Social media is a constantly evolving entity. When it works, the very nature of the platform is quite reciprocal. In order to keep the conversation going online, people need to participate and engage. Individuals who have mastered the art of online engagement end up becoming influencers. Influencers are online personalities that have already attracted a mighty following. They have an established brand with their social media and they keep present in order to remain credible.
Influencer marketing is becoming a hot topic in social media due to the fact that these powerful personalities already generate quite a bit of traffic. Being able to tap into that is akin to taking an already established audience and then directing a spotlight onto you. This is especially vital now that the social media platforms are adapting their algorithms to combat the massive influx of new content. This makes it even harder to really establish presence for entrepreneurs or business owners that do not already have quite a bit of engagement.
Top influencers online are making six figures or more. Typically, these influencers are experts on a certain topic or within a niche. Often they hit it big on one particular social media platform and really hit a stride, amassing millions of followers. The more attention they receive, the more top brands want to sponsor, advertise or promote their brands because that is where the crowd is. Influencers have mastered to art of permission-based marketing and have a built in audience, eager to read/view/listen.
Forbes Magazine released an article on the top paid YouTube influencers in 2015 and they are getting paid anywhere between $2.5 and $12 Million a year simply posting videos on their branded channels. The top Instagram accounts, in terms of followers, go as high as 25 Million followers. Many of those accounts are established celebrities, but there are plenty of unknowns with 4 Million or more fans in the rankings. Each platform has its own list of stand out personalities and all of us have a list of personal influencers we follow on social media because their message resonates with us in some way.
Networking Made New
Social media is fairly new and hitting its stride in terms of popularity. However, certain aspects of marketing haven’t changed. This includes the importance of establishing and building relationships. The principles of networking and who you know are still relevant online and in social media. Today, it is building those connections with influencers that have the most impact. It is often too easy to get stuck in a competition mindset and look at what other brands are doing with envy. A better approach would be to view it as an opportunity to collaborate with an established expert and engage their repertoire of like-minded followers at the same time.
Making a Connection
First, it’s essential to define who the appropriate influencers are. You may already have some ideas since they are brands that you either follow or see regularly while working your own business. Make a list of influencers that will have a fan base that matches up well with what you are promoting.
Once you have your list, it is time to figure out where they tend to hang out. What platforms are they on the most? Which of those sites sync up with what you are already doing? It hardly makes sense to spend a bunch of time learning a new platform, that you don’t enjoy using, simply to access an influencer. If you don’t like the fast pace of Twitter, you shouldn’t be forcing yourself to spend time there.
Follow your chosen influencer(s) on the platforms you do participate in. Then begin engaging them. Like, comment, share, favorite, mention and all the other social media functions that promotes online engagement. Start building a rapport and relationship with them. Online conversations are vital to their online success and they will want to engage people who are authentic and genuinely interested in interacting with them. This is where you build not just a connection but trust as well.
The next step is to come up with ways to collaborate. Guest blog on their site. Ask them to do an interview for yours. If they are participating in online streaming, show up for some of their blabs or scopes. Share their content and incorporate their concepts in some of your own content. If you are creating high quality content and have a connection, the influencer will be sharing your content to their audience in no time.
Be certain that you don’t come off too pushy or fake. Being authentic is key here. If it seems like you are more interested in promoting yourself than in building a relationship, an influencer will be less inclined to be reciprocal. This is also going to require some patience. There is a lot of noise on social media and a lot of people vying for the same amount of attention. If you are expecting success within the first week you will be setting your business up for disappointment.
Making influencer marketing a part of your social media and content strategy is a great way to organically increase audience and engagement online. This type of following will be more profitable than purchasing a following of robots or fake accounts that will do nothing for your brand in terms of engagement.