10 steps to rocket your small business brand with influencer marketing
Chapter 8 of the digital marketing strategy guide
Hey, I just wrote a poem:
Are you dead?
Are you alive?
What’s your ROI?
I can’t help but to cry
Digital marketing is no longer an assortment of esoteric practices delivered by a wizard. Digital is becoming more human in the sense that it’s becoming easier to understand as long you are a human with a satisfactory level of emotional intelligence. This ‘humanness’ is exemplified by the huge popularity of influencer marketing, which is currently one of the most effective ways of maximising your brand awareness on the internet. It is as simple as working together with people who are followed by your target audience and getting exposure across their following.
So, if you have a few million dollars you can pay George Clooney to promote your yoga studio. This might book your studio up, but for George you will simply become yet another source of income. In fact, influencer marketing is often associated with big brands paying Instagram influencers to ‘push’ their product, but as it evolves it becomes more versatile and interesting than that, and you can definitely benefit from small business influencer marketing strategies.
Far from spending millions on consolidated influencers, at Gozen Media we have realised that the most effective influencer marketing strategy is to organically develop a relationship with people based on the law of reciprocity.
You too are an influencer
If you have been following our approach to content marketing and link building, you will already know that in the digital age your brand is also a content creator that delivers specific messages. This makes you an influencer, even if it is among your existing customers.
At the same time, influencers offer services to brands so they are effectively brands themselves, which means that the border between influencers and brands is increasingly blurring.
What do I mean by organic influencer marketing?
Most brands offer influencers money in exchange of visibility by default. This way they get a bunch of extra visits. Some of these visits fall in love with them, but most forget them quickly unless they are paid again to feature the brand. Calculating the ROI of these activities is difficult, and since the covert advertising exploded on Youtube, influencers now need to disclose commercial relationships with the brands they take payments from, which makes it no different from paying Google to appear on their search results.
Benefits of organic influencer marketing
- Improves brand awareness
- Builds links, so it is great for SEO
- Offers a gateway to information about your target audience
- Builds trust: your brand is working with people and the more organic the relationship is, the more organic it will look. If you can avoid it, you don’t want to look like you have paid these people to place your brand on their content. Although disclosing a commerncial relationship can be effective, not everyone likes to be sold to.
- Non-transactional relationships with people: we tend to neglect the value of this, but without these, you might never have other profitable relationships in the future.
Influencer marketing checklist
I used to go the Gary Vaynerchuk way and send templated emails to lots of people, but it didn’t work out unless I reached out to about 200 people. In this case, about 10 people would share my content and talk about whatever I wanted them to talk. You can play this numbers game too, and by all means, delegate your outreach. I personally wasn’t patient enough for that approach plus I hate spamming people.
At Gozen Media we now use a proven system to reach out and develop relationships with influencers. Of course, you cannot script a relationship, but these are some points to get you started, save loads of time and track results.
I promise you this system will open up several conversations with interesting people. We are having a response rate of around 60% with the emails I send, and I am engaging in collaborations at a rate of 30% of the people I reach out to.
1. Identify 10 influencers
There are a number of ways you can find them. Use Followerwonk (based on Twitter following and keywords) to find influencers within your niche. Find relevant blogs on Google and then check Similarweb for their traffic and stats. Go to big websites within your niche and check for guest contributors, then follow them on Twitter and find their content. Find people with big followings through hashtags on Instagram.
I always make sure they have a blog with a decent Domain Authority (DA), because this way I also open the door to backlinks.
On a spreadsheet, put their names, their websites and their social stats.
2. Share their content on Twitter
Don’t just retweet them, instead, go to their blog posts, read them and share them on Twitter tagging the influencer names. This will put you under their radar.
3. Respond to questions on Twitter
Influencers like to ask questions to their audiences, and the interesting thing is that many times they don’t get many answers, which is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself and do something they will appreciate.
Pro tip: Go to their Twitter or Facebook feeds and find (cmd + F) the ‘?’ symbol
4. Comment on their blog
Their blogs, unless massively popular, won’t have many comments, so another opportunity here to shine.
Pro tip: ensure you can leave comments before reading the content you plan to comment on!
5. Send compliments
It can be a good idea to send them an email thanking them for their content and adding a small positive remark about the value of their work. My friend call this ‘licking butt’. I don’t blame him, and I know that also he loves to get his butt licked.
6. Point out broken links
You can do them a quick SEO service by identifying broken links on their websites with broken link checker and sending them an email inviting them to fix the issue for a better user experience and SEO crawling.
7. Ask them to share your content
Now that you are under their radar and have shown them your good intentions, you might consider sending them an email with content you have recently published, asking them to have a look at it to get their feedback.
8. Suggest blogging for them
The relationship becomes a little bit more intimate. You can now suggest writing a piece for them and getting a bio link back to your website, but make sure you send them instances of your writing.
9. Have a Skype conversation
As an expert in your industry, you can invite your new friend to have a chat over Skype and share some ideas. A face to face meeting can help them confirm you are a real person with a real smile.
10. Continue the relationship
Here is when the system explodes and it is time to enjoy the relationship in a more spontaneous way.
Now move on to the next 10 influencers.
Using a system may at first feel artificial. What I have found is that by studying an industry very well, this process becomes way easier and you will send more legit and interesting emails that will catch influencers’ attention. Better than just saying ‘Hy X, great post J’.
Would you be interested in influencer marketing? We can do this process for your small business and increase your brand awareness exponentially. Contact us for a quick chat.