Last week, Facebook announced a new tweak to their algorithm. Organic reach for Business Pages is going to be even less, and, also, ad prices will be going up.
As marketers, our relationship with Facebook, once a reliable source of traffic for much of our marketing efforts, is getting, as the kids say “complicated.”
Add to that the fact that there is; it seems a new social network is popping up every day. Do you join them all? How do you know what’s “on fleek” and what’s last week’s news?
Social media marketing is getting more complicated and more frustrating all the time.
Witness the rise of influencer marketing over the last few years.
If you’re unfamiliar with influencer marketing, it’s when you, as a business, work with an influencer, who is someone who has a decent following (though it doesn’t have to be a huge following) with a niche, engaged audience. The idea is, the influencer brings the audience, and you bring your product or service to the influencer to introduce to that audience.
There are tons of advantages. First of all, you don’t need to build or grow your audience (or you can use this kind of marketing while you build your audience), as the influencer has already done that work for you. Secondly, we know that people make purchasing decisions based on the recommendations of people they trust, so if you can get an influencer to recommend you, it’s going to lead to sales, if not immediately, then down the road. But how does influencer marketing work?
First off, you have to see who’s out there talking about your field. Let’s use the example of a small business that manufactures baby shoes. Who’s your target market? Young moms, of course. Start with a google search of mom blogs in your area. Generate a spreadsheet that lists their stats; name, blog URL, email address, how often they publish, their social media followings, and what kind of engagement they get. Alternatively, you can use a platform like Sidebuy, which holds a searchable database of influencers to find the most relevant ones in the fraction of the time. Next, subscribe to their blogs, and follow them on social media. Comment, interact, engage, retweet, like. Once you’ve established a relationship with the influencer, then you can send them your pitch. But it’s really important to establish a rapport with the influencer before you start asking them to share your content. It’s also really important that you have aligned values. For example, my blog is dedicated to primarily vegan and vegetarian recipes. It would be pointless to pitch me to write a recipe that involved meat.
Here are five different ways you can work with influencers.
1) Sponsored Content
This is the most popular way that many businesses are using to work with influencers. You send them a pitch, and ask them if they might be interested in working with you. “Working with you” can run the gamut from you supplying them with free products and services, to you supplying them with free products and services as well as paying for the sponsored content.
If you pitch a blogger an idea, and they say yes (without being paid), you need to have lower expectations. You can’t “make” an influencer post about your product or service if you only offer them freebies. However, if you pay the influencer, then you will have guaranteed placement. That’s sponsored content. It’s up to you, your budget, and the negotiation with the influencer to decide.
I specifically use the words “sponsored content” here, although, for the most part, you will most likely be pitching bloggers. But Vloggers, Instagrammers and Snapchatters with engaged audiences are all also great bets.
2) Brand Ambassadorship
A brand ambassadorship is a long-term sponsored content relationship. You engage with an influencer, and they get product or services for free (usually payment as well) for a series of months. In exchange, they post about your business on a regular basis. I was, for example, a Cheese Ambassador for 3 months last year. Each month, I’d get a cheese delivery, and I was responsible for posting about it on my Instagram 4 times a month. SPUD has a very successful ambassador program.
3) Affiliate Marketing
Many influencers love affiliate marketing, because it gives them the opportunity to make money recommending products they love, anyway. Amazon, for example, has a fantastic one. If I need a special tool or pan to create a dish on one of my blog posts, I simply link to the Amazon page of that tool. If one of my readers buys that item, I get a kickback. For you as a business, you can set up your own affiliate marketing program, and pay influencers a percentage of the sales they generate.
4) Event Promotion
As a blogger, one of my favorite things is getting invited to events. It’s understood that I am being invited to eat/drink/enjoy in exchange for generating social media content. I often get invited to restaurant openings, launches, conferences and hotels, and I tweet, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook like crazy while I’m there, generating tons of content for the business. If you have a concentrated amount of influencers at a party, imagine the kind of reach you can generate! Be sure to have a unique hashtag for your event so you can track all the generated content.
5) Social Media Takeovers
most popular these days with Instagram and Snapchat, takeovers are a great way to introduce yourself to an entirely new audience. Here’s how it works: the influencer posts on their Instagram or Snapchat that they are doing a takeover, and they tag your business in the post. Then, for a pre-established period of time, they take control of your account. For Snapchat, it’s usually 24 hours, for Instagram, it can be longer, like a weekend, or even a week. The influencer posts their photos to your account, and usually, there is some kind of theme like perhaps the influencer is at a big music festival, and they take over your account during that time. It’s advantageous, because it introduces you to a new audience, and it gets new, interesting, fresh content on your account, as well.
Influencer outreach can be a powerful marketing tool for you and your business. Brainstorm some ideas today, and start reaching out to bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers. Your brand growth, and most likely sales, will be the positive result.
Written by: Rebecca Coleman