How to Make the Most of the Influencer Marketing Trend on a Restricted BudgetApril 10, 2017
In the last four years, influencer marketing has exploded as a trend, being searched 100x more than before.
Source: Google Trends
Sixty-six percent of marketers have claimed that influencers were central to their content marketing strategy in 2016, according to a survey conducted by Chute.
Considering the facts, you might worry that you’re late to the party. Do any of these concerns sound familiar to you?
- Most influencers are already working with big brands—there aren’t any left for me.
- Influencer marketing is too expensive for small brands.
- Even if I did invest in influencer marketing, I wouldn’t be able to establish ROI.
You can put these concerns to bed, because each of these assumptions simply aren’t true. At best, they’re excuses. At worst, they’re myths that underestimate the flexibility and breadth of influencer marketing.
Ask yourself, when scouting for influencers to work with, do you often view their follower count as a primary qualifier? Do you consider influencer marketing the same as landing a celebrity endorsement?
Guard yourself from these myths and remember that a massive follower count isn’t synonymous to influence. Moreover, by banking on follower count, you risk eliminating potential micro-influencers.
Who are micro-influencers?
As Eti Nachum, CEO of BlogsRelease defines them as anyone with a follower count of <10,000 who possesses the ability to drive action within your niche is a potential micro-influencer for your brand.
Super fans, happy customers, employees, and influential bloggers all fall within this category.
How to identify and catch the attention of influencers
There are several ways to find and connect with influencers in your niche using existing tools and resources. Consider the following tactics for engaging them in a natural way.
1. Add super fans to Twitter lists
According to a study conducted by Ogilvy and Google, 74% consumers are influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations.
This is why your super fans, or the people who regularly interact with your content make for some of the best brand ambassadors. Since you can’t account for and manage interactions with all of them easily, you can use Twitter lists to keep track.
Create labeled Twitter lists of 15-20 people. It is important to note that for public lists, the people you add get notified of the action with the name of the list, so choose fun, warm, ice-breaker names names that can act as the perfect beginning to a relationship – like Twitter guru Madalyn Sklar does.
You can also create private lists to track users without them knowing, so you can manage relationships with prospect customers or influencers.
Ensure that you interact with people on those lists on a regular basis.
2. @mention bloggers when you share their content
You can earn a substantial amount of website traffic if someone mentions you on a good publication. Instead of outright asking users to do that (which they might decline, especially if you have no prior relationship with them), you can stay top-of-mind by sharing their content regularly and encouraging them to warm up to you over time.
You could do this manually, or use a tool like Zoomph to reduce time and effort. Using Zoomph, you can conveniently search social channels for specific mentions, hashtags, and keywords to identify influential authors. You can simultaneously track top posts around specific topics to discover new content and bloggers to retweet and engage with on a regular basis.
You could also use Twitter lists to accomplish the same goal. You simply have to visit your Twitter list and engage with posts that your prospective influencers have shared.
The difference is that Zoomph’s analytics tools will help you find new bloggers to interact with, whereas Twitter lists will give you access to people who have already interacted with your content before.
How to work with influencers and co-create/co-promote content
You can activate micro-influencers to co-create and co-promote content with you. To get influencers to partake in content distribution, you have to motivate them accordingly, or give them ample cause.
Sharing their content is a good motivator, but you also have to ensure that their ideals align with your brand’s, and that they’re intrinsically interested in collaborating with you.
1. Create products/ personalized communication targeted at a passionate group of consumers
Today’s savviest brands use audience insights to find their niche among a larger market space. Many even cater their product roadmap to a specific group of users, casting a small, deep net rather than a wide, general one.
For instance, One Plus, a new player in the smartphone market, launched its flagship series with features intended to attract passionate tech enthusiasts (a quad-core processor etc.).
As a result, these tech enthusiasts, some of whom are owners of popular blogs and YouTube channels, proudly promote the phone to millions of their followers – completely free of cost!
In his popular TED talk, marketing guru Seth Godin speaks more about how you can stand out and target your product and communication to focus on smaller, but high-potential target groups.
When creating content, try creating in-depth guides that speak to very specific groups of your audience. For instance, if you are a digital marketing agency, create a social media marketing guide for educational institutions or banks instead of doing a less-specific one for everyone.
You may find that by speaking directly to a specific group of people, you’ll get a higher response rate and more easily convert them into buyers–or at the very least, get them sharing your content.
2. Run a social media campaign designed to activate brand advocates
Back in 2013, Miles Scott’s Make-a-Wish request shattered Make-a-Wish’s website’s records and made it crash. With the hashtag #batkid, the brand advocacy campaign drove Make-a-Wish’s donations through the roof, creating awareness and helping his dream come true all at once.
Stories are powerful communicators, and you can use them to run brand advocacy campaigns to reach larger audiences.
Share a story on your social media page that may resonate with potential advocates, or create something fun that your audience can reuse and get creative with.
For instance, Chobani ran a “Share your love for Chobani” campaign in 2011, and created one heck of a brand advocacy campaign. Participants were required to share a story, love song, or other expression of love for Chobani in any creative form on social, then have their friends vote on it for a chance to win a custom Chobani case.
Maker’s Mark also has a brand advocacy program that gives advocates access to exclusive tastings, customized barrels, and even business cards! They don’t have to ask their influencers to talk about them–their unique rewards program takes care of that.
You don’t have to invest a lot of money! Back in its early startup days, form-building tool Wufoo created handmade Christmas cards for their customers and found that some of their customers actually looked forward to receiving those letters each year!
Case in point: sometimes it’s the small things that charm people and make them want to talk about your brand.
Other quick social campaign ideas include:
- Running a good old affiliate program that you can promote on social and use to drive sales. You’re bound to see this attract advocates given that your offering is exciting and you have an engaged social media following.
- Requesting fan art. Fan art is an especially great idea for engaging people in the creative/entertainment space. Do you have a mascot that people (at least a decent numbers of customers) know and love? Inspire them to create fun stories around him/her and increase brand awareness in the process.
Influencer marketing is such a wide niche that you can leverage without resorting to conventional, expensive formats. With the right tools and creative content strategy, you can work wonders for your brand.
About the Author
Disha Dinesh is a Content Writer at Godot Media, a leading content agency. Her interests include social media and content marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s on the hunt for social media trends and inspiration.