Credibility is an integral part of marketing, with a lack of trust doing irreparable damage to a business. Organizations spend huge sums building brands that evoke a sense of quality, integrity, and other positive feelings. It can be difficult, though, for new and small businesses to create a brand name that speaks for itself. Competition for attention online leads to rising advertising costs and difficulties gaining search engine prominence. However, one solution that combats these problems and offers instant credibility is an endorsement from an influencer.

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What is an Influencer?

An influencer, as the name suggests, is a figure who holds influence over a particular group of people. Each market typically has a number of influencers who have gained a following due to their knowledge, expertise, track record, or charisma, often developing their reach through blogging and social media. Influencers become trusted sources for groups within a market, so their recommendations can be more significant than a traditional advertising campaign. Recommendations from these sources are also used in conjunction with common promotional tools like paid ads, giving more credence to the advertising message.

Connecting with Influencers

Many businesses struggle to connect with influencers, so they end up missing out on valuable promotional opportunities. By following some simple techniques, though, it is possible to increase your chances of forging a solid relationship.

Do Your Research - The most important part!

Many marketers struggle as they send generic messages to anyone with a large social media following or popular blog. Impersonal messages will usually be easy to spot, so they can be discarded without further investigation. Before you attempt to contact anyone, do some research to find out who the influencer is, what their industry angle is, how they like to communicate, and anything else that will make reaching out more successful.

Please please take the time to research their digital numbers and credibility. A lot of people buy fake followers and engagements like Retweets to fool businesses to think they are popular and influential. If you are not sure how to vet influencers, please contact me for a consultation to show you how to do this easily and cost effectively.​

Build a Relationship

Your first contact doesn't have to be a promotional request. While you might be reluctant to invest too much time into a speculative contact, the success rate will usually be far higher when you take your time. Responding to social media posts can get you noticed, while referencing the influencer in a blog post goes a step further.

Once you have the influencers attention and they show a genuine interest and necessary expertise for your business and industry, make the time to build a solid relationship. No one likes to be treated like a number or feeling like the brand is demanding all the support and action but are not offering much in return. Attention to detail!!

Even the smallest things can make the biggest difference in building a good genuine relationship with your influencer.​

Offer Some Value - not just a free t-shirt!

In the early stages of developing a relationship, offering value will be more impressive than most direct marketing requests. You could add thoughtful responses to blog posts, converse with others in the blog comments, offer to fix an error you discover on their website, or recommend some further reading related to their interests. Most people will be asking questions, requesting help, or looking for promotions, so offering value will make you stand out from the crowd.

Please DO NOT approach an influencer with some generic email blast offering them free swag for their time to work with your business! You ruin your reputation this way. Influencers get bombarded with offerings daily in their DM's and emails. Influencers also value their time and the hard work they've put in in building their audiences, don't insult them. Will you work for a free T-shirt and access to a $15 account? I don't think so!​

Provide Clear Information

Aim to make the process as clear and easy as possible for the influencer. From the initial communication to any subsequent agreement, avoid writing long and complex messages that take time to work out. There are times in marketing when you need to be lengthy and thorough, but developing a relationship with an influencer is not typically one of those occasions.

Make the Process Simple

As with communication, any actions should be simplified for the influencer. If you are providing a guest post for their blog, include the article, author biography, and any necessary images. If they are promoting a product, offer to compose an email for their list and make any affiliate registration straightforward. Try to streamline all actions, avoiding any complications that will leave a negative impression of the process.

Follow Up to Maintain the Relationship

Ideally, you can maintain a group of partners who will promote you consistently. In most product launches, for example, a small number of influential people make the bulk of sales due to their email, social media, and blog followings. Follow up with each influencer after the promotion has finished, maintaining the relationship through good communication and finding ways to continue helping them.

Prominent personalities in all markets will face a steady flow of communication from businesses. If they have access to an audience, it is natural for marketers to want to gain their attention. Showing you have taken the time to understand what they do can make a big difference, while it also avoids asking for something before a relationship has formed. Many of these simple tips will help you stand out from the marketers using automated messages that fail to engage. You will still, however, face some rejections as your business might not gel with each influencer. But the success rate from a considered outreach campaign should get enough of a response to start gaining your own credibility and influence within the market.

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Adel de Meyer

Social Media Strategist | Live Streamer
Adel de Meyer is a New Media Specialist, Brand Influencer, Author and Mentor based in Brisbane Australia. Adel is listed as a Top Digital blog, Top 20 Social Media coach and Top 100 Marketing Influencer of 2017 and has worked with many global brands some including Hootsuite, Pitney Bowes, Adobe, Brand24 and Huawei as a Brand Influencer. Adel regularly writes articles on analytics, influencer marketing, technology and personal branding with some of her work seen on The Next Web (TNW) and Business 2 Community.Adel works closely with global SMB enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Personal Brands by using Social Media and Technology to captivate their audiences. Adel is recognized as a leading Instagram and Twitter Influencer on Social Media and Business in Australia. She loves coffee and creative minds!