The world of digital marketing is one that’s fueled by trends. We’re always paying attention to consumer behaviors and interests that influence the way they make decisions about interacting with businesses online. We also know that trends come and go, and the ability to assess the longevity and relevancy of each one is important in helping businesses gain optimal traction online.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, influencer marketing is one of those buzzword terms that you’ve undoubtedly heard about repeatedly over the past couple years. It’s been long enough that you might think the trend is on the downward slope, but we have news for you – influencer marketing is hotter than ever.

To prove this point, all we have to do is look at the fact that online searches for the term “influencer marketing” is growing by the astounding rate of 5000% per month. This illustrates that not only is influencer marketing not going anywhere, but also that more businesses just like yours are looking at how they too can get in on the action.

Still, it’s not uncommon for businesses to hit a few roadblocks along the path to influencer success. One of the first – and in our opinion, most important – is finding the right influencers for your business. There’s a strategy for connecting your brand with the right influencer. Let’s go over a few tips to help you get the most out of this important marketing trend.

It’s Not About the Numbers

The very first thing businesses need to realize is that the influencer with the largest following might not be the best for your brand. At first glance, influencer marketing appears to be a numbers game. While numbers do matter to a degree, they are definitely not the first thing you need to be focused on.

In fact, the key to success here is to not start search with the influencer at all, but instead by learning everything that you possibly can about your audience. If you think you’ve already done this because you pay attention to all the good information that your digital marketing analytics provide, that’s great. But, we’re going to suggest that you go even deeper.

Connecting with you’re the right influencer with your brand means learning what really motivates your target audience. The key word here is “target”. It’s easy to appeal to a larger audience with an influencer that has mass appeal, but what you’re really after is an influencer that speaks to the audience that’s most likely to become your real customers.

Uncovering the Influencers for Your Target Audience

Social media marketing is an incredibly effective tool for businesses to generate visibility and a reputation online. Considering the social aspect of influencer marketing, it’s also going to be your primary vehicle for connecting to the right personalities.

For example, you might want to leverage social listening to discover the keywords, hashtags and topics that are most relevant to your target audience. This one step alone can help you connect with influencers that will grab their attention.

While this is a great start, you’re going to want to take your search a couple steps further. You want to look beyond social listening cues and pay attention to what’s transpiring in your social media groups, along with what’s happening on your competitor’s pages. Who are the personalities, bloggers and other influential people that have built up a recognizable presence in your online community. Remember, you don’t need to shoot for star power here, just someone that knows how to capture the attention of your audience and inspire them to engage.

Local and Relevant

If when you hear “influencer marketing” you instantly get stars in your eyes, we’re going to ask you to slowly return to earth. Unless you’re a huge corporation with a massive marketing budget, chances are you aren’t going to luck into a relationship with a celebrity level influencer. Trust that this is a good thing.

While audiences may follow along with their favorite celebrities in droves, they’re also paying attention to what happens on a smaller, local scale. We know that word of mouth is incredibly important in the consumer process and connecting with an influencer that has clout and relevancy for your target market is more important than a celebrity status.

Let’s look at how a smaller athletic footwear store might leverage the power of “local and relevant”. They might begin by looking for community events to participate in or even host one of their own. Either way, they’re likely to come in contact with at least one well known member of the community, blogger or social media personality with a strong local presence.

This event opens the door for collaboration. Maybe they partner with a local pediatrician to promote the benefits of outdoor time and physical activity for children or they could connect with a local media personality that is known for participating in community marathons.

These types of connections mean a lot to local audiences that care about their community and they can establish trust and respect for your business.

Making the Connection

This is the part that intimidates a lot people. If it seems awkward to you to just reach out to a stranger and ask them to promote your business, you would be correct. Cold calling might work in some situations, but often building an influencer relationship requires a more nuanced approach.

For example, if you find an influencer you might want to work with start by following along and engaging with them on social media to help them get to know you with zero pressure. From there you can give them a few props by including links to them in your own content and then just passing along a note with link to let them know. There’s no pressure to share, but chances are they will because of the positive mention. From this point, building an influencer relationship becomes easier and more intuitive.

If you do decide to reach out directly and inquire about an influencer relationship, make sure that you strike the balance between warmth and directly stating your purpose in your inquiry. You want to include a thorough but brief introduction along with what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to give in return. Some influencers will want monetary compensation while others will be looking for a relationship that’s mutually beneficial in other ways.

Are you ready to take the leap into influencer marketing? We’d like to help you connect to the people who will propel your business online. Contact Prestige Pro Media today to discover what influencer marketing can do for you.