Tip: Get your foot in the door before asking for any big favors.
Influencer marketing is a powerful way to generate visibility for your brand. The concept is simple: Find an “influencer,” someone in your industry with a large social following and respect within the community. Then get this individual to share your material, engage with you or otherwise mention your brand.
A recommendation could instantly net you some new followers and set you up for future opportunities (such as interviews and collaborative content) with that influencer. And that’s all good and well.
However, if you’ve ever tried executing this strategy on a whim, you know it’s not that simple. Influencers generally have hundreds of thousands of followers, and getting their attention isn’t easy. So, how are people doing it?
Here are six secrets to getting an influencer’s attention:
1. Don’t jump in the deep end first.
First, you need to stop chasing distractions and bypass the top-level influencers of your industry. When you’re just starting out, you’re unlikely to get attention from these people because your message is one of hundreds or thousands they see every week.
Instead, narrow your focus to one or two influencers at a time, and choose them carefully. Look for influencers with lots of followers, but not so many that they’re unreachable.
2. Get your foot in the door before you ask for any big favors.
Don’t rush into a major request for your influencer. Instead, start with some basics of social media networking. Follow your influencer and interact in a helpful, friendly, engaging way. Start by simply reading what the influencer posts and watch how he or she engages with others; just get to know this person.
Once you know a bit more about who this person is and how he or she communicates, you’ll learn more about the area of expertise as well as the best way to get a response. At that point, you can start getting the influencer’s attention in subtle ways; for example, you can start retweeting or sharing this person’s content, or commenting regularly on his or her posts with insightful, helpful contributions.
3. Always give before taking.
Influencers are busy people, not charity workers. If you start your relationship by asking for a favor, they’re almost certainly going to turn you down. So, instead of leading with a request, lead with some contribution of value. There’s a lot of wiggle room here, so use your imagination in combination with the knowledge you gathered earlier.
What’s important to this influencer? What will get his or her attention? For example, this provision of value could be as simple as sharing one of this person’s most recent pieces, or giving a strong counterpoint that boosts its visibility.
4. Stand out.
There are billions of social media users and hundreds of thousands of people leveraging for any one influencer’s time; what makes you special in this crowd of competitors? If you don’t stand out in any way, influencers aren’t going to pay attention to you. So, first, optimize your profile to stand out by showing off your specific niche and expertise, and work on creating and promoting unique content in your own right.
Most influencers will do some background research before engaging with you. Then, when it comes time to address an influencer directly, make sure you come to this person with a unique proposition. Don’t open with a line that a million people have probably already used; instead, draw upon your own personality, and offer something the influencer has never seen before.
5. Respect their time.
Next, you need to respect influencers’ time. These are busy people, and they can’t afford to answer every request that comes to them. If you acknowledge this in your approach, you’ll be far more likely to earn their respect and admiration. Nothing will turn influencers away from you faster than demanding attention or disrespecting the value of their time.
6. Learn to take rejection.
You probably aren’t going to be successful with the first influencer you work with. You’ll go through a few — maybe a dozen or more — before you get a response. Learn to handle rejection, and move on to the next candidate if your original target influencer doesn’t work out. In many ways, influencer marketing is a game of patience and consistency; maintain these critical tactics, and eventually, you’ll find an ideal partnership.
If you follow these six tips, you should start to see better results in your influencer marketing campaign. That doesn’t mean you’ll be successful with every influencer you approach, and it doesn’t guarantee a higher ROI, but these are the strategies to follow if you want to get a response from some of the top names in your industry.
If you find yourself struggling, consider boosting your reputation in other ways until you’re on similar plane; it’s much easier to network with peers than with people who have significantly more clout.