Remember creating relationships doesn’t happen overnight. Imagine if you proposed on the night of your first kiss. Probably a bit too much, a bit too soon. Integrity, honesty and patience are key to building any relationship whether personal or professional.
Brian Solis advises starting off an influencer marketing program with a pilot campaign.
Before reaching out to anyone, develop a list of pros and cons for each authority based on their work or activity to date to qualify a core set of individuals who are likely to become part of a pilot campaign. The individuals you choose should offer a notable balance of reach, reputation, relevance, and resonance. — Brian Solis
Start by contacting these initial influencers using plain and clear language briefly introducing you and your business. Explain why you have contacted them and highlight how what you’re sharing will bring benefits to them. Remember the concept of borrowing ‘social capital’, it all depends on being able to offer your influencers something in return. This has to be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Of course we have to achieve our goals and objectives but once we identify our influencers and we figure out and what they’re about, the next questions to ask are ‘What do they like to do? What would make their lives easier?’ Just knowing what your influencers like to do and how they like to share that’s going to shape your program in a much better way. — Deirdre Breakenridge
As Deidre highlights it is incredibly important to understand your influencers and what they like to share on the web. You can then tailor your content to suit. In the case of our fictional car company, Prezla, the team identify the automotive influencers that like to tweet concept images, compare statistics and attend exclusive events, so they start preparing collateral to be able to offer this.
Remember each approach should be different. Try to tailor your content and the way you present it for each influencer you engage. Research from Hanley-Wood Business Media found an incredible 78% of consumers felt that brands that create unique and personalised content are more interested in building a true relationship with them.
When I’m developing an Influencer Marketing campaign I tend to look at all different types of influencers in the space and include a mix of the the ones who like to participate in webinars, take part speaking opportunities or accept content for their site. If you truly understand your influencers it is easier to engage with them. — Deirdre Breakenridge
Treat this outreach as an ongoing conversation. There’s no end result, just closer connections built over time. During your outreach you should be keeping track of your interactions with influencers in a CRM style system and ranking them by the level of engagement with your brand. Here’s an example of how you might do this:
- The starting point before your influencers knows about you or your brand
- Initial contact, when you’ve reached out but haven’t yet received a reply
- Your influencer acknowledges they’ve received your message
- Your influencer starts asking interesting questions
- Your influencer amplifies a message you’ve shared
- Your influencer turns into an advocate by supporting you without a prompt
The turning point is at level 4 when your influencers start asking interesting questions. This shows they are engaged and interested with what you have to say. This is the beginning of building a real relationship.