Why partnering with a social media influencer can make all the difference

instagram influencer takes foodie pic

Companies today are faced with a unique predicament. You can promote your company from anywhere, at any time. The ability to promote your product or company at any time seems like a great opportunity, right? With endless posting opportunities across social media outlets, knowing when to post, what to post and how to post can be the cause of much stress. Once you have finally decided what to post, how do you make sure the right audience sees and engages? This is why partnering with a social media influencer in your industry can make all the difference.

Social media influencers are individuals who have a following on a particular social media platform or platforms. Ranging from reality television stars to popular bloggers, there are influencers of all types for all different industries. Finding an influencer in your industry with a large following will put your company’s name or product in front of the right audience and make your company stand out among the advertising clutter. A recent Nielsen study shows that 83 percent of consumers trust the recommendations of their peers over advertising, so keep that in mind when choosing an influencer. You will want the influencer to be someone who your consumers already follow or are at least familiar with. The process of finding the perfect influencer or influencers for your business doesn’t have to be daunting if you follow these simple steps.

Do your research

So where do you even start when searching for influencers? Instagram, Google and Twitter are perhaps the easiest platforms to search for influencers because you can search using industry-specific hashtags. LinkedIn is also easy to search in, but you would instead search for individuals using relevant job titles. Since LinkedIn was created for the sole purpose of business networking, odds are good that you will receive a reply once you reach out. If you don’ have time to sort through all the social media platforms and user profiles, there are tools made specifically for the purpose of finding and reaching out to influencers. In tools like BuzzSumo, you can narrow down your search to find influencers on specific social media platforms.

Follow, like and share

Once you have found an influencer you like, don’t be shy.  First, you should follow the influencer across all of their social media platforms. Observe the types of posts they make and their overall personal brand’s message. Ask yourself if their style and message are in line with your company’s message and the demographic you intend to target. If the answer is yes, begin liking their posts or even sharing their content on your business page. The influencer gets free promotion, your followers get new content to engage with and you get the added bonus of being able to monitor your followers’ response to the content before officially reaching out.  This little bit of prep work could be the difference between getting completely ignored and forming a solid business relationship.  Showing your interest in their content should make your influencer more receptive when you do reach out.

Make a good first impression

Everyone likes compliments, but influencers are inundated with messages and likes every day. In a sea of generic compliments and rushed business proposals, a genuine compliment always stands out. These people have put a lot time and effort into developing their personal brand, so a thoughtful compliment could go a long way.

Since you have already made yourself familiar with their brand, you should be able to pick a couple of things to compliment them on or highlight in your message. Refer back to something they posted previously that you particularly liked or made a lasting impression and explain why you liked it so much. The more personalized the message, the more likely it is to stand out. However, it is important to note that the influencers with followings of 100,000 or more can receive thousands of messages daily. You can still reach out to them, but be mindful that you will have to tailor your actual ask to fit the reach of the influencer.

Something else to consider: Influencers with a large following may expect offers of money or free goods/services up front.

Send your proposal

Before you ask the influencer to work with you and promote your business, you should determine what incentive or form of payment you are willing to provide. Are you going to be paying them cash, or are you going to give them free products in exchange for their promotion? Maybe your company’s following is a different demographic than the influencer would like to reach. Simply sharing one of their posts on one of your company’s social media platforms could be sufficient incentive for the influencer. Whatever the case may be, make sure you are specific in what you are asking the influencer to do, i.e. post about your company X number of times in one month or feature your company in a blog post. Be clear about what your company is willing to provide in terms of compensation. An initial ask that outlines the specific terms and forms of payment will make it easier for the influencer to either accept or reject your proposal quickly, cutting down on a lot of back-and-forth communication and avoiding confusion.

The truth is that influencers vary greatly in their personal brand and message. Someone one who is considered an influencer on Instagram may not be an influencer on LinkedIn. There is no right or wrong influencer to work with. The influencer you choose to partner with should reach the demographic you want to target. The only real to way to judge whether or not your collaboration will be successful is to take the plunge. If you have taken all the right steps, your company will gain some followers and business from the added exposure.

Katina Smallwood

Katina Smallwood

News Briefs Assistant Executive Editor

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