You might be already jaw-dropped, or your head might be spinning reading the headlines – and you are saying – this writer is either high on marijuana or has no practical knowledge. If you know the business economies or have ever managed your business funds even when on a very tight marketing budget, you need to find the ways to do the things that give plain benefits without costing you monetarily.
Nowadays, the buzz is going to the influence marketing. More than 80% of the marketers have actually tried some sort of influence marketing in a different way, which brought proven results to the table. According to a report published by AdWeek, for every $1 spent on social media influence campaigns, there’s $6.85 ROI generated, making is more than one can imagine earning. For sure, there’s a huge value while working with the influencers, but the cost can be huge, and not every business can actually do such kind of funding to carry on their digital marketing operations.
Moreover, it’s way time consuming to keep doing collaboration because a lot of paperwork is involved to carry business legally and to avoid any kind of business conflicts, creating disingenuous relations, wasting time & resources etc at the later stages of a marketing campaign.
Let’s see how you can collaborate with the social media influencers without paying them for the collaboration.
1. Establish Influencer Marketing Goal
The first step is to identify the desired target to achieve with the influencers involved. Following are the most common types of influencer marketing goals to achieve:
• Awareness- Mainly deal in gaining impressions on the posts. Larger the reach, more the impressions.
• Engagements- Comments, likes, followers, and shares.
• Purchase – sales, leads, follow-up calls, and in-store visits.
• Loyalty- Re-visits, re-purchases, user-generated content etc.
Based on what the influencer share in your niche category, carefully select the one or many for business collaboration
Before signing a contract with any influencers, it’s time to monitor the listed social media influencers in your niche category and underlines the pain points that can actually help your business, support your business ideologies and get you connected with the potential audience that is you eyeing on.
Start with studying the social media channels that appeal your business category the most. Not every channel is designed for every business, and if you focus on every channel, you are doing nothing, but hammering your business and denting it to the non-repairable condition.
Utilize time to follow the social media influencers that share content relatable to your company and their audience actually enjoys, engagement and do ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing. There are many powerful tools (Buzzsumo, Followerwonk, Buzzstream) that can help you to find such kind of influencers because it can be an overnight success to actually gain 500-1000 followers for an unknown person once he shares something that actually reaches the interested audience.
Once you list down all the best influencers in your industry, don’t rush and contact them. Wait. Give yourself and your business a bit time to choose the ones that can be best for your company. Notice what you’re pinned down names on the list are sharing on their social media channels; the topics they are covering; what kind of products/services their followers are enjoying more; the total time they spend in answering their followers etc.
The tracking activity will actually help you to discover the unique points of the influencers and how to approach them based on their area of expertise.
2. Understand What They’re Looking to Achieve
It will be easy for you to understand the set goals for the listed influencers, once you start tracking their accounts.
It’s not only you that are looking to achieve something from the possible partnership but the social media influencers, too, who are constantly craving to enhance their personality and audience by offering the real value and benefit that would further help them to broaden their image and face value in the market. Hence, the value of content increases for your potential future social media collaborator who wants to offer relevant information about the new products in the market to keep the followers engaged and visited the profile(s).
When you know what truly matters to your influencer, you will find yourself in the driver’s seat and do better collaboration based on the mutual interest. It all begins with paying attention to what your future partners are saying on their blogs, social media channels to understand their realistic goals and how they are trying to increase their follower base. Don’t mistake every follower base to be your friend. When you collaborate with the real influencers in your niche industry you get better ROI than you get from the influencer who doesn’t belong or share products in your business category because most people will consider it an ad and will overlook the post.
It’s critical to see how many posts an influencer is posting because the goals can be changed or can be halted depending on the market circumstances and the dynamic shifts in the people’s preferences. It’s critical to analyze what the influencers do when they face a difficult situation or criticism for the products they endorsed, but it doesn’t turn out value for the money. It can be noted seeing all their past campaigns and how they engaged with the followers. Knowing that not all people are like-minded or mend their language when commenting in the anger, it’s also a noteworthy fact to understand the due importance and professionalism of the person to handle such kind of issues.
3. Show your Gratitude
Now you have identified the potential influencers with whom you want to work with, it’s time to plan for the further steps. It starts with designing a message and reaching to the influencers explaining why you are sending them the text and what you need from them, and in return, what you can do for them, which can hugely benefit both the parties.
If you can, send them an assortment of your products to use and review for their followers. If you are dealing in services like Consultancy Services or a Web Designing Agency, then in such cases you can send them a light note saying ‘Thank You’ and what you feel for them and their importance for your business expansion.
Suppose you are running a web design agency and looking to increase impressions for your business brand and people to take notice of you, you can do branding (logo revamping, banners, customized pictures for the post) and send them along with your note so the influencers can sway with your gratitude and consider dealing with you.
Imagine a person having no logo for his/her brand but still doing good promotion of the products, and you send the influencer a real well-designed logo that would become the face of his/her company, how good the person will feel for your business exchange?
Some influencers might not get interested in doing a business tie-up with you. Hence, let them what you are sending to them as the matter of gratitude to have future business collaboration, or simply to demonstrate how good you are so it can actually benefit them personally and professionally.
As discussed earlier, if the influencer(s) likes your sent gifts, they might actually try and promote it, bridging the gap between you and the audience. From this point you get a lead to communicate with the influencer over the topics they have shared or usually share on their social media platform.
4. Bring More Influencers Aboard
Repeat the process mentioned above with 15- 20 influencers because your team needs to be good in order to reach the bigger audience and compete with the industry giants on your limited or no funding. It might look a bit of overwork, but it will be a worth of your hard work and time if the response starts coming in your favor.
Don’t forget to scale what you are sending to your collaborators so the spending doesn’t exceed your ROI, which is not a good business strategy at all. Moreover, don’t get excited and reach to 100 influencers to work with you. It will get immensely tough for you to keep a track of their content posts.
Again imagine yourself a founder of a digital web agency. To grow your business reach and influence, you decide to reach 100 social media influencers (micro as well as the ones moving to become the mega influencers) and your team starts making logos for each or something you found they were missing. How large team you will need to do all the stuff just for the free thing and completely opting out the client’s work you have on the table? How will the salaries get paid when the clients will start bouncing off from your company and start giving you negative review for being unprofessional and the company not achieving the set deadlines?
A number of influencers won’t able to help you to wash off those negative reviews from the web because once it’s on the internet, stays on the internet. Now consider even if you manage to hire a team just for influencers how costly it will be if you consider the salaries and other factors that come into play.
Now suppose if you are dealing in the manufacturing of the product and trying to break in, how costly it will be to send personalized products to 100 influencers and track what they are saying about you?
When you are already on a limited budget you just can’t afford to do ignorant business marketing and spend uselessly. Hence, starting a dozen can actually be far better for you personally and professionally.
Promote Social Media Influencers on Your Social Media Channels (professional as well on personal accounts)
Offer some reciprocal love to your influencers. Share their posts with their names tagged on your company’s official social media channels, and try to share them on your personal social media channels as well. The best thing you can do is to ask your office employees to give the social media influencers as a shout-out on their social media handles and ask your friends to do the same. It will help the influencers to extend their reach, ultimately help you to reach bigger audience and the likeminded people altogether by creating a chain reaction in a well-planned manner.
5. Never Stop Monitoring
Your job doesn’t end with sending them a gift or sharing them on your social media profiles. Partnering with a social media influencer or influencers is a continuous and monotonous process, which can take its toll, because to produce great results, you have to give your 100%.
Consider Special Events
Every person has a milestone like birthdays, events etc coming every year. Hence, it’s better to know in advance what kind of milestones are coming for your influencers so you can prepare the post in accordance to that and get good exposure for your company. Send influencers a gift to congratulate them on their special day. This kind of attitude brews long-lasting relations that come to fruition in the long run.
A lot of people engage more when they see someone’s birthday, achievement, event etc. related post. It’s a great opportunity to grab if you know the events dates and are considerably prepared to develop creative content to rejoice in your influencer’s happiness.
Let’s talk about the benefits you get working with the social media influencers:
Since the dawn of numerous social media platforms (FB, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter etc), a lot of people got the share of the fame on various social media channels that later on piqued the interest of the big businesses to use as the medium to influence the masses and to deliver the message to the potential audience regarding their products.
Since the influencers have a character, aura, and charisma, the audience finds it relatable to connect with them and to hear and listen to what they say. As of now, we have no replacement for a human emotion, and technologies can help us to extend our reach and touch the people if the companies have that ‘X-Factor’ of having a human face to have a relatable experience.
1. Brand Awareness and Reach
As you have already got an idea about your brand’s reach when you collaborate with micro, as well as, mega-influencers who can actually help you to extend your business horizon and can assist you in unlocking the doors that you didn’t even know existed. It happens frequently and can do wonders for your business if you allow yourself to trust your social media person who has an impressive fan following across various social media platforms. Don’t believe? Well, you might believe one of the largest business consulting firms, McKinsey, that published a report about the importance of ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing working twice faster than the paid sales.
2. Effective, Quick, and Cost efficient
Working with an influencer involves good returns with a little amount done. Mostly you have to prepare a post and send them to post on the social media channels. However, as talked in-depth, not every influencer will be good for your business. Hence, a good amount of research is needed before taking the calculative risks, because no matter what you do, every business runs on the risk factor. For some, it works, and for some, it doesn’t. Once you learn how to get the things free, or paying a little amount, it will look peanut to the ROI you get in the end.
It develops the credibility, trust, and loyalty for the brand in a quicker way than you can do by another marketing form. It’s a human psychology to notice what the other humans in the tribe are doing and follow the norm because it involves less risk and much bigger satisfaction. When your product is used and recommended by a social media influence, it bridges the gap between you and the company, and the potential shoppers consider you to shop from.
A lot of companies, even small businesses are trying to get the SEO right by investing a good amount of money on so-called SEO pundits claiming to bring Google first page ranking, but they, in most cases, aren’t worth spending the on. Since the SEO is quite dependent on the quality of backlinks, collaborating with social media influencers is a great way to get quality backlinks to enhance your SEO and website ranking in the search results. When the post content with the link to your website gets traffic and is shared, your ranking gets affected positively and generate better search engine ranking
5. Drive Conversions
When you earn the trust of the potential audience, carefully listens what your social media collaborator says to them. From that very moment, your conversion increases and people start taking you seriously because you get mentioned and have developed a professional image to get posted by an industry expert who works with influential brands to change the lives of its followers.