Today we are going to be talking about how to do influencer marketing outreach. Tips and ideas for finding people in your industry, niche authorities or other people who can potentially help your sales or marketing efforts and how to start connecting with them.
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Who Are Influencers?
Before we get too far down the line, let's talk about who you might want to contact as influencers!
- CEOs of related industries
- Industry experts
- People with large social media accounts
These are either people from your industry who can help give you information about how to grow your business or others who have big numbers on social or email who can recommend you to their followers.
Now, please hear this… if you go into influencer marketing outreach thinking only of what they can do for you, you will crash and burn A LOT.
No one likes to hear from someone out of the blue who is just looking to take, take, take without receiving something in return!
A quick word about Micro Influencers
When we start thinking about working with influencers we often think of the BIG DOGS in our industry.
But sometimes targeting smaller influencers with littler followings will yield better results since they are not getting inundated with all kinds of requests.
Aim for a good mix of large and small influencers in your efforts!
What Is An Influencer Marketing Strategy?
In a “formal” influencer marketing campaign you pay someone to promote your product or service. Think of a celebrity endorsement like Michael Jordan selling Nike tennis shoes.
What we are talking about today though is a little different than the way regular paid influencer marketing works.
This is finding people that could help your business, but starting by YOU helping them first so they notice and want to reciprocate by helping you back!
What Type of Influencers To Follow?
I tend to find people that I think are amazing on Podcasts, hearing them speak in person or dinking around on the internet and happening on their websites.
You might belong to Facebook groups and keep hearing the same names over and over again or ask your friends who they follow in your industry.
You should have a wide range of people who you are trying to cultivate in your influencer outreach. Don't just do the top people in your industry, find related fields or other marketing channels that you think might be good for your business!
Look for people who may have a similar target audience to your customers, whether they sell the exact same thing as you do or not. You can find the right influencers by seeing if their audience matches your perfect customer!
For example, one of my niches is Etsy sellers. Someone who has a large crafting audience who are not yet sellers might be a great fit for that niche!
How Many Key Influencers Should You Target?
I like to have 100-150 on each of my influencer lists. Now I say each because I have a number of different target markets like Realtors, Authors and then general business peeps. If you are just starting out, having one list will be just fine!
Isn't this stalking?
So I often get people who are hesitant to use this marketing method. They hem and haw and tell me why they couldn't possibly be so blatant about targeting people who could help their business.
I get that, but at the end of the day, my influencer list is not necessarily about helping me. It does eventually, but mostly it is a way to make sure that I am loving on the people who provided me value first.
To give you an idea of this in practice…here are some of my favorite influencers and how we have helped each other!
These are real stories of how I have connected (I sometimes find a case study much easier to understand than just example after example!)
Kate Ahl, Simple Pin Media – I found Kate through her podcast and joined her Facebook group where I made comments to help where I could. I also listened to her shows and shared them on my social media. So when a friend recommended me to be interviewed on her podcast, she already knew my name so it wasn't so weird to reach out to her with my proposal!
Seth Godin – Now Seth is a super busy guy who sends back really short email messages, but if you email he DOES talk back. Anytime I can share his new book, support his Kickstarter or do anything nice to help him I am totally on board!
The Self Publishing Podcast Guys – When my writing partner and I started writing books I needed to know how to do the publishing. After dinking around for a bit I found the most amazing podcast done by three guys, Johnny, Sean and Dave. Over the years I have supported them by sharing their Kickstarters, buying their membership and other fun bits. Then when they were looking for social media help a few years ago we wound up working together… whoo whoo!
3 Awesome Ways To Target Influencers
Here are three different ways to start connecting with influencers!
1. Social Media
Although some big influencers have huge digital marketing teams, often they have at least one social media channel that they “work” themselves. That might be Twitter or Instagram.
Twitter Lists – These are super easy to set up and use for targeting your peeps. Just make your list and then check in everyday to see if your influencers have posted anything good you can share or if they have retweeted anyone cool you can refollow.
Instagram Hashtags – Often influencers will have their own “special” hashtag they use on their posts. Follow those and make sure to comment when they post something special (just hitting like is not going to cut it here!)
Having quality “stuff” to share for your own social media marketing efforts is MUCH easier when you follow a large number of influencers who produce quality content. You KNOW their content is great so you don't have to worry that you will be sharing something that is not worthwhile to your own peeps!
2. Email Newsletters
No, I am not talking about you adding them to your newsletter list, I am talking about YOU joining their newsletter list!
When they send something cool out like their latest blog post, hit reply and talk back to them… share their content when you can and @mention them in social media posts.
I answer all my messages in my newsletters so anyone who wants to “talk” to me can do so at any time! Even if they have an assistant who filters their email, some of your replys will get through as they start to recognize your name!
3. Buy Their Stuff
Yep, it is great to support your favorite influencers by sharing their content, but most will notice if you are supporting them through their products or services.
This does not mean to go broke pandering to every influencer on your list, but if someone you admire or want to connect with has a product, often there will be a Facebook group, forum or other way to talk with them one on one once you have bought in.
This is a great way to start a meaningful connection with people you want to meet in person or online!
Paper.li – This is a really neat, free way to find great content to post that originated with your influencers. Make sure you @mention them when you are posting something you found through them.
Influencer Marketing Outreach Wrapup
Over the years I have gotten to know many different people who I never thought would be on my “level” simply by helping them get the word out about their products or podcasts or webinars.
EVERYONE notices when someone is super helpful or always participating and that makes your outreach “asks” seem so much more genuine than just sending a spam message to someone who doesn't even know your name!