The relationship between influencers and brands isn’t new. Once businesses realized that an online influencer had the potential to reach hundreds, if not thousands (and dare I say, millions?) of consumers, there was a shift to reaching out to work with these new media savvy individuals. It was a great idea all around until the expectations of both parties started becoming vastly different. As influencers continued to grow these new businesses of theirs, there was a shift to more of a business-to-business approach rather than an influencer-to-business approach.
When looking for influencers to work with, it’s helpful to think of them as a business. For any business you would partner with, there are certain criteria you would need to know. All influencers are not created equal and learning about who these men and women are is your first step in having a successful campaign. Consider that any influencer you work with should fit into the mold of your ideal customer. You want them to love your product or service and genuinely want to help promote it.
When it comes to online influence, there are a few different types of people you might consider working with.
There is a lot of overlap with the above. Make sure you connect with the people who are active on the types of platforms that speak to your brand the best. And how are you going to find the best people to work with? Try some of these old-fashioned networking tips.
If you want to really connect with influencers, there is no substitute for an in-person meeting. Attending blog conferences is a great way to meet influencers and gives you a sense of their personality and presence and will help you make decisions in terms of who to work with. Don’t discount attending other events as well: Chamber of Commerce meetings, local craft fairs, movie previews, home & garden shows. Chances are there will be influencers around who are actively looking to work with your type of brand.
They don’t call it social media for nothing. Get on Twitter and Facebook and get to know people. See what they are posting about and start a dialogue with some people you think might be a good fit. Have a visual brand (clothing, makeup, etc.)? Pop onto Instagram and Pinterest and find some great photos. Pay attention to photos or other links that pop up over and over again. Go find out from whom they originated. Those are the people who you may want to speak with first.
You’ll never really know if a blogger will be a good fit for your brand if you don’t see what type of writer they are and what other brands they have worked with. Obviously if you are looking to promote your soda brand, you don’t want to work with someone who has a health food blog. Be mindful of their family dynamic. Don’t pitch baby products to a blogger who has teenagers.
As a blogger myself, I get pitched daily to work with brands that aren’t a good fit for me. I generally will respond with, “Thank you for reaching out, but this product isn’t a great fit for me right now. I’d love to hear about other products you are promoting.” If you get a return email from a blogger, make a note of it and definitely keep them in mind. These are the bloggers you want to work with, if not now, then at a future date. They are respectful and honest. They also deserve a follow-up email letting them know you will keep them in mind for future opportunities. Keep the dialogue open.
Communication is a two-way street. Just because most business is conducted online these days doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort to reach out and get to know the people you work with.
Carolyn authored the chapter on networking in the Social Fabric/Collective Bias ebook “Down the Rabbit Hole”, a 440-page bloggers’ playbook. For more information and to download your copy, click HERE.
Carolyn has been blogging for 8 years at her lifestyle blog, This Talk Ain’t Cheap, and is the co-founder of SoCal Lady Bloggers, a support and networking group for over 900 women in Southern California. She has led monthly workshops educating bloggers and businesses on various social media topics and is currently a Campaign Leader with Collective Bias. Connect with her on Twitter @CarolynRWest.