Influencer Marketing: How to Find New Customers and Grow Your Brand

influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing: a growth strategy for your brand via creative social media marketing collaborations. Learn how. It’s easier than you think.   

A 25-year-old hairstylist near Detroit earns $280,000 a year.  How is that possible?  He uses his talent, social media platforms and influencer marketing to make it happen.    

I will give you a moment to digest that. Over a quarter million dollars.  If you are social media savvy, bold and committed your brand can essentially do the same thing.  Read on to learn how.

Not being someone who watches much television, I will admit that I was a bit late to the critically acclaimed Shark Tank sensation.  Why is the show such a big hit?  Entertainment value for sure but moreover, it strikes a chord within a nation of aspiring entrepreneurs―if I can partner up with one of these ultra-successful business leaders, I can grow my business.  I can make it.

You know that striking a deal with one of these ‘high rollers’ lets you tap into their vast knowledge, experience, and resources and will directly affect your bottom line.  More brand exposure, more customers and, of course, more sales. As a small business owner that is exactly what you want.

Now consider the social media networks and the staggering number of daily users across the board.    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. Tap into those resources and your brand can make a sizeable splash into your target markets.  

What is influencer marketing? In short, it is a growth strategy for your brand through collaborations with ‘sharks’ in the social media tank―better known as influencers.

___

If your brand is not considering utilizing influencer marketing as part of your overall social media marketing strategy, then you may as well toss your advertising dollar bills out the window.  Not to mention that your competition could very well leave you in the dust. The tide is changing; influencer marketing is becoming a force across the social media platforms.

But exactly what is influencer marketing and how can your brand utilize it to maximize your social media marketing efforts?  Throughout this article we will focus on answering those questions. We will also meet several rock star social influencers and discuss why your brand needs them.  Then we take a look at a few successful collaborations and see what positive takeaways can be applied to your business.

Using Twitter as our example platform, we layout the steps to find and connect with a top notch influencer in your industry.  And, finally, we briefly offer suggestions on how to manage and track your influencer marketing campaigns.

That’s a full plate.  So let’s dive in.

Who are these influencers?  Well, let’s meet a few; you might even know one or two of them already.

___

Influencer Marketing -Wendy Lee

As a public figure on Instagram, Wendy Lee @wendyleefit has over 13k raving fans.  A police officer, fit mom, and amateur bodybuilding performer, she shares fitness advice and dishes out some serious life inspiration to her tribe.  

If your brand has a fitness related product, for example, a marketing alliance with Wendy could certainly introduce your product to a much wider audience and bring in many new patrons.   

influencer Marketing - Theliststickfever

Similarly, Em Roberts @thelipstickfever has more than 60k loyal Instagram followers.  She is a fashion blogger, podcaster, and even offers up plenty of beauty tips as well.  Busy gal.  

Does your business need to drive more traffic to your website?  One ‘shout out’ from Miss Roberts on her podcast or a link (to your site) in her latest blog post can spark interest and create new sales leads for your brand.         

What could a partnership with either one of these influencers do for your brand?  You capitalize on their social media star power, credibility, and success. That’s influencer marketing.    

Let’s look at a few more influencer profiles.

Mycaninelife - Influencer Marketing

We all love our pet pooches.  The more than 105k followers at Mycaninelife @mycaninelife would certainly agree with that statement.  This heavyweight influencer shares, through captivating imagery, the adventures of three retrievers and their owners as they explore the Pacific Northwest.  A collaboration with any dog friendly home product (such as yours?) would be a perfect marketing fit.

Grow your brand, funnel new buyers to your site, and boost your sales conversions―an alliance with these cute hounds might just make your brand a household name!  As a matter of fact, there is an invitation to ‘collaborate together’ directly within their Instagram profile. That’s easy enough, isn’t it?

Influencer marketing works across the board, no matter what your industry may be.  If your chosen influencer has a presence on social media, they can be a budding ‘star’ influencer.  

Let’s meet Masha @codingblonde. She uses her platforms (YouTube videos, blog posts, Instagram) to inspire, educate, and empower women in the tech industry.  If your brand’s target market includes females in tech and you have big ambitions and even bigger goals, then capitalize on this niche market.  Align with Masha and watch your brand’s engagement numbers significantly increase.

 Masha - Influencer Marketing

Or, let’s consider another influencer―the omnipresent Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee.  With almost 2 million Twitter followers, Gary certainly can pick and choose which brands to collaborate with.  That’s star power. He may be the ultimate influencer. A Twitter marketing campaign led by Gary, featuring your brand, will certainly create sales-driven, meaningful conversations about your brand.  

In the same way that an alliance with Shark Tanks’ Lori Greiner can land your product on QVC, partnering with a rock star influencer can put your business on a fast track to success.  That’s a powerful dynamic.

___

What is Influencer Marketing?

Unless you are living on a deserted island with Tom Hanks, you’ve heard all the buzz about influencer marketing.  But what exactly does that mean?  Let’s put a definition to it.  

Remember the old celebrity television endorsements?  Good, just keep that in mind as we go forward.

Out with the old and in with the new.  

If social media platforms are the marketing tools for today’s business landscape, then the influencers are the key industry leaders using those platforms to reach, inspire, entertain, and … well, influence their engaged audiences.  They can drive your brand’s message to a much larger target market.

In other words, marketing campaigns have become creative collaborations between brands and influencers.  Your brand can hire (partner with) industry influencers to get the word out about your products and services.  It’s a social media marketing strategy built on the trusted relationship between influencers and their respective followers.  The bottom line is that it works. You get the results you want.

Take a minute to think of an industry leader (influencer) that could really help to grow your brand; and later on in this article we share a few helpful tips on how to connect with them.    

___

Who Are Micro-Influencers and Why You Need Them

Depending on your market niche, products, and brand size, partnering with a micro-influencer may be a better fit for your business.  Micro-influencer marketing is the use of relatively “everyday people” to promote specific products on social media. Though the numbers can vary according to different sources, micro-influencers typically have anywhere from a few thousand followers to upwards of 100,000 niche followers on a particular social media channel.

As mentioned earlier, Wendy Lee, and Em Roberts, are terrific examples of micro-influencers.  Stars in their own right, no doubt, just not necessarily “famous” outside of their own circles.  Micro-influencers’ opinions and viewpoints are held in high regard by their die-hard fans; they have a realness factor that we can all relate to.  To put it another way, these folks (micro-influencers) are the opposite of mega stars and celebrity influencers.

Recall Gary Vaynerchuk.  Yes, he may be the ultimate star influencer but the more “famous” an influencer becomes, the more removed they are from your average customer, and the less trusting your future customers may be of the star influencer’s endorsements.  

So a micro-influencer may have a better chance to connect and engage with your potential customers.  They can do exactly what you want, and that is to deliver sought after engagement results for your brand.  And, as a brand, you have a better chance of finding, connecting and partnering with micro-influencers compared to a mega-star influencer.    

It happens.  Sorry Kardashians.  We can’t use you.

Benefits of Partnering with Influencers  

  • Increased Brand Exposure  

Partnering with an influencer can help put your brand and product in front of an engaged larger audience that’s very likely to have an interest in what you have to offer.  Even a ‘shout out’ from a micro-influencer towards a brand, or a straight endorsement deal, can spark a word-of-mouth marketing campaign. If you want more people talking about your up and coming brand, then simply ally yourself with an influencer.   

  • Trust and Recognition

Influencers have a relationship with their followers based upon trust and credibility.  As an industry leader this person is well known, credible, likeable, and trustworthy. Their opinions matter to their tribe.  Accordingly, almost 40% of folks on Twitter say they’ve actually made a buying decision as a direct result of a post from an influencer.  

  • Higher Return on Advertising Spending   

Let’s face it.  Advertising can be expensive.  So using influencers lets you maximize marketing efforts without straining the allotted budget numbers.  In fact, if you had to choose between a classic Google PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaign or an influencer marketing campaign, your brand might just want to lean towards your new BFF (best friend forever) influencer.  Not only will this strategy yield more engagements (that become sales leads), it will also be an ongoing component of your brand’s overall social media marketing strategies. Influencer marketing is here to stay.

That’s enough talking for now.  Let’s try some influencing.

Let’s get to it.     

___

Examples of Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns  

Let’s take a look at a few examples of brands collaborating with influencers on Twitter, for instance, to see what we can learn.  

Alright.  This example is one of my favorites.    

I’m a sucker for a few Oreos and an ice cold glass of milk.  

Oreo collaborated with several micro-influencers, including Jordana Brewster, in their marketing campaigns on Twitter in the Summer of 2017.  A popular model and actress, Jordana’s “What’s your dream @Oreo creation?” video post on Twitter piled up over 250,000 views. #MyOreoCreation

The participation of Jordana encouraged folks to join in and share their own flavor creations.  It created a lot of chatter and interest making the campaign a big hit. Oreo was a hot topic on Twitter; that’s hitting a marketing homerun for the brand.  Although her ‘dulce de leche’ flavored cookie did not win the contest (you can view the winning flavor here [ link – http://bit.ly/2pIkqBU ] #MyOreoCreation #Contest) her endorsement of Oreo without a doubt made the cookie brand the ultimate winner.  

influencer marketing

___

Here is another example of influencer marketing.  Old Navy using an enormously popular beauty and fashion personality, Meghan Rienks, to promote the brand for a recent holiday shopping and gift giving season.  The collaboration was a success as she appeared in multiple marketing pieces for old Navy. Meghan’s tribe, her circle of influence, is a perfect marketing fit for the Old Navy brand and their target buyer market.  

influencer marketing


___

I know.  I get it.  

These are very large commercial brands.  But what if your brand is relatively small and just getting some traction such as designer Corey Danks @coreydanks?  

Corey is a designer and illustrator in the Philadelphia area.  He is a small fish in a big pond trying to get more brand recognition.  So what’s the best way to do this?

Exactly.  Swim around with the bigger fish in the pond.   

Meaning he should partner up with an influencer in his area.  Someone such as Brendan Lowry @brelow.  Based in Philadelphia, Brendan has almost 6k followers on Twitter and even more than that on Instagram.  He is one of the top micro-influencers in the Philly area and often promotes local companies in his posts.  Take a look at a recent promo tweet for Corey Danks.

Influencer Marketing

A social media post, tweet, story, or photograph from an influencer about your business introduces your brand to a larger audience―a larger potential buyers pool.  Teaming up with an influencer can have a huge impact for your brand and will ultimately bring in new customers.

The bottom line is that it works.  Through these three examples, we can see that partnering with the right influencer can help your brand generate engagements, create sales leads, and attract new loyal customers.   

___

Recall our young hairstylist who earns big money?  Alex Pardoe started out making only about $30,000 a year working in a salon.  A small fish, indeed, but one with bold ambitions and a determination to grow his client list.  Using Instagram to share his work and services he started to connect with various influencers in the area.  

What was his marketing strategy?  Well, for the most part, it included offering free services to particular influencers in exchange for word-of-mouth publicity.  

Your hair looks fantastic!  Who is your stylist?

Thank you very much …

Today Alex works from his own hair salon and if we check out his Instagram page @alexpardashian we see he now has over 16k followers.  Nice job. I would classify him now as a likely micro-influencer.  And, furthermore, if there is a young ambitious stylist on the horizon, I would wager that Mr. Pardoe is on his short list of potential influencers.  

influencer marketing

No matter how large, or small, your brand may be, an influencer marketing campaign is well worth the investment.  

___

Set up your Influencer Marketing Strategy

In trying to decide what social platform would be ideal for an influencer campaign, consider what products and services your brand offers and how to best present your marketing message.   

While it’s true that Facebook may be more popular and Instagram might be more visually appealing, Twitter surely does not have to be the ‘Jan Brady’ (middle child syndrome) among the big three social networking platforms.     

Twitter, with its distinct marketing opportunities, remains an ideal platform for influencer collaborations.  Consider that over 330 million monthly active users send approximately 500 million tweets every single day. That’s some serious engagement going on.  This is good news if you’re planning to grow your brand using Twitter.

Also, reports by Twitter and other data collection companies forecast that a majority of folks on

Twitter plan to purchase from the brands they follow.  So a marketing partnership with a well-liked and trusted influencer featuring your product would only reinforce those aspirations.  The increased exposure for your brand will funnel more traffic to your website and generate more sales.

Sure a tweet has a relatively short shelf life.  But that just means you need to pump out quality content and joining forces with an influencer can help you do just that.  

So using Twitter as our example platform, let’s gather a few potential influencers.       

___

Find the Right Micro-Influencers for Your Brand on Twitter   

Remember, you want to make the best use of your marketing dollars and your time so it helps to do a little research.  But if you carefully and systematically select, hire, and collaborate with Twitter micro-influencers, you can easily create meaningful engagements around your brand that will drive sales and ring your cash register.  That’s why it makes sense to collaborate with micro-influencers from your industry.

it’s quite an accomplishment to generate a buzz about your brand on Twitter.  Partnering with the right micro-influencer can make that happen. Here’s how to find them:  

  • Honestly, the best micro-influencers will be the ones who are already passionate about your brand.  So start with your brand’s followers on Twitter. Who are the influencers, amplifiers, and power users? (Amplifiers or power users are Twitter users who can amplify the reach of your tweets many times over) Craft a well thought-out message and reach out to them.  Be sincere of course, but mixing in a dash of “flattery” wouldn’t hurt either. Ask if they’re willing to showcase your product on their Twitter platform.

  • Approach specific industry influencers.  This could be anybody within your industry who is respected for their knowledge and expertise.  They should also have a very large follower base, actively share tweets and likes, and stimulate engagements relative to your industry.

So, research Twitter profiles of recognized figures from your line of work to zero in on the right influencer.  Collaborating with one of these industry influencers can ultimately influence your customers’ decision making powers.   

  • Don’t forget about the hashtags.  Look up and identify what hashtags are most commonly associated with your business.  Then do some browsing. Search posts with those hashtags and see if you can find anyone whom you would want to partner with to showcase your products and highlight your brand.   

  • Run a topic search on Twitter to find industry influencers from your niche.  After you enter your topic in the search bar, you will see a vast list of tweets related to that topic search.  Take your time and check out the tweets for interesting subject matter.

Also, look closely for content that has many retweets, shares, and even comments to find which Twitter users are “influencing” the conversations.  Those are the ones that you want to be on your team. But, before you reach out, make sure that you learn more about them.

  • Lastly, try searching the Internet for top bloggers in your industry.  A good ole’ fashioned Google search will do. Bloggers will often have social media accounts tied to their blogs so you can quickly get a sense of their reach and the content they like to share.  But don’t just stop there. Check out their websites. Get to know them―will they be a good fit?

Finding a few micro-influencers that you want to work with is only half the battle though.  By now you have done your research and maybe you have even formed a short list of candidates.  Great.

Now you need to connect with them.  

___

How to Connect with Micro-Influencers on Twitter

You have a list of great potential micro-influencers for your brand.  But chances are that if they are not actually using your product, then they are probably unfamiliar with your brand.  

“Sorry, who are you and why should I care?”

You have to make them care about your brand.  Impress them. Make it worth their while.

It’s not that easy to get noticed by an influencer, let alone engage them.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Be genuine.  With the rise in demand for influencer marketing in 2019, micro-influencers have become very selective about what brands to endorse and collaborate with.  So be sincere and genuine in all interactions with them.

For example, when an influencer comments on your tweets, likes, or retweets your content respond with something that’s engaging and insightful.  Keep the conversation going. A generic ‘thank you’ is not what you want here. Also, keep in mind that micro-influencers share and comment on tweets that are genuinely good.  

  • Update and solidify your Twitter profile.  If your profile is mediocre and a bit out-of-date, chances are that an influencer will take a pass on working with your brand.  That’s why it makes sense to ensure that your Twitter profile is up-to-date. Similarly, if your profile lacks credibility, or you have virtually no followers, chances are mighty slim for a successful partnership.  

So, update your information, including your business’ contact details, and be sure to use your business logo.  Still don’t have a logo yet? You can’t have a credible brand without a logo. Head over to a site called Fiverr , hire a graphic designer and get it done.  Period. Finally, make sure that your brand’s Twitter bio highlights the benefits and specialties of your business.

  • Diligently monitor the micro-influencers that you would like to partner with.  Take some time to observe their followers, look at the kind of engagement that they generate, and see how effectively you can use their popularity for your brand.  Then draft a collaboration proposal accordingly.

  • Remember that although it is a joint venture, influencers for the most part operate independently.  If you set too many parameters on the project they may say “no thank you.” So leave the creative content element to them.  They will integrate your ad specifications and marketing objectives so your brand message remains intact. Besides, they know their audience’s tastes better than you.  Bottom line: don’t restrict your influencer’s creativity.

  • Micro-influencers have expectations from the brands that they collaborate with so discuss all parameters of the project.  What are your specific goals? What is the timeline? Lay it all out. And, in terms of compensation for the influencer always be fair.  Make sure to agree on the compensation and don’t assume that it will always be monetary. Not all influencers need, or want, a paycheck. If that’s the case, you can offer your influencer partner product gifts, customized coupons, or even special rewards in exchange for their promotional efforts for your brand.    

___

As we have seen thus far a collaboration with a micro-influencer can offer your brand many benefits.

Sales-driven impactful conversations, higher conversions, brand exposure, and new customers just to name a few.  But it also makes sense to ensure that you have a solid association with the micro-influencers you plan to work with.

What is a simple way to do that?  Invite your chosen influencer to try your product.  They might just fall in love with your brand. Keep in mind that the more attached a micro-influencer is to your brand, the more authentic their content will be.  This is exactly the case with a healthy beverage called Kombucha @drinkhealthade

According to their Twitter profile it is the “best tasting & highest quality kombucha you can buy.”  It’s an organic, fermented, sweetened tea enjoyed by a niche market for its supposed health benefits.

Not quite my ‘cup of tea’ and that’s alright.    

But it is for health and fitness enthusiast Chris Freytag @chrisfreytag. She drinks it and she loves it!  Take a look at her endorsement tweet for the beverage brand.

Chris Freytag - influencer marketing

That’s basically a direct invitation to all of her followers to try this terrific healthy drink.  How many PPC ads would be needed to generate thousands of sales leads?

With over 18k healthy lifestyle Twitter followers and the fact that she loves (and drinks) the product, Chris is the perfect micro-influencer for the Health-ade Kombucha brand.   

___

Here is a great visual checklist for best practices to follow when working with influencers.   

Don’t worry. All of these suggestions still apply in 2019.  Check it out.  

(Infographic Source: Visual Amplifiers)  

___

Manage and Track Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns

How many influencers do I need to engage?  Who are my relevant influencers? What content can I create with them?  How to measure the ROI of influencer marketing? How can I track the effectiveness of my campaigns?  And, a host of other questions.

No need to feel inundated by the amount of work needed to implement your influencer marketing game plan.  Using the right tools, it’s easier than you might imagine.

There are actually plenty of social media marketing tools and software to help you discover, engage, monitor and track your campaigns.  In other words, these tools allow you to self-manage your influencer strategies and stay on top of every campaign detail.

For instance, tools such as Buzzsumo and GroupHigh can be used to search for strategic influencers by a topic or a keyword and they can even analyze what content performs best for any topic.  Similarly, software that Grin { link – https://www.grin.co/ } deploys can help you discover and manage influencers.  Its detailed reports can easily help you prove the ROI of your influencer campaigns. A platform like Uniclix, can help you schedule social posts to your multiple accounts at the most effective times of the day and to easily share content that we auto-suggest based on topics relevant to your audience; additionally Uniclix generates custom streams to help users monitor what others are saying about them and topics of interest.

Uniclix also helps users to easily react to conversations and increase engagement.

You will also want the ability to track your brand’s overall reach, analyze levels of engagement, and monitor the amount of traffic driven to your website.  A resource such as Traackr, a complete influencer management tool that includes analytics, will allow you to perform all those functions and more.     

No matter what influencer marketing tools you choose, be sure to get the systems, functionality and data that you need, while maintaining overall control of your influencer relationships.   

___

Conclusion

2019 could be referred to as ‘the year of the influencers’ because influencer marketing has rapidly become the preferred marketing strategy to grow your brand across all the mainstream social media networks.  

Throughout this article we have detailed several examples of successful collaborations between brands and influencers that ultimately drive sales and new customer acquisitions.  We also examined how micro-influencer marketing relationships might actually be a better fit for smaller brands; and then we touched on how to find and connect with potential influencers within your industry.    

One thing we know for sure is that influencer marketing is here for the long run.  The fact that Facebook is now creating apps for influencers to easily produce live content is evidence of that.  

Going forward your brand would be wise to maximize value from your social media marketing efforts by establishing influencer partnerships.  Those relationships could very well be the key factor in taking your brand to the next level and that is exactly what you want.  

Influencer marketing.  Powerful stuff indeed.   

___

So at this point there is only one question I have for you:

Who would be the ultimate influencer for your brand and why?  Please let me know in the comments section!   

related links: Seven Steps to Develop Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Save time and grow your presence by using Uniclix to manage your account.  Schedule posts, easily find and share content, monitor your efforts, and more!

Special introductory offer.  Check it out today. Link for Beta Sign Up

36 Shares:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
how to grow twitter followers
Read More

Follow me! 12 Tips How To Grow Twitter Followers

Social media has become almost an integral part of our daily lives these days. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and of course, Twitter, all compete for our inspired attention. Hashtags, posts, tweets, likes, trending now … as much real-time social networking as you can handle.