Whether you’re representing a start-up or a long-standing brand, tapping a few key “influencers,” people who can drive others to action or to wax wondrously about your brand or product can do great things. The right influencer strategy can significantly increase your brand’s visibility and bring about a ripple effect of good buzz! Here are some tips when starting your influencer outreach plan.
Define influence for your client: The nature of influence has changed a good deal with the advent of social media. Remember that true influence doesn’t have to mean media prominence or name recognition. Think quality, not just quantity, when it comes to reach. Then create a wish list of those anyone your audience may look to when making decisions about what to buy, what to read, where to go, etc. Influencers can be bloggers, authors, web personalities, journalists – anyone whose “sphere of influence” includes your target audience.
Set your goals: Are you looking to spread awareness, deflect criticism, or does your program depend on endorsements? The strategies will vary widely depending on the outcomes required.
Gauge the social footprint: Look at Twitter following, blog visitors, Facebook likes and overall engagement with their community. Influencer outreach plans can be designed for the short term, or for long-term awareness and engagement. Make sure you plan and position your approach accordingly.
Take a personalized approach: Not all influencers will need a financial incentive; in fact, some will refuse it on principle, depending on the relationship and their personal and editorial guidelines. But sometimes outreach comes down to a promotional package or reward. Set a budget and think in terms of “win-win” promotions, like reader giveaways. But remember to urge any blogger who accepts cash or merchandise to adhere to FTC guidelines regarding disclosure.
Be clear: Be clear in your expectations and explain the level of commitment involved in the partnership. It may be as little as one single post or tweet, or as much as a few hours to review and test out a product. When Sleepy’s was seeking a Snooze Director, all it took was one tweet about the job opening from “Good Morning America’s” workplace reporter Tory Johnson to start the stream of resumes (as well as additional publicity.)
Promote the partnership: Be sure to help promote your influencer’s efforts to your network where appropriate, no matter the size. Bear in mind internal company channels, stakeholders, and brand audiences. It’s a great way to amplify the commitment and maintain a positive relationship.
Have you ever launched an influencer outreach program before? How was your experience? Do you have any additional tips to add? Be sure to leave them in the comments!« TGIF: Why Boring (Sometimes) isn’t Bad | TGIF: It’s Award Season – Even In PR »