Finding A Brand Influencer: The 4-Step Process

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Is it easier to trust someone you know, or someone you don’t? The overwhelming majority would probably agree that it’s easier to trust someone you know. Slowly, our culture is learning that the pushy sales tactics of the past are not only ineffective — they’re unnecessary. Thanks to social media, we can get to know a wider range of people without even meeting them in person — their values, favorite activities, and interests are on display through social media. This gives businesses an unprecedented opportunity to connect more meaningfully with their audience through a brand influencer.

Find a Match Through Social Media Searches

The first thing to consider when seeking a brand influencer is how well you know your brand. Without a strong idea of your brand’s key values, personality traits and marketing goals, it will be tough to find an influencer match made in heaven. If your business uses any brand-specific hashtags, do a search for these hashtags on social media. If someone is already supporting your brand and has a reasonable following with steady updates, this may be your dream match. But for most up-and-coming brands, the search will probably be more involved. Start searching for individuals who seem to mesh with your brand values and live the lifestyle you envision for your target customers.

Pro Tip: Tools like NinjaOutreach can help you sort influencers and bloggers by topic and follower count, directing you to the perfect “micro” influencers. Free tools like FollowerWonk and Klout help you search social media users and view their overall influence rank.

Establish Contact With Prospective Influencers

instagram influencer and brand ambassador the pony groupOnce you’ve found one or more potential influencers, it’s critical to approach them professionally. Especially if they haven’t heard of your brand, you don’t want to be pushy or give the impression that you are desperate for just anyone. Be sure to reveal specifically what it was that attracted you, and how their qualities blend with your business’s mission. Paint a general picture of what your relationship could look like; i.e., what value could it bring them?

For a successful influencer relationship to develop, it needs to go both ways or you also risk losing the authenticity of the partnership. Illustrating you have done your research about them, their following, and how your brand can mesh with their own brand, you can develop a winning relationship.

Set Guidelines For Your Brand Influencer

Once a connection is established and you’ve spoken in detail with an influencer, it’s time to negotiate a clear business relationship. During this time, figure out exactly how an influencer will be paid (percentage of sales, free products or discounts, fee per post, etc.) and when they can expect to be paid. In addition, be upfront about dos and don’ts — is there anything off-limits that the influencer shouldn’t publicize? What action should they encourage their audience to take and how? For ideas, check out the 5 elements of a good influencer agreement.

Nurture Trust

If you’re well-versed in the rules of marketing, you may have heard of the “know, like, and trust” factor. In today’s world, the most direct way to nail all three of these aspects is through social media, where most of your customers naturally spend their time. It’s not only important to build trust between the influencer and customers, but also between the brand and the influencer. Keep the lines of communication wide open, check in regularly and give influencers an opportunity to share their creative ideas. Influencer relationship management apps like Trackrr are great to implement at this stage.

Influencer marketing is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. If you’re not sure where to start, contact The Pony Group to guide you through the process.

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The Pony Group

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The Pony Group is an Austin, Texas-based firm providing fractional CMO services, marketing consulting, and business growth advising to companies of all sizes, across a variety of industries. Specialties include travel, finance, real estate, subscription, and membership businesses. 

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