The Internet, and more specifically social media, has changed the game when it comes to marketing your brand. Sure, there is plenty of ad space to be had, and for a price, it’s yours. But is that the best place to spend all of your marketing budget? The consumer trust factor with banner ads and the like is low. Instead, more and more brands are looking to social media influence. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are the ones people are turning to for word of mouth recommendations from those they trust, and those who have other influences over their spending habits. In order to build your brand, you will need to identify and secure those with the most influence over your potential customers.
Locate and Identify
Your first inclination may be to seek out anyone with a huge amount of followers. This may be a possibility, but there is more to think about than quantity. Someone may have a million followers on Twitter, but this doesn’t necessarily make them a good influencer of your particular brand. Firstly, they may be popular to follow, but poor to trust. Secondly, they may just be overselling. They could be charging for promotional tweets or posts, and the audience realizes that. This may help to make your name heard, but it may not lead to more sales. You may be just one of many advertisers that the influencer simply tweets or posts without showing any trust in the product. Their audience will recognize that. Instead, look for quality. Find bloggers with a trusted name, perhaps with a smaller number of followers, but who are all very engaged. Finding a blogger, tweeter or Facebook poster who posts about or to people who would be interested in your brand is even better. There is your target audience, listening about your brand from someone they trust. The number may be smaller, but they are more relevant. And lastly, locate your customers. Ask them to review of post or tweet about your product or brand, if they are satisfied customers.
Court Your Influencers
Now that you know which influencers you’d like to promote your brand, it’s time to get your feet wet. Start by following them, and continue by reposting or retweeting them. Leave posts or tweets on their page, but hold back from talking about your brand. Talk about their posts, and leave well thought out replies. Be as helpful to them by sharing and retweeting their views as you would like them to be with yours. Don’t go too quickly and be too obvious, but once you feel you have engaged yourself with the influencer, try sending them an email. Tell them how you like their blog, and about your brand, and if they would like to be a genuine influencer of it. Offer them your product(s) to sample. Some may charge for their influence, so be prepared for this.
Locating, identifying and courting the influencers can be a bit of a long process, but well worth the effort.