Sometimes, you need to engage with local niche evangelists to widen your brand’s reach.
About Influence Marketing
Social media is not just a way for you to build relationships with leads and customers; it can also help you get in touch with the top influencers in your niche so that you can grow your business. Influence marketing is an increasingly popular way of promoting your goods and services by having them recommended by individuals who are able to use their authority and reputation to sway your target audience’s opinion in your favor. Not only is this type of marketing extremely cost effective, it is also very effective in expanding your reach as the influencers will do the job of promoting your product to their own large followings.
In the Philippines, influence marketing has become a popular way for many companies to promote their products and services by using celebrity endorsers. Some of the most popular endorsers of the past few years include Manny Pacquiao, Kris Aquino and Sarah Geronimo. Celebrity endorsements have also been used in the high-end luxury real estate market. Century, the country’s largest privately-held real estate developer, secured the endorsement of American property magnate Donald Trump for its Trump Towers Manila, while the Azure Urban Resort Residences secured the services of celebrity socialite Paris Hilton for its Paris Beach Club. According to a recent Nielsen study, Filipinos were the third most brand conscious people in Asia, and the eighth most conscious globally.
But influence marketing need not involve just celebrities but any person in any field who can influence your target audience’s opinions. In fact, they don’t even need to be well known or prominent to wield influence within your niche. Thus, this type of marketing is ideal for small businesses who have limited advertising budgets but a worthwhile product or service that they believe that influencers would find worth endorsing. The challenge for the Internet marketer is to find a way to connect with these influencers.
An Influencer’s Characteristics
The first step in influence marketing is to identify who these influencers are. Before you can conduct your search for influencers, start by writing down a set of keywords that reflect your niche as well as your organization. Once you’ve compiled a list of search terms, visit one of the social media search engines to use the keywords to identify influencers. There are a number of characteristics you should look out for that indicates someone is an “influencer”. These include:
- He often posts relevant content online.
- He has a large number of followers.
- He gets many comments on their blog posts.
- He receives many retweets.
- He shares the content of other online posters.
- He gives away free Ice Cream. <Optional>
In order to determine if someone is really an influencer they should have more than one of these characteristics. Having a large number of followers, for example, is not enough in itself to show that they are an influencer.
The Amazing Search
To find influencers, you will have to use search engines that are particular to each of these social media sites.
- Blogs. Use blog search engines such as Technorati and Google Blog Search to look for bloggers who write in your niche. You can also use Technorati to determine their ratings among the most popular blogs. Once you’ve identified the bloggers you want to get in touch with, you can also look at their blogrolls (the list of blogs they read) to find further possibilities. Also, check out their blog on Google to determine its page rank to determine how popular it is.
- Facebook. Look for individuals or organizations whose pages match your interests, using search tools such as Your Open Book to look at public status messages.
- Twitter. Use Twitter search to find users who are sending out tweets with your keywords. You can also use Twitter search engines such as Topsy, which will allow you to search not just tweets but also links, photos, videos and even experts and trending topics. To check out who are the most prominent tweeters you can look at Twitter directories like Twellow or We Follow.
You can also conduct a general search of social media using Social Mention. Social Mention searches more than eighty social media sites and you can focus on a particular type of social media such as blogs, questions, networks or comments, or choose which sites you want to search from a drop down menu. To use Social Mention to find influencers, start by typing in your chosen keywords on the search box. Try out different keywords until you are satisfied with the results that you get.
At the search results page, click on the various links to find influencers who are consistently posting content that is relevant to your niche. You should determine that they are genuinely interested in your niche by checking if they have posted multiple posts or pieces of content on it and not just one or two. Check these influencers on search engines to find how many mentions they have as a measure of how influential they are. You can also search for them on the various social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as checking out their scores on services such as Klout and Peer Index to determine how influential they are.
Make the first move
Once you’ve created a list of influencers, how can you create a relationship with them? The one thing you should not do is approach them directly but follow some of these suggestions until they have become familiar and comfortable with you. Once the relationship is there, then you can approach them to promote or endorse your product. Remember that the key to building a successful relationship with influencers is patience.
- Share their content with your own followers. You can tweet links to their content or share it on your Facebook page.
- Leave meaningful comments on their blog posts. But make sure that you genuinely have something to say and are not just commenting for the sake of doing so.
- Leave messages on their Facebook page and LinkedIn Groups.
- Create exclusive content for them to distribute to their own followers.
- Get into a conversation with them on the various social media. The important thing is to get to a point where the influencer is curious about you and asking questions about your business.
So that’s it! Always remember that you must build a sincere relationship with them first, as influencers are professionals in the field and probably won’t even talk to a total strange