Influencer marketing is rapidly becoming a mainstream marketing tool despite it being a not-so-new concept. Interest in the concept has surged more than 90x since 2013 according to Google Trends and Google Keywords.

Deloitte carried out a survey which explains these surges, it reported that 47% of millennials say social media influences their purchasing decisions, with another 73% that consider it their responsibility to guide family and friends towards smart purchase decisions.

Marketers know that it sometimes can be an uphill struggle getting customers to reach the point of entering their payment details for a product. This is where online influencers who have public trust can help.

Finding Potential Influencers

The first step in finding potential influencers that a mutual beneficial relationship can be created with is to look in trending topics related to your niche and brand. An example of this can be seen with bodybuilding supplement manufacturers, in order for them to increase their brand awareness and upscale sales they need influencers such as fitness Youtubers.

Influencers can also be found by searching online sites such as BuzzSumo and LittleBird or using software such as inPowered and Traacker. These allow the connection process to be started by finding trending content based on keywords and the top influencers behind them. Through the lens of their social followings and engagements, the weight of a particular influencer can be understood.

Research into the most frequently used hashtags by social media monitoring is something else that can be done to find the best fit among influencers. Google alerts is another great way of keeping track of the latest news/information of certain keywords.

Customers have been found to more than likely to accept recommendations from a respected and trusted personality than adverts. They often trust recommendations from a third party more than a brand itself. This is the main reason why when looking for an influencer, not just to promote your product with passion.

When an influencer that seems right for your brand has been found, a long-term, results driven relationship needs to be established. This can be done by:

  • Sharing and commenting on their posts, including blogs and social handles. This kind of engagement with them is the best way to grab their attention.
  • Writing an irresistible pitch and sending it to them.
  • If the first attempt to reach the target didn’t work, following up and trying again, focusing on format, tone, timing and content is key.

Marketing to Influencers

The key to gaining influencers is to market to them first. If the influencers love your product it will be a lot easier for them to promote it. This means that how you present your product or service to an influencer really matters.

Relationship building is a massive part of influencer marketing. Gaining visibility for your product or service by developing rapport is very important. This marketing approach focuses on individual influencers who can range from niche bloggers to well-known celebrities rather than masses of people.

An influencers opinion must always be respected, giving them creative control and respect will acknowledge that they’re influencers because people trust, respect and listen to them.

Marketing With or Through Influencers

Once an influencer has been found marketing to the target customer through or with the influencer is the next step. Information about both can be seen below:

  • Marketing Through – With this method you are creating awareness by showcasing your expertise, service or product using an influencers platform. Usually this is in the form of guest posts. Alternatively hosting the influencer on your platform is another option, be this a special interview, podcast or feature.
  • Marketing With – In this case you want the influencers as advocates. To do this, in one or more of their posts or tutorials have them talk about your product or service, or maybe a review. Use of influencers can be taken even further, using them as a reporter, connector or spokesperson.

Whichever way you use it, influencer marketing is a sure-fire win. A study conducted by Tapinfluencer jointly with Nielsen Catalina Solutions reports that in 2016, influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.