How to Leverage Influencers in Your Content Marketing Strategy

May 31, 2015 by Lisa Chung

influencer marketing

It’s not uncommon for small business owners to work what feels like eight days a week. Throw content marketing initiatives and social media campaigns into the mix and some days it feels like you’re barely scratching the surface.

Make the most of what may be a tight budget and take advantage of influencer marketing in a more efficient way, with the ultimate focus of converting fans into sales. According to a McKinsey Study (via Forbes), word-of-mouth generates more than double the sales of paid advertising and it does so with a higher customer retention rate too.

Influencer marketing focuses on key individuals who have the ability to persuade potential buyers. Niche influencers typically generate the most engagement. The idea is that as you get more and more granular, the influencers become greater. Imagine an inverted triangle: At the bottom is your group of friends. The next level is fans, then publishers, and at the top of the influencers list are celebrities. The people at the bottom of the list — your friends and family members — have the greatest and most immediate influence. Though celebrities have massive reach, their overall influence in the actual decision-making process is not as great.

4. Celebrities/Famous People
3. Publishers (blogger/content creators)
2. Fans/followers
1. Friends

As a publisher, you are already an influencer in your industry. You have an impact on your existing customers and as a good business owner, you maintain their trust. Remember that your existing customers are big influencers among their friends and family, and consider how you can gain even more influence for your brand by getting more granular within your “influencer circle.”

Tips to finding influencers that are relevant to your business
You know your target audience, including their lifestyles, habits and interests. For example, if your target audience included parents, they might be interested in finding ways to maintain a good work-life balance. Or if your target audience included senior citizens, they might be interested in vacations, which they can take advantage of in retirement.

Next, research and find people in the fields to talk to the topics your target audience wants to learn more about. These are the influencers who can engage with your target consumer and eventually direct them to your business.

Instead of considering the influencer’s overall audience size, make note of his or her engagement level with fans. Remember the inverted triangle: peers offer the strongest influence. Once you have a short list of potential influencers, reach out and begin building a relationship. See how they interact with people online, follow their existing content and offer comments.

After building a relationship, position a targeted pitch — your ask — that includes a value proposition for the influencer as well. Remember to be a resource, provide feedback and also continue to maintain the relationship.

As Intuit CEO Scott Cook has said, a brand is defined by how consumers describe it to each other, not how the brand describes itself. Take charge of how your brand is talked about by connecting with relevant influencers and leveraging their power of engagement over their own networks.

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