When it comes to expanding the presence and exposure of your brand, you can hardly do better than to reach out to the online influencers relevant to your industry. There are many voices out there though, and it is important that you learn to navigate this sea of online influence in order to maximise the impact of your strategy. Here are the key steps:
What Are Your Objectives?
Although this may seem like common sense, it bears repeating; you must think about what you are hoping to achieve and set a concrete objective. What is your desired result? Brand positioning? Increased brand exposure? Without a solid objective established, you have no true way of understanding why you are targeting these influencers and no measurement of success.
Criteria Of Targeting – What Is Your Brand Message?
Before outreaching to potential influencers, you must first identify what the message or voice of your brand is. The ocean of conversation out there is very deep and in order to navigate it strategically and effectively, you must match influencers to your brand. They must reflect and convey the same message.
Criteria Of Targeting – Relevancy Over “Big Fish”
Instead of focusing your efforts towards attaining a single big catch (i.e. an influencer with a substantial following), you must prioritise according to relevance. As marketers, we have traditionally equated noise with success, but this isn’t necessarily true. A much greater impact may be achieved by outreaching to a number of smaller, highly targeted voices. Because these voices are more specialised and relevant to your particular sector, their combined impact can be much more powerful, thus increasing the potential of return.
There are positive knock on effects from using this tactic. Influencers who are relevant to your sector are much more likely to be receptive to your approach and show genuine interest.
How To Find These Influencers
There are various tools of the trade that can help with finding and researching influencers. One such tool (and commonly used by 4Ps) is Brandwatch. This social media monitoring tool is a great way to find people talking about your industry. Another useful technique is to look at communities of people online, particularly Google+. Google+ Communities are a recent introduction and as such, I would argue that the people using these communities are tech savvy individuals, with some already boasting a substantial digital footprint. In finding a community relevant to your sector, you are essentially finding conversational activity, thus influencers of high relevance. Similarly, Twitter is also a great way to find and engage with influencers.
How To Approach Influencers
How you approach influencers will, of course, depend on your strategy and objectives. But invariably, the route I like to take is honesty. Nine times out of ten, people know what you want and it’s sometimes better to just cut to the chase. If you’ve taken the time to identify the people who reflect your target audience, then they should be obliging.
To summarise, the process behind outreach is simplistic, yet important. From the top down, objectives should be set, then you need to identify the message of your brand and ensure your targeted influencers reflect it. Next comes relevancy, a word I regularly use. At the risk of sounding repetitive, you must always ask whether a given influencer is relevant. For every potential influencer you identify, ask yourself these questions: Do they sit within your industry? Does their target audience reflect your brand?’ If the answer to either of these questions is no, discard that influencer, no matter how many followers or fans they have.
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