Your business, your brand, your cause, your products, and your services – they may be the most awesome thing to hit the Internet, but they ultimately mean nothing if people never find out about them.
You want your reach to go beyond your personal network.
Let’s be honest: we can only reach so many people on our own.
Our sphere of influence only starts growing exponentially when we partner up with other influencers.
They draw in their sphere of influence and then somebody new will draw in their sphere of influence and on and on it goes.
This growth model becomes even more incredible when it is used on social media.
It is vital to the growth and success of your business to reach out to social media influencers.
Not convinced yet? You will be.
Who are Social Media Influencers?
If you are not sure who qualifies as social media influencers, here is a general overview of who they are and what they are doing:
- Social Media Influencers are active on social media, especially Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (but also Snapchat, Periscope, Google +, and LinkedIn).
- Social Media Influencers leverage their networks to give awareness to causes and brands, creating connection between their sphere of influence and you.
- Social Media Influencers are both authentic and trusted; their followers know they will only recommend causes and brands they both love and believe in.
- Social Media Influencers are powerful for their network. They don’t simply have hundreds or thousands of followers; they have hundreds or thousands of dedicated followers.
- Social Media Influencers are people who can build relationships for you. Since we know the value of not only building numbers, but also building a community, these influencers are an integral part in creating that community for you organically.
If you are going to put the time and energy into finding and working with social media influencers, you will want to know exactly what you will get out of that time and energy. Here is a rundown of some of the fantastic benefits for your brand:
1. Your Audience Will Grow
You will receive new visitors that you would have most likely otherwise missed out on, and you will receive more engagement from people who will want to be invested in your brand due to their trust in somebody else’s stamp of approval.
When you choose influencers in line with your message, not only will you gain the measurable value of new visitors and engagement, but you will also gain the value of people who are genuinely interested in what you offer.
Example: BirchBox has found massive success with their social media director, Rachel Jo Silver. With her lead in connecting with social media influencers, BirchBox has made a wild splash in the social community, leading to new visitors, engagement, reputation, and sales.
2. You Will Generate Leads and Sales
Social Media Influencers will help you craft a solid experience with a new audience by sharing their own positive experiences. This promotes good reactions, which leads to generating increased sales.
As you grow your audience, you will naturally begin generate more and more leads (read: more sales!). Remember that each influencer you work with brings their entire audience along with them. This is priceless!
Example: Steph Sterjovski and Sephora – Steph Sterjovski’s Instagram account has 180 thousand+ followers, and she connected those followers to Sephora by showing her favorite lipstick shades for fall.
3. You Will Increase Your Credibility
When you have a community of influencers, they help accelerate your credibility. If a potential customer or client sees how many people are connected in your brand’s social media community, they will gain confidence in connecting with you too.
When a big influencer gives your brand or cause a stamp of approval, they have provided you with an instant positive reputation.
Example: Naturebox partnered with Joanne Goddard from A Cup of Jo, a beautiful blog that greatly impacts women (especially mothers) – the perfect client for a company that sells healthy snacks. Instantly, other women (especially mothers) wanted in too!
How does it work?
So you know the why behind working with social media influencers, but now it is time to examine the how. This can be the step that trips people up from time to time – how does one even go about finding and working with these influencers?
Here is what you need to do:
Step #1: Find Influencers
- Search your online circles / contacts. Find people you already know who can be a fabulous source of social media influence for you and your brand? Find your contacts in your niche with a nice social media following who already love to offer suggestions to their sphere of influence.
- Do social media research. If you want to find social media influencers, you will be able to find them on…you guessed it…social media! Research your niche and see who is already interested in and sharing your topic.
- Utilize tools such as Traackr. Traackr is an awesome service that helps you discover and connect with social media influencers. They also offer services to measure your growth and outreach.
- Pick the right influencers for your niche. The most important thing to remember is finding influencers who are right for you. It will not matter how large their sphere of influence is if all of those people are not interested in your specific niche.
Step #2: Contact Influencers
- Pitch them individually. Everybody wants to feel like 1 in a million. Contact each potential influencer in a personal way. Take the time to make a connection.
- Use mutual connections. If you know somebody your social media influencer is already connected to, you will already have a natural basis for your connection.
- Get to know them. If you want to grow your influence on the platform of social community, you need to become that social community in every way. Communities are built the same way any relationships are. Plus influencers will be more apt to work with people they feel close to and familiar with.
- Keep it simple and casual. Reaching out to a potential social media influencer does not have to be a huge ordeal. You only need to send them a quick, friendly message talking about what you do and why you specifically want them to be a part of it.
Step #3: Provide Value
- Repurpose influencer content. If influencers take the time to create content (Facebook posts/tweets/Instagram photos, etc.), you should in turn take the time to repurpose their content for your brand and give them the credit.
- Offer exchange. Great success will come by offering to give something in return for what your social media influencers will give you. This can be products, monetary compensation, exposure, discounts, etc.
End of the day, why does it matter?
It comes down to numbers.
Numbers do matter. We need them to track progress and to aid in making decisions. Numbers don’t lie and here is what they have to say about the benefits of working with social media influencers:
- 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions.
- 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads.
- Study by BazaarVoice 2012 found that earned media drives 4 times the brand lift of paid media
- 51% of Millennials are more likely to be influenced by earned media
- Influencers sharing your content can lead to a 3 to 10 times increase in conversion rate!
- 20% of women will consider purchasing products supported by influencers.
You can see why accessing and working with social media influencers can make a tremendous splash for your business, brand, cause, product, or service. What is the first step you need to take this week to begin working with social media influencers?
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