how Influencer Marketing works but to really focus on Influencer Relations. And let me tell you the people I've had the pleasure of talking to (Neal, Mark and of course Sam), are amazingly humble and responsive and knowledgeable. This does not mean that the others are not like that, it's just that I haven't had the chance to talk to them yet.
First things first, follow them all. Yes, all of them. This will customize your feed with the content that these influencers post.
I know there is a temptation to like and reply to every post that these influencers do but trust me, don’t do it. Interact with the content that genuinely invokes you to interact with it.
Why be so selective?
Because this will help you understand what interests do you and that influencer have in common.
How exactly did I approach it?
I broke everything down (reverse-engineering) and recorded it. There were 4 things that I did
- Record what I liked
- Answer some questions
- Find topics to talk about
- Assign these topics to influencers
Record What I Liked
Every post that I engaged with, I copied the link and pasted it in an excel sheet under the name of the influencer. These links were again meticulously organized based on the media that the link had and the posting times.
Answer Some Questions
With every post that I engaged with, I tried to answer some questions that would tell me more about why I liked that particular post. The questions that I tried to answer were these:
- What made me interact with it? Was it the text, image, GIF or the Video?
- Did the interactions of other people with the post affect my decision?
- Did the information I have about the influencer affect my decision?
- Is the type of content that I usually interact with?
- What would be the one thing in this Tweet that would make me not interact with it?
This helped me in understanding some things. It told me what was the vocabulary that the influencer and I had in common and what were our shared interests. Doing this will tell you the common grounds that you have with the influencer and will help you connect better.
Find Topics To Talk About
After I broke down what I had in common with the influencer, I tried to list down the topics with which I could start the conversation.
Something that you have to take care of while doing this is that when you decide the topics, you should have some authority on the subject so that you can have a decent conversation with them. Which is important because adding value to them is something that they are looking for.
Assign These Topics To Influencers
Now that I have all the topics, I assigned the topics to the influencers based on their area of expertise (the information I got while I was looking for influencers).
Everything is ready for you.
Just start talking to them on the topics that you decided on the posts that they published about the same topic.
One more important thing to remember while trying to connect with the influencers is that you have to first provide them the value that you can give. Tell them why it makes sense for them to talk with you.
Yes, this is the research that goes into sending just one message.
3. How To Spread Your Idea Using Influencer Marketing
Once you’ve connected with an influencer, you can ask them to share your content whenever you want.
Influencers are thought leaders in a particular niche and they will only share the content that they feel is right for their audience because their audience is a big part of their influence. The best you can do is to provide value to them.
The people that you call influencers spent scores of months and years trying to get the audience that they have right now and curating their feed to provide the right value to their audience.
You have to make your content worth it to be a part of the content that they share. Or to even mention you somewhere.
How I tried to do it is by understanding their audience and what is the type of content that they share?
I again went back to Klear (the tool that I mentioned above) that gave me the demographics of the audience of the influencer. This way I was also able to bring the topics into the conversation that their audience cared about.
Apart from bringing up the topics in conversations, I posted about the same on my Twitter feed. I talked with them and I waited for them to just show any kind of an interaction with my posts.
It was an indication that my content was being seen by the people that I want to see.
It wasn’t my objective to ask them to share my content but to just embed this idea that I cared about the same things that they cared about.
Now all that was left for me to do was to keep on sharing ideas and hoping that something will click with them.
Posting consistently was important.
Pro Tip: Use Statusbrew's Browser extensions to schedule content that you read anywhere on the Internet on your Social Networks.
Every piece of content that I shared was an educated guess backed by a lot of stats. Don’t forget this part.
4. How To Monitor The Effectiveness Of Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Influencer Marketing always works the way you want it to.
Influencer Marketing works but not always the way you want it to. You cannot control the way the influencer decides to endorse your product and how the audience interprets it.
You’ve read almost 2100 words till now and it’s important to not let it all go to waste. But how do you make sure that it does not? How do you know that all this research and effort actually worked?
The answer is simple, by keeping a track of your objectives.
Again, this is a link to a blog that we’ve written and by now I think you know what to do.
All you have to do is create a roadmap. From where you are right now to where you want to be. Set up milestones and see which metrics you should measure that point to the KPI that you have set.
Create special links for your content that you share with the influencers so that you can measure the clicks on that link.
To do this you can use Bitly and Google Campaign URL Builder (you can measure analytics for these links directly from your Google Analytics Dashboard).
I personally prefer using Google Campaign URL Builder because I can use the same link to create multiple campaign links to share with different influencers or for any other purpose that I have in mind.
Okay! Now comes the moment of truth.
Not that bad eh!
As you can see that there is a definite growth in the blog visits and the engagement.
All the things that I mentioned above were a part of my strategy but I did not implement it as a full fledged campaign.
I am not exactly friends with the influencers that I interacted with but just conversed with them over a couple of tweets. So my goal with all these activities was met, I know for sure that Influencer marketing definitely works as a Growth Hack.
Influencer Marketing is not a One-Time thing. You have to keep interacting with them and form relations because that is what marketing is about in the end.
You can have different goals like you want to increase viewership from a particular demographic, so you should measure the new visitors from that particular demographic. Or if you want to increase engagement on your posts, Twitter analytics will should be the right thing for you.
Over To You
I’ve shared what worked for me, despite not implementing in full stretch. Research says that marketers are beginning to spend more on influencer marketing and taking it more seriously.
If you’ve tried Influencer Marketing, I’m curious to know how it worked out for you. Or if you haven’t I’m still curious to see how the above steps will work out for you.
Also, I’m always here to answer any questions that you might have.