So you’ve read everything we’ve had to say about Influencer Marketing. You’ve seen the stats, crunched the numbers, and seen how it has helped other brands thrive. You’re eager to take the next step and start leveraging this exciting approach to social media marketing, but there’s one problem: you’re not quite ready. After all, we’ve emphasized time and again how important the right approach is, and that you need to define a reasonable budget, set clear goals, and find the best Influencers to work with.
So what do you do if you’re not quite there yet? What if there’s not enough left room in your budget to dedicate to an Influencer Marketing campaign? Or if you’re just not sure that Influencer Marketing can help a brand in your niche? Is there a way to test the Influencer Marketing waters without jumping in with both feet? Of course!
While we definitely believe that brands will get the most benefit from an organized, structured Influencer Marketing campaign, we know that there might be good reason why you’re just not ready to take the full plunge yet. But we’d hate to see you miss out on this incredible opportunity to reach your market in a genuine, authentic and effective way. So we’ve put together a few tips that might help you get a good feel for how Influencer Marketing can impact your brand.
Be a Good Follower
We spend a lot of time focusing on Influencers, but the real power behind Influencer Marketing is their following. After all, these are the people – your potential customers – that you want to reach in the end. To understand followers, and what they want, you should be a follower yourself. Find Influencers in your niche, and follow their blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, podcasts, and Instagram accounts. Engage with these Influencers and their followers – ask questions, provide answers, give feedback. It’s not just a good way to build visibility within the community, it’s a great way to talk directly to your market and position yourself as an expert. It’s also a highly effective way to learn more about what your followers are saying, what they care about, and what they’re looking for in the brands they choose.
Pay Attention to the Influencers You’d Love to Work With
Following Influencers is also a great way to get insight into what makes them so successful. Influencers all have their own unique style, voice and approach, and paying attention to these qualities can help you understand better why they have such an impact with their followers – and how you can have an impact, too. The point isn’t to imitate, but to analyze and understand. Does your market seem to respond best to Influencers who infuse humor into a serious subject? Are they most excited by those who share in-depth information about how to use products to make their lives easier? Do posts about price and value seem to fare better than those focused on status and prestige? Paying attention to what Influencers are talking about, and what their audiences are responding to, is a great way to gain insight into what you could be doing differently, or more of, in your own campaigns.
There’s another benefit to this approach: once it’s time to launch a full-scale campaign, you’ll have a head start on working with Influencers in your market, with a great rapport and relationship already built in.
Become an Influencer Yourself
There’s nothing stopping you from going out and becoming an Influencer yourself; in fact, we recommend it even if you do launch a full scale Influencer Marketing campaign. Influencers build their followings by being part of the communities they hope to influence, so it only makes sense to do the same. Create content for your audience first, with your own goals secondary. Share content created by Influencers and others in your industry.
This is a great way to establish your brand as an authority in your niche – participate in forums, Twitter chats, Reddit AMAs. Develop a brand personality that is natural, engaging, and appropriate for your audience, and seize opportunities to show it off. Monitor social media for mentions of your brand and keywords related to your niche. Answer questions even if the answer doesn’t point back to you. Look for Influencers who are talking about your products and services, or those who are talking about issues related to your industry. By looping them into your own conversations, you can start to harness the power of Influencer Marketing even before you begin an organized campaign.
Take the Plunge
Of course, once you get a taste for Influencer Marketing and the impact it can have, we’re pretty confident that you’ll realize that it’s time to focus on starting a full-fledged campaign. With 59% of marketers planning to increase their focus on Influencer Marketing in the next year, you won’t be alone. In fact, you’ll likely to discover that it’s a crucial strategy for keeping up with your competition.