Many SEO companies are one dimensional in the way that they approach linkbuilding and their SEO tactics. They are afraid to step out of the tried and true methods that they have used in the past or read on popular blogs.
Influencer marketing has gained popularity over the past few years as one of the best ways for small businesses to gain exposure that they could never manage without leveraging another companies audience.
It’s arguably one of the best methods for smaller companies to also build links. Not only can influencer marketing get you links from the target website, but because they have a significant audience, this can lead to more links from those that read the post.
What is Influencer and Relationship Marketing?
Influencer marketing is when you network strategically with influencers in your industry who have larger audiences than you. This way, you can market directly to their huge audience. However, the power of influencer marketing is that the audience is hearing the recommendation from an industry leader that they trust.
This is much more powerful than just seeing an ad or reading about your company on a random blog they stumbled upon. The ‘power of authority’ has been used by huge brands for centuries as a way to market their products.
That’s exactly why they use celebrities in their advertising because if it’s good enough for George Clooney or Angelina Jolie, it’s probably good enough for us.
Influencer marketing is also known as relationship marketing because that’s essentially what you’re doing. Your goal should be to form a strong relationship with the industry leader so that you can ask them for a favor.
It’s unlikely that they will go out of their way to publicize your business if they don’t know you, but if you’ve helped them in the past, then they might be far more likely.
Who Should You be Targeting?
Choosing exactly which influencers to market to is arguably the most important step in the process. If you pick the wrong people then no matter how hard you try, it’s unlikely that you’ll have much success.
So, who should you be targeting?
This will all depend on who you are and how respected you and your business is within the industry.
If you’re a new company, then you’ll only be able to influence the smallest people whereas if you’re already well-known in the industry, you might be able to target larger brands. You should be targeting the biggest influencers in the industry because these people are going to have the most impact.
You can roughly figure out and influencers ‘influence’ by looking at the number of comments, shares, likes and views they get on the content that they create. This is particularly easy to track on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
While quantity is important, quality is just as critical to your success.
You need to ensure that the influence is directly related to your industry and that their audience is the same as your target customer. If not, you’ll struggle to make any sales or generate ‘buzz’ and backlinks.
Also, you should look for interaction and trust in the influencer’s audience. It’s not enough that they have a large audience, that audience needs to believe in them enough that they take actions and make purchases.
The easiest way to tell this is to look at previous products or services that they’ve recommended and then look in the comments section to see how their audience has reacted to the post.
How to Market to Influencers
Marketing to influencers is a rather intricate process that couldn’t possibly be listed as a step by step guide. Your goal is to build a relationship such that when you ask for them to post or share your content, they feel obliged rather than reluctant.
Gary Vaynerchuk regularly described this as jab, jab, jab, right hook. His idea is that you should provide value over and over again, before delivering your ‘ask’. This way, you’ve given them an overwhelming amount of value, so they practically have to fulfil your request.
In practice, you could point out mistakes on their website, create them a custom graphic, design a soundtrack for their podcast or write a huge post on their website.
Then, when the time is right, you’ll be able to ask the influencer to share your post or include a link to your site. These links can be extremely powerful for your SEO, but they can also send targeted traffic to your site that can convert into paying customers.
Influencer marketing shouldn’t be considered a short-term plan or process; it’s going to take a significant amount of time for you to form those relationships. However, once you have them, they’ll last a lifetime and can be used to benefit both you and their business.