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Building influencer relationships

Building influencer relationships

This has been a tricky year for marketers. Between Facebook’s continual adjusting of algorithms for how posts are viewed and GDPR’s complicating email marketing, we’re all looking for new ways to reach our audiences.

One of the most effective methods of reaching new audiences is getting in front of other people’s audiences (OPAs).

And one of the best methods for getting in front of OPAs is influencer engagement. By building influencer relationships, B2B marketers can tap into a wider audience quickly.

Here are four ways to do that.

1. Find influencers, then get their attention

Sadly, most advice to organically engage influencers start and ends with “provide value.” And that value is measured only in the form of comments, tweets, and shares.

Although useful, those aren’t the metrics that keep influencers up at night. However, they are useful for becoming a more recognized name with your target influencers.

Start by creating an engagement tracking spreadsheet. Include your influencers’ contact details, links to social profiles, and key metrics, such as followers and website domain authority.

Need help identifying the right influencers? Here is a way:

  • Find partner brands. Don’t focus only on bloggers and thought-leaders. Consider partnering with other companies that have noncompeting value propositions. Use LinkedIn to find relevant executives within other industries.

Now that you know where to find influencers, you must use engagement methods they can’t ignore. Although vanity engagement (liking, sharing, and tweeting) are not the most creative ways of engaging influencers, they are important to becoming a known name.

Here are three ways to use vanity engagement:

  • Comments. If the influencer regularly posts fresh content, add meaningful comments. Don’t just say, “Nice post!” Ask questions, add your perspective, and provide new ways of approaching a challenge the influencer has addressed.
  • Communities. Find the LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, and online forums they frequent. Join the discussions they are part of. Comment to build a one-to-one connection.
  • Social engagement. This direct method provides an additional way to get on your target influencers’ radar. Again, get involved in discussions where they are active. Comment on their status updates, and share them with your own audience.

Once you’ve done all that, you can begin thinking about outreach. The trouble is, you need a compelling reason to connect with an influencer in the first place.

That comes back to value. Now that you know how to engage, here’s how to provide value.

2. Get them in front of your audience

The result? The tactic helped Client Boost grow to $1 million in revenue within the first year.

LinkedIn is a great place to look for potential partners. Search for relevant job titles in industries unrelated to yours. Reach out with a personalized message.

Again, it’s important to get on their radar first. Go back to the engagement principles from earlier in this article. When you do reach out, make sure the benefits of the relationship are clear. And when you do have a business relationship going with the other brand, I recommend taking on most of the work. Here’s a three-step framework for creating co-branded content campaigns:

  • Create an outline. Start with a framework that outlines each section or “chapter” of your content. Include a description of what each section will cover and why it’s important to the audience you share. At this stage, both parties will need to agree and sign off before moving on.
  • Get writing. Like all effective content marketing, the writing should be in-depth, actionable, and full of examples. Include stories from influencers as well as case studies from both brands involved.
  • Determine the design and landing page. Wrap your co-branded content in a beautiful design. Get a landing page built, and create marketing automation systems that allow both parties to receive their share of the leads generated.
  • Distribute. Once your co-branded content goes live, it’s time to distribute. Both parties should send emails to their lists and post on social media. Consider tapping into platforms such as Product Hunt, and use the power of sponsored social posts.

B2B influencer marketing isn’t about persuading thought leaders to share your content. It’s about building mutually beneficial, long-term relationships.

The first step is to add real value. Do that by helping influencers achieve their own goals. People love talking about themselves, and when it means getting their message to a wider audience, they’ll love you for it.

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