Social proof is one of the most powerful concepts in marketing. Billion dollar empires were built on the back of endorsements and word-of-mouth marketing.
The reason why social proof is so powerful is that we naturally look to our environment for cues on how to behave. We gain trust in brands and products if we see others endorsing or buying them.
In fact, word-of-mouth marketing generates double the ROI of paid advertising campaigns, according to McKinsey and Company. Now imagine having someone with a massive platform recommend your product.
A great example is Dollar Shave Club (DSC), a startup recently acquired for one billion dollars. In less than five years since founding, DSC has developed an enterprise app and built a huge customer base through marketing campaigns and an enterprise app that feature some of the most popular social media personalities.
That’s what influencer marketing is about; connecting with the people aka ‘influencers’ who have a high social capital and highly engaged following. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Build up Your Target List
Not all influencers are relevant to your brand. Before you get started, you want to consider what message you are looking to get across and who your audience personas are for this particular campaign.
Then, start by making a target list of the most relevant influencers. Use tools like Brandwatch, BuzzSumo, and Twitonomy and look for people who are very active on their platforms. Whether it’s YouTube, Instagram, or their personal blog.
The key criteria to look out for are the reach, relevance, and resonance. In other words, do they identify with your message? What’s the size of their following? Are they frequently retweeted, quoted, interviewed, invited to speak at events?
- Where’s the Value?
In other words, ask yourself what’s in it for them? Influencers get approached a lot. People and companies come to them with one-sided offers that mostly benefit them.
Nothing is more annoying than dealing with someone who’s just looking to extract value.
Reverse your mindset and ask yourself, “What relevant value can I offer?” Even on top of monetary rewards, what are they going to gain by sharing your content or promoting your brand?
Every relationship is a transaction in some way. However, just as you can’t pay with Euros in the US, making a proposition that’s not relevant to their goals won’t get you far.
- Build Relationships
As is with everything, a good relationship starts with providing value; so think about the ways you can help. For instance, you can share their content, promote their books, and so on.
- Start From the Ground up
If you get one influencer on board, the others are much more likely to follow. The same rules of social proof apply here too.
You don’t have to go for Robert Scoble right away. Find people with a smaller following who are more willing to engage. These guys are called advocates and often they don’t require incentives.
- Interview Hack
What you can also do to get started is to start creating content that features influencers. For example, interviews, podcasts, or roundups.
A roundup is the easiest pick, as you just to get them to provide a couple of sentences on some topic. This way you can build up some social proof, initiate relationships, and get the benefits of associating your brand with some recognized names.
Someone who has worked with you in the past is more likely to do so again. Also, seeing that other influencers have worked with you is a solid trust mark for your future relationship building efforts.
Featured Photo courtesy by Retune.com