Sahail Ashraf posted on 18 October 2017
Everyone knows the value a brand can see when influencer marketing becomes integral to how they operate. Get the right people involved and you have the chance to pull together a marketing juggernaut, evangelists who work hard and come complete with their own set of followers. It’s very much a big part of the social media story, and it will continue to change.
The rapid changes mean that if your client is looking into influencer marketing, or perhaps wants to widen its part of the process, knowing how to attract and retain influencers is vital. We have come up with some strategies that can be used. Put together, these approaches should make your client’s brand irresistible to influencers.
There are a few caveats that need to go along with this method, but it is still the most often used approach. In a way though, you should only find that money has to change hands with the true rock star influencers, and it might be a good idea to focus on financial reward for those influencers who have more than a million followers. If you’re going to pay a lot of money, you need to ensure you have a pretty good chance of gaining real exposure.
It is also worthwhile remembering that some influencers may not have quite an attractive reality behind them. It is so easy these days to pay for followers, and if you are handing over large amounts of money for a top influencer, it is always important to carry out some kind of assessment on their profiles and presence online.
If they have two million followers on Instagram, for example, just take the time to check these followers out, or at least ask them to give some kind of evidence of the engagement they have received from this apparent large audience. Make the effort to carry out checks and you should find that spending money becomes a lot less stressful.
Some influencers out there have built a business around what they do. This is no problem, they can carry a lot of weight and have an ROI that is equal to a standard marketing team. But if they are successful, always ask for a fee list. Whatever you are intending to use them for, ask for a run down of prices before you sign anything. If it is in black and white, it can’t be changed.
Everyone likes to be special. It is one of the few desires that all humans share. Even influencers have feelings. By making them feel like they are special, and part of an exclusive group, you will be giving them a return that will appeal to them.
One of the very best ways of making someone feel special (and therefore tapping into their influence) is to offer them a membership into your inner circle. If you don’t have an inner circle yet, that’s no problem. Create one.
Grab together a bunch of people who share the same contacts and leverage you have in your field. This gives the group or collective some level of exclusivity. Once you have this mini social network together, with all the contacts, you can create a group around it. As long as the potential influencer is excited by the thought of joining such a group, it is a worthwhile exercise, and if you pitch it just right, you can use that group as a way to incentivise influence.
You may know people in your industry that will benefit the influencer by way of contacts, recommendations and so on. It takes a little while to get organised, but having some kind of club can really make it hard for influencers to say no.
This next one relies upon a little creativity on your part. You can give the influencer some Kudos. For example, giving them a special title like ‘Chief Product Tester for_____’ and then creating a badge around this does make a lot of sense. Everyone who runs a website knows how a shiny badge or logo can make all the difference to people who visit the site. It’s a sign that you’re respected and valued by people in an industry.
If they blog about your product, make them a Head Blogger. A badge in this area wouldn’t go amiss either. By doing this you are immediately making them feel important and also a valuable part of the team. Later on in the relationship, you could incentivise with money, but right at the start, just to be seen as someone important is more powerful than you might think.
If you have a team that can create logos and badges (very high quality ones), then offer this to potential influencers instead of money. They also have a vested interest in making sure their endorsements etc are purposeful and natural. Because they’re a product tester, for example, they don’t want to be seen as inferior, or like a scam artist. Once they have the badge, it completely changes the relationship to one of mutual respect and commitment.
Influencers got where they are right now because they have created an audience, and nurtured that audience. That takes a lot of time and effort. Because they now have a personal brand, it needs to be maintained. How about giving them early access to a product?
This is happening a lot in the gaming industry, for example. Influencers are being given early access to games so that they can then help the brand by creating a buzz around those games. The same applies for all other industries. If you have a product that is fun to use or exclusive, then offer early access and a trial of the product. This is exclusivity, and it means that you will have an influencer who feels privileged and also ahead of the curve.
Giving influencers a chance to be the first to try out a new product or service is a wonderful way of getting them on board. If all things work out well, they will become brand advocates. And that’s the kind of influence you need.
In the end, influencers are very useful for any brand. If you’re able to get them hooked onto the idea of working with you, half the battle has been won. Remember that money is not always the answer, perhaps the biggest concern both you and the influencer will have is the protection of your respective brands. A respectful relationship where both parties gain something of value is not that hard to reach.
Want to get your hands on some of the most useful (and beautifully presented) metrics around? If you’re an agency and have clients who need numbers and insights, try Locowise for free, for seven whole days.