Today there are over two billion active social media accounts worldwide, growing by 12 percent in the last 12 months. For all the media hype that still surrounds the world of social networks, there is one thing people have come to accept: it’s not going anywhere.
Virtual networks are built on the illusion that everyone likes everyone, and everyone can be “friends.” However, what is truly needed in order for people to build meaningful relationships with each other is the synchronicity of shared experience. That’s because no matter how “friendly” your interactions may be, they are not in person.
One challenge organizations often encounter in implementing influencer marketing programs is taking those first few steps to engage with influencers. There’s often this moment of fear that you might not be following best practices, offending someone, saying the wrong thing – we all know the feeling.
Reaching out to influencers can be intimidating. What’s the right approach? What should you say and how should you say it? What should you ask for--and when? Understandably, marketers have shied away from creating these connections in favor of driving conversions. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
By understanding what matters most to your influencers, you’re one step closer to connecting with the people your customers trust the most. Thereby connecting your future customers with your brand.
What holds true in the offline world holds true in the online world too. Relationships start to take hold primarily by listening and talking to each other. Before you can engage with influencers, it’s critical to have a good sense of their needs. Yes, you know how often they’re talking about your topic, but what does that tell you about them as people? Because, ultimately, influencer engagement is about human interaction.
Best-in-class marketers begin their day by listening. Follow in suit, that way you can monitor activity, listen and participate in relevant conversations around your topic, and prioritize your engagement. The key to building lasting relationships with influencers lies in conversations. Make sure to listen regularly to gain golden nuggets of information, which will help you uncover optimal opportunities to engage with them.
The hardest thing for marketers to do is aside their tactical goals when engaging with influencers. It is however the only path to success.