Have you heard about the ‘3/90’ phenomenon of the internet lately?
Here's what it translates to; Just 3% of individuals generate 90% of the impact online!
And who you might ask, does this 3% of people comprise of?
Well, these three percent are none other than the ‘INFLUENCERS’.
Influencers are those celebrated few; topic experts, thought leaders, brand advocates, journalists, bloggers, industry analysts and successful entrepreneurs, who are on the top of their game, and possess the capacity to influence your buyers’ decisions.
Take for example names like; Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Joe Pulizzi, Neil Patel, Jay Baer, Jeff Bullas, Ann Handley, etc. These individuals, because of their (perceived or real) knowledge, authority, position or relationship, have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others.
‘Influence Marketing’ or ‘Influencer Marketing’ is the marketing strategy that works on the premise of building good relationships with the influencers, whereby they in turn will put out a good word for you, share your content or brand to make a positive impact in your business, and increase your audience reach.
And why take the trouble of additional work with Influencers when you’re already running a good Content Marketing Plan?
- These influencers have a huge audience following them on Social Media networks and online Forums.
- Their audiences are already receptive communities of individuals who trust their ideas and recommendations.
- It’s a cost effective marketing technique, which helps your content get found and consumed by a bigger reach of audiences, and boosts the chances of increased traffic, leads and customers.
Love a good stat? Take a look at this…
The Content Marketing Institute illustrate the value of Influence Marketing;
- 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands.
- According to a Tomoson poll, 51% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing.
- A May 2015 study found that 84% of global marketers expected to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign in the coming years, and 81% of those who had already done so reported they were impressed with the results.
- According to a Burst Media study analyzed by eMarketer, brands saw an average ROI of $6.85 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing.
How can we connect with these influencers and harness the power of Influence Marketing?
1. Feature Influencers in your article/blogs
This technique involves featuring your chosen influencer as an expert in your article. This would give credit where credit is due and they would gladly read any flattering snippets of themselves.
To do this, take a quote from their posts or use their definition for any inbound marketing terminologies and create a hyperlink to that text. Or maybe try emailing the influencer asking for a quote, which could also work if you pitch your email appropriately.
If you’re bold enough, you could also request them to contribute to your article. This can be a little tricky, as you have to be of influence yourself. A neat way to do that is to come up with a popular topic, then have a bunch of experts have their say (a couple of hundred words), regarding their experience. This works if there is some incentive for them too - a relationship which is built on ‘reciprocity’.
2. Collect their testimonials
Let’s say you’re coming up with an amazing e-book on ‘Influence Marketing’. But before you put it out for your main promotion, you share the content with the chosen influencer/s and collect a testimonial from them raving about how great the content.
After that, you can insert the testimonial with a picture of the influencer, or however you feel like promoting – on to your Landing pages to act as a catalyst for compelling downloads.
A request to the influencer to Tweet the testimonial within his/her network is sure to create a sizeable buzz and inbound traffic. However, you need to make it easy on their part by crafting a ‘Lazy Tweet’ for them, which they can simply share under their handle with a click.
3. Look out for their Hangouts and contribute
If you can find out where they hang out, and create content in those communities, the influencers would definitely check be reading. There's a high chance for them to link to the content in the future, if they find it intriguing or useful within their context.
Sites like Reddit have features where if a post is liked, it can also be upvoted. If your piece of content gets upvoted and rises to the top, many linkers would see it – creating an opportunity for engagement with multiple influencers.
Similar platforms would be Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups, where you can search for your topics of interest such as ‘Content Marketing’, ‘E-commerce’ or ‘Web Design’ and find chat rooms or forums to connect with influencers.
4. Build your ‘favour’ bank – Reciprocity
This technique rests on the principle that if you do something for someone, they are most likely to return the favour.
Similar to blog commenting, video review garners a much bigger value to the influencers. If they have authored a book or any e-book or course you like, you can create a positive video review for them. A video is sure to stand out and is a lot more authentic when it comes to convincing prospective buyers.
Once you’ve made the video, you can email the author saying how you love the book and have created and uploaded a short video review (for example, Amazon kindle books customer reviews).
You can also nudge the linker to your blog post and ask for his/her take on the topics you’ve covered.
If you'd like more food for thought on Influencer Marketing, please refer to the infographic below with ideas from Influential Marketers.
Image courtesy: HubSpot
Influencer Marketing can take your Content Marketing efforts to great heights. But it can only be achieved by putting in the required time, effort and focus towards creating quality content, and in building positive relationships with Influencers and your prospects.
To get started, think about the influencers in your fields, follow them via social media and start reading their articles and follow their links. You can then make contact by commenting, sharing and asking questions directly – thank you Social Media.
Gather what you can from their knowledge and look at creative ways to incorporate it in your next blog, article or feed. Be sure to link the readers back to them and credit them for the knowledge offered to “influence” you.
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