The idea isn’t so much about feeding your ego (stay humble people), but rather to build authority in your niche. Your goal is to associate your personal brand with a specific topic—your area of expertise—in the minds of your audience.
The influencer marketing that helps businesses grow—the type that’s appropriate for personal branding—calls for:
– Targeting people your prospects trust for information – Engaging people who shape the important conversations in your niche – Achieving kinship with people whose endorsement will forward your personal branding objectives
The tactic that goes to work in influencer marketing is word-of-mouth, the most powerful kind of marketing in any era, market, or media. The process isn’t exactly magic, but its effect could indeed be magical.
How do you build relationships with someone who sways opinion? The key is reciprocity. You give first and get later. This powerful principle of persuasion has been taught countless times as a key to building influence.
While my latest book, The Road to Recognition, is an A-to-Z Guide to personal branding, chapter I is is aptly titled, I is for influencers. During the writing process, my co-author, Barry Feldman and I, asked some of our favorite marketers for their ideas on how to build influence in a competitive landscape. Here’s what we learned.
Influencer marketing has the potential to create a triple bottom line, where what you create is:
– Good for your collaborators. – Good for your target audience. – Good for your brand building efforts.
See, content marketing and influencer marketing are close friends. It’s been said content is the currency of influence.
Tune into your audience. The influencers you want in your camp are accomplished content marketers. The key to getting started is “listening,” which in the world of digital marketing, means reading (of course you may also be playing and viewing multimedia assets).
Focus on what influencers are creating and how the content is received. You’re bound to see which topics create the most conversation and sharing. Use your influencers as your content thermometers. Track their work with social media tools, feeds, and Google Alerts. You’ll get a feel for what’s hot and what’s not.
Identify influencers. Which influencers should you target? You probably already know which people are the movers and shakers in your field. They’re the speakers, authors, and prominent bloggers.
Social media makes it easy to identify additional influencers. Search social channels by topic to identify people who deliver an attractive combination of relevance and reach. And, of course, you’ll want to factor in “resonance,” meaning engagement levels. Do they engage with their audience and drive conversions?
In addition to using the social channels separately, you can take advantage of influence marketing tools and platforms. There are too many to mention here, but you’ll find it useful to start with Buzzsumo, a tool expressly made to analyze how content performs on social media and search and for identifying influencers.
Join the conversation.When you know who the influencers are—and where they are—next, you want to get on their radar. I’ve seen the process described as “seeding.” You want to plant seeds and nurture them, but refrain from asking for anything from influencers in the early going. You can do so in a variety of ways with social media:
These types of activities will not go unnoticed by your influencers. They’re influential because they’re forever aware of the sentiments of the people they influence.
Our friend Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of Marketing Profs, puts it oh-so-simply. She writes, “Be generous in your definition of ‘influencer.” Maintain a giving mind-set. In this age of social media and content, everyone is potentially a “who” in a who’s who scenario.
And Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at Insight Squared, makes a case for being both realistic and efficient.