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No matter how many people you feel like your business is reaching, there is always the potential to tap into a bigger audience. For many, this is the focus of their marketing strategies, but they are unsure what steps they can take to increase website traffic and brand awareness. Chances are that you have tried many different tactics to accomplish those goals, but many companies have yet to get seriously involved with influencer marketing.

What Do we Mean by Influencer?

Every industry has people who could be referred to as influencers. Whether it is in fashion, entertainment, food, or business, each industry has people and websites that help lead and communicate with different groups of consumers. Fashion blogs or sites have writers who share the styles they love with their readers who then try to add the suggestions to their own wardrobe. In the restaurant industry, a review by a food critique or blogger can give one establishment a bad reputation or pique the interest of hungry locals.

Influence Circular Word ConceptEach different area is going to have their own examples, but the one thing that remains the same is that they all have influencers. These individuals have a lot of sway among certain groups, and if they are in your targeted audience, an endorsement from someone they respect and admire can go a lot further than most link building strategies. Also, search engines are actively calculating author authority, meaning more weight is placed on sites that have an established following and continually put out good content.

Finding an Influencer

Chances are, if you have been in an industry for a few years, you know which blogs, sites, and voices your buyers are following. If you need more help in finding some of the most prominent ones, your best bet is to start with the basics. A quick Google search can help you find these sites, blogs, and social media accounts that have a good following, but there are other tools that can help.

Picking an influencer is a little more difficult. Your buyers are all most likely very different and looking for ways to meet various needs. If you sell an electronic gadget, an IT guy may be interested in it for reasons that are totally different than a parent looking at it for their child or teen. Who, exactly, will your influencer resonate with?

Monitor your customers to figure out who you should start to contact. If you are looking to boost your sales or reputation with your teenage audience, you are going to need to write to someone who has the most influence over that demographic. On the other hand, if you are trying to position yourself as a thought leader, you will need someone with a different history and following.

Establishing the Relationship

Even if you have a steady following of 2,000 followers, influencers likely have several times that. By forming a partnership, you have the ability to reach a much larger audience, marketing your products or services and boosting your brand awareness. There are several different things they can do to help you out:

  • Write a blog post or an article about you
  • Share information on their social media accounts
  • Have you guest post on their site
  • Participate in an interview for your site
  • Refer their community to your site if they have specific questions
  • All or a combination of the above

This needs to be a relationship that benefits both parties, so start off with an attitude of give and take where you offer to help promote their stuff as well. Even if you do not have a large following, it is better to begin showing you are not expecting free help. Other tips for avoiding common pitfalls:

  • Outline the goals and expectations for both sides clearly, including what will be done and when.
  • Create high-quality work for their sites with the same time and attention you want from them.
  • Only pitch to influencers who are relevant to your product. If they have never written about anything close to your business, don’t keep pushing the deal along. The placement and recommendations would be ridiculous and unnatural.
  • Clearly say how you are going to measure the success of their endorsement.
  • There is a point when influencer marketing becomes something closer to celebrity sponsorships. In these cases, you may have to provide a little more compensation than just sending traffic back their way. Before going down this road, you need to be sure this will be beneficial.

A Fresh Start

Influencer marketing can change everything for your company. When you are looking to get a bump up on the search engine results list or giving your followers a great place to get information, find a great partner and adapt your marketing plan.