Guest blog by Hilary Bird
Nearly 90 percent of marketers say they use influencer marketing, with 94 percent finding it an effective tactic, according to a 2016 poll from Linqia. That effectiveness varies by each marketer’s objective. Some employ influencer marketing to create an authentic brand experience; others seek to increase engagement or drive traffic to their website or landing page.
Whether or not your goals are similar to these, you can use influencer marketing for quantifiable impact. The following ten steps detail how to specifically use Twitter and influencer marketing to attract influencers (that is, influential people who can sway your potential customers) and build your brand.
1. Determine Your Objectives
If you don’t know what you hope to accomplish through influencer marketing, the tools you use will never produce desired results. Defining your objectives from the start gives you the focus to stay on track as you engage influencers on social media. Here are some sample objectives for a beginner in influencer marketing:
- Block out 30-60 minutes on your calendar every weekday to review the trending topics within your industry. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date if you’re going to catch an influencer’s attention.
- Every weekday, follow 5-10 new people in your industry. It’s an easy, natural-looking way to slowly build up your target audience (as opposed to mass following and then unfollowing practices that look spammy). You’ll slowly gain more followers, the more you follow.
- Create three lists on Twitter: “[Your industry] People,” “[Your industry] Micro-Influencers,” and “[Your industry] Influencers.” Each group requires different types and frequencies of interaction, so it’s important to separate them to organize your outreach. Keep these lists “private” because making them public will notify people when they’ve been added to your list, and they may catch on to your strategy if they see your list. However, in some cases, you could use a “public” list as “ego bait” by adding an influencer to your Influencer List, which lets them see you consider them an influencer.
2. Define Your Targets
Once you set some objectives, identify your targets. You could pursue the crème de la crème, but unless you claim celebrity status, those people might ignore you. Instead, focus on micro-influencers. These individuals have smaller followings, but tend to be more dedicated and involved with their followers. To get your message out to people who actually care about what you have to say, spend the bulk of your time and efforts on “smaller” influencers.
Use tools that help you identify your brand voice. By doing so, you’re more likely to catch the eye of micro-influencers that are also talking about your industry’s hot topics. By tailoring your social posts to your brand’s voice, you’re going to attract the types of audiences that will stick around and actually care about what your brand is talking about.
3. Select Your Tools
Now that you’ve completed the first three steps, choose some tools. Many applications exist for the sole purpose of identifying and engaging with influencers, so you’ll probably spend time finding ones that meet your needs. Some tools are free; others require an upfront fee or subscription. If you’re new to influencer marketing or trying to prove its benefits to upper management, start with the free tools and progress toward paid ones if needed.
Buzzsumo is an excellent tool to start with—it has a basic “free” version that allows you to search for influencers using topics or specific Twitter handles. You can filter your search by bloggers, influencers, companies, journalists, or regular people. Rather than just focusing on the “influencer” filter, try including bloggers or journalists to identify those micro-influencers. Use the “people” filter to build a Twitter list of people just like yourself to help elevate you through their interactions on your posts.
Followerwonk by Moz also offers a basic “free” version that allows you to view social authority rankings, see followers and their rankings, know when followers are active, and much more. Paid tools like Traackr provide more in-depth analysis of influencers and followers. As TopRankBlog writes, “Traackr is an influencer relationship management platform where you can manage, expand, validate and scale your global influencer marketing. Organize your influencer data in one place, foster team collaboration by assigning ownership, track conversations, and benchmark your brand’s influence in the market.”
4. Establish Your Credibility
Micro-influencers could avoid your outreach efforts if you have a less than stellar Twitter profile or a minuscule following. Influencers want to interact with credible people and businesses, not ones who bumble and stumble through Twitter.
To begin building your online cred, update your Twitter bio and avatar—don’t use a dated photo or one that looks nothing like you. Also seek other ways to establish online authority, such as crafting thought-leadership articles or seeking out guest-writing opportunities with established publications.
5. Be Genuine
When followers and influencers spot inauthenticity, they avoid it. No one likes a spammer or a person who only says, “Great post!” Even though your target influencers are in, for example, the B2B sales industry, your profile should reflect more than just your interest in the B2B sales industry. It should mirror your hobbies and interests through your Twitter bio and the content you share. If they view your profile, they want to see a real human, not a robot sending 50 automated tweets only about B2B sales every day. Engaging with influencers requires because influencers are, after all, people. They want to know they’re appreciated, just like you do.
Only share, comment, and like posts you actually do like and care about. Go the extra mile, too, and respond occasionally with an insightful comment or question. Check out these tips to help you get started.
6. Use Visuals
Twitter may be a text-based platform, but that makes visuals stand out more in the stream. However, don’t add an image or GIF simply to add one. Be purposeful in your use of visuals. Maybe share an influencer’s quote through a Canva illustration. Do try it—it’ll work wonders. The influencer is even more likely to like the post and retweet it. Consider creating quoted posts of your favorite sayings to establish your brand and attract followers and influencers.
7. Participate in Twitter Chats
Another way to find influencers and followers is through Twitter chats. These online chats cover almost any topic imaginable, ranging from education to marketing. To find relevant chats, conduct a Google search using the words “best Twitter chat for <blank>.” You also can search for hashtags on Twitter, but the challenge there lies in finding the right tags because not all chats use obvious hashtags, but most do.
Many Twitter chats happen on a weekly basis simultaneously. For example, #AdweekChat happens every Wednesday at 12pm MST and #AdobeChat is at 2pm MST on Wednesday. By consistently joining these conversations, you establish credit in each community and become a familiar face. Set reminders in your mobile calendar to help you make a habit of joining these conversations live. Thankfully, it’s easy to join from anywhere and on any device—all you need is an internet connection (ideally at least 20 Mbps, to ensure no delays in live tweets) or a 4G network!
8. Feature Influencers Elsewhere
To power up your influencer marketing, nothing works quite as well as featuring top influencers in your content. For example, try the list post. You curate a list of 10, 15, or however many influencers you want on your website. Then you broadcast it on Twitter. Voilà—instant influence. You also can conduct interviews with influencers or feature their work in a “best of” or “most viral” article.
9. Give Influencers Specific Calls to Action
Once you find your influencers and get them on board with your brand, make it easy for them to advocate on your behalf. For instance, create five to seven tweets about a marketing campaign and share those posts with the influencers. They can then adapt your words and add them to their social efforts. The easier you make the work, the more likely your influencers are to respond and act, and your messaging stays on point.
10. Study the Pros
To get better at influencer marketing—or find new ways to do it—look to the pros. A Google search of “influencer marketing” returns news results about some intriguing campaigns.
Chrono.gg, for example, uses influencer marketing to publicize indie games. Brands on Musical.ly employ influencers to reach teens. Econsultancy offers 11 impressive campaigns for consideration, while Forbes provides 5 examples to learn from. Also, search for “best influencer marketing campaigns” to peruse other ideas.
Influencer marketing is a great way to build your brand and make yourself heard. Use the ten tips shared here to get started.
About Hilary Bird:
Hilary combines her interests in tech and marketing with her fascination of interpersonal communication by studying how tech is continually reshaping the way we communicate. She is a digital journalist with more than three years of experience in the start-up marketing world. Hilary has written for such publications as VentureBeat, Spin Sucks, and MediaPost.