How to Find & Develop Relationships with Social Media Influencers

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably read my posts on how unit publicity helps indie film, great advertising campaigns and tips on great tools to use to help manage social media and save time.

But with the rise of influencer marketing and platforms to help you manage said campaigns recent years, I’ve been asked about the best ways to develop influencer campaigns affordably.

If done correctly, influencer campaigns can drive word-of-mouth marketing and consumer growth, leading to influencers becoming brand ambassadors for companies. Brand ambassadors can help to generate fun and engaging organic content for your brand on a consistent basis, lead campaigns through email, social and advertising and help to elevate events you participate in.

In order to avoid missteps and choosing someone just based on their number of followers, make sure you outline goals you want the influencer campaign to accomplish and do your research on influencers.

With this post, I’ll be focusing on how to develop a plan for influencer marketing campaigns and how to find the best social media influencers for your brand.

Developing a Plan for Influencer Campaigns

As mentioned earlier, working with influencers can help to put a face to your brand and humanize the company. But how do you go about creating a plan to find influencers and run marketing campaigns with tangible goals?

You want to thoroughly plan out what you’re looking to do. Are you launching a new product or service? Is it an event you’re attending and/or organizing? Is it a promotion/contest you’re looking to gain more entries?  Who are you looking to influence to pay attention to this news, attend these events or enter a contest?

If you’re looking for an influencer to share a video helping to promote your indie film fundraiser, are you prepared to offer them exclusive tickets to the world premiere or a media screener with a small gift? What about offering them a chance to tour the set of your next film or perhaps a cameo on screen?

If you want an influencer to write a blog post, review your product or hype up an event, you have to think about what you’re willing to give influencers in-kind. Are you going to be sending them different products to review 3 times/year? Will you have exclusive VIP events that they’ll be invited to? Are you expecting them to post 4X/promotion via Twitter, Facebook and perhaps do an Instagram takeover for an event?

Once you have the general framework for influencer campaigns in place, you can tailor it to suit specific campaigns for certain influencers.

Next, I’ll be focusing on how to find the best social media influencers for your brand and the tools you can use to make it easier.

Finding the Right Social Influencers 

The right influencers can help you reach more of your core demographic by allowing you to piggyback on their follower base and they can also increase your SEO value by developing more backlinks to content you’ve posted.

As you search for influencers, you need to consider the criteria you’re looking for:

Relevance: Is the influencer is sharing content and do they have an audience that’s relevant to my brand? Would my own audience trust this person and be engaged with the content?

Reach:  Does the influencer have enough of an audience that the content we create/promote together will bring my brand value?

Make sure you also do your outreach slowly. Don’t approach influencers right off the bat with an offer of a brand partnership. Start by following them (if you’re not already), comment on conversations they’ve having and share their content.

 

How to Find Influencers Using Tools You (Probably) Already Have

On LinkedIn

As LinkedIn is already a great platform to discover secondary connections through groups and your own connections, you can use the search function to also find influencers. You can search for keywords such as “indie film” and “food bloggers” and pull up secondary connections that are relevant to your industry. Send them a message about their content (make sure you do your research about what they do) and ask them if they wouldn’t mind having a chat about it. Be honest about how you found them and start the conversation.

On Twitter

As you probably know, Twitter’s advanced search function is useful to look for the latest news items and notable Twitter handles. Pulling up any search using hashtags will allow you to see who’s talking about a certain subject such as #indiefilm or who identifies as a #techblogger. From there, you’ll have an idea of who is sharing content relevant to your brand and you can start following them, sharing their updates and making an effort to engage them in conversation.

Twitter’s also a great platform to find micro influencers among your own fans as well. Your own fans are already interested in your brand, so it’ll take less effort to convince them to work with you. Fans are already promoting your content and your brand without prompting, so why not make it a mutually beneficial partnership by formally giving them perks to help hype an event or write a review of some of your products that you’ll gift to them? Of course, fans being interested in and supporting your brand is only half the story, their audiences also have to be relevant to your company.

On Instagram

Looking through your Instagram followers is also great way to find micro influencers (you’d want the reach to be significant-between 1,000-10,000 followers). Take a look at what your followers are posting about, including the reach of their posts and if they’ve been sharing your updates. If they’re consistently posting about food & wine, indie film, sports/fitness and your brand is in those industries, they might be interested in partnering with your company.

Just like on Twitter, you can also search for influential hashtags such as #organicfood, #organicbeauty or #MMAfitness. You’ll get a list of top photos using any of those hashtags that have the most likes. Take a look at the accounts that posted these photos and see if they’d work as a micro influencer for your brand. If you’re a fitness brand or gym facility, you could consider giving them free passes to your facility to try out training and a few classes. If you make organic sauces, marinades and spices, consider giving the influencer a gift basket to try out your products and ask them to make a few of your tried and tested recipes.

 

Using Other Tools to Help Discover Influencers

FollowerWonk is a tool that can help you find Twitter influencers and you can add the first profile for free. Once you sign up, you can click on the ‘Search Bios’ tab and look into the advanced search options. You can tailor the search results based on location, number of followers and whether you’re searching for bloggers.

The social authority column is the best indicator of how influential someone is as it combines the number of followers with how much influence they wield over the followers. If you see low authority numbers that means they don’t engage their own audiences and aren’t worth your time.

Lastly, BuzzSumo is a great tool to help with influencer marketing. Though the pro option will set you back about $79/month, you’ll be able to search for Twitter influencers using specific keywords.

The number of followers will give you an idea of an influencer’s reach and the retweet/reply ratios will keep you informed of the influencer’s engagement rates. You’ll also be able to find influencers, bloggers, companies, journalists and regular people. You can also organize results by followers if you’re interested in reach or retweet/reply ratios. Sorting the results by authority will give you a good mix of reach & engagement. Those who have high page authority are seen as experts in their niche.

Let me know if you have recommendations for more affordable ways to find influencers & manage influencer campaigns! Keep it posted here for more content on marketing, PR and social media tools.

Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies: An Overview to 500 Million Strong

In the years since I started using Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with loved ones, promote my clients, share my interests and writing as well as engage in conversations with industries I am passionate about (interior design and tourism, being two of them); I’ve always wondered where I would be able to get valuable and concrete information on how to improve my presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, without resorting to outsourcing my social media presence to companies or individuals.

Seminars on social media I’d attended in the past yielded little results; save for a few different portals such as ping.fm that I could use to schedule updates.  Certainly, these sites are useful, but these seminars didn’t give me tools or tips that I could use on the actual platforms themselves, like the LinkedIn website.

As someone who already has their hands full engaging in discussions on LinkedIn, connecting on Twitter and currently working on building a Facebook business page; I wanted something-a workshop or seminar that could give me tips to utilize the existing websites better.

Enter the Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies Webinar hosted by Sean Malarkey and Lewis Howes that I attended last week.

What made this webinar different from the other seminars? Well, for starters, Sean has over 10 years of experience as a real estate investor and was the first in his industry in his hometown in Ohio to use Twitter to increase real estate sales. He created Twixplode, an e-book with tips and tricks on how to make Twitter work for you. Lewis wrote an e-book called LinkedWorking on how to make LinkedIn do the work and establish connections for you.

Here are some of the tips they shared with me to help maximize the potential for connections, jobs and sales on the 5 major social media platforms:

5 Step LinkedIn SEO Challenge

1.       Search for relevant keywords (ie. If your business specializes in marketing, search ‘marketing’) to see if you are first in the search results.

2.       Add the keyword(s) in your profile headline

3.       Add the keyword(s) in your current and past work experience

4.       Add the keyword(s) in your summary

5.       Add the keyword(s) in your specialties, raising your profile in the LinkedIn search rankings for that specialty

Twitter

1.       Build a network of targeted people (ie. if you’re an interior designer, target architects & real estate agents)

2.       Save time by using tools available (ie. HootSuite & TweetDeck to monitor tweets/conversations and publish tweets for several profiles at once)

Facebook

1.       Take anything off of your Facebook profile with no value (ie. ‘Likes’, notifications of comments on other peoples’ pages)

2.       Keep conversations on your page

Blog

1. Content !! (Could be daily or weekly, even reposts of blog posts you liked, but must publish often)

2. Add an E-mail Capture feature on the blog as a call to action

3. Social Sharing (Easy, Accessible links for people to share on Facebook, Twitter etc.)

Maximizing YouTube

1.       Make Your Video Title Keyword Rich in Your Niche (ie. Top Color Trends in Interior Design) (Use Adwords to search for keywords with high search traffic and low competition)

2.       Add Your Video Description First

3.       Make sure your website link is the first part of the video description.

4.       Have tags and annotations for your video

 

For further information, Sean and Lewis have created a comprehensive social media marketing course called 500 million strong.