Monday, December 12th, 2016 | 5 min read
Influencer marketing is in.
Around 60% of companies increased their influencer marketing budget in 2015, and many will soon begin influencer programs for the first time. While some larger businesses are hiring additional staff to handle influencer activities, this isn’t an option for most brands.
No matter, since influencer engagement is possible for companies of all sizes. And beyond that, it’s a great way to reach new audiences and improve the success of your overall social marketing strategy.
Here are four ways that companies can bring influencer marketing into their social media strategy to create a massive impact for their brand.
While racking up followers is important (and a lot of fun), a good social manager should also focus on building the right relationships with the right people, in order to grow their community and the brand’s social presence.
Perhaps commit to connecting with a certain number of influencers a month (or per week, whatever works for you), and see what kind of doors you can open. Gestures such as replying to influencer comments with your own insights, or directly messaging an influencer to chat and say hello, can make all the difference.
Engaging with influencer content on social is a great way to start conversations with the people you’d like to connect with. If you monitor the most relevant influencers by adding them to a Twitter list, you can dig through the social noise and identify the best ways to join their conversations.
You could also build out listening queries where you keep tabs on the most influential people in your field. When they post something interesting in your newsfeed, you can respond by adding something interesting to theirs.
The posts you share across your social channels are important because they represent your brand identity. Sharing old, boring, or unreliable content with your customers and followers suggests that your products or services are irrelevant.
That said, it can be a struggle to generate relevant, interesting, sharable content without the right resources.
Using monitoring techniques like the Twitter list mentioned above, you can identify not only the influencers that you’d like to interact with, but also trending content and topics. I’m able to identify relevant posts for our social feed and schedule them in Hubspot in less than 15 minutes per day.
When you go straight to the content created by thought leaders in your industry, it almost guarantees readership and gets your brand on the influencer’s radar.
With insights into who is truly influencing digital conversations, social media managers can spread valuable information across the entire organization and to customers.
People in your organization might want to know which influencers are working with competitors, or how much your brand is engaging with your own influencers.
Social media managers can also highlight influencer campaigns that they admire and share key techniques and insights with other departments for reference. With this information, your organization can access the latest industry intelligence and best practices.
I regularly post information curated from influencer social posts to executives, sales, and the rest of the marketing team through our corporate Slack channel.
For years, social marketers have monitored hashtags, keywords, and @handles in an effort to identify industry relevant conversations and stay connected in the latest trends. Now there is new knowledge to be gained by understanding the influence of the people participating in these conversations.
By using Little Bird, I can see who’s talking about specific topics and and understand how those people are influencing the conversation. I can then connect with the people making the biggest impact on my community, which can help drive engagement around events, tweetchats, or high performing campaigns. Some of our customers also use this data to help them manage crises or address negative conversations about their brand.
People don’t turn to companies any more to inform them about what they want or need, they look to their peers and influencers. By incorporating influencer marketing into your social media strategy, you’ll naturally see organic and valuable growth in your follower count, content engagement, lead generation, and website traffic, and you’ll be a more reliable source of information for your customers.
This article originally appeared on the Little Bird Blog and was written by Marshall Kirkpatrick and the Little Bird team.
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