Learn 5 Tips to Engaging Influencers Organically

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This post is an excerpt from the 5 Tips to Engaging Influencers Organically breakout session at the Authentic Marketing Conference in Los Angeles led by Tim Sae Koo, Co-Founder and CEO at TINT. The conference was a rich environment for brands and influencers to openly discuss tactics for authentically building a strong following. All of the content from the Authentic Marketing Conference is available as a Digital Marketing Bootcamp.

A common problem for brands occurs when there isn’t a budget to pay for influencer marketing, but brands want to be able to use influencers regardless. Another problem is that "canned paid influencer posts" feel exactly like "canned, paid influencer posts". The solution for this is to develop a well strategized, organic relationship before there is a “need” for an influencer or a “need” for content.

There are a variety of influencers available starting with the A-list celebrity influencer who have millions of followers and are very expensive for brands to get. Typically, A-list influencers charge anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 a post. Then there are power-middle influencers who have a following of anywhere from 10,000 to about 250,000 that are very niche in their industry and they have these intimate communities.

The benefit of working with power-middle influencers is that they really resonate well with their audience and their audience really listens to them. There is a trend going into these power-middle influencers over the A-list and B-list celebrities because these power-middle influencers are so passionate about their niche topic that it can drive more engagement.

Here are 5 tips to help you build an organic long-term relationship with influencers, as opposed to a short-term transaction that is a “come and go.” 

1. Curate targeted content

Help influencers and make their job easier by curating content and sending it to them without anything in return. Give something without expecting anything in return. There are a couple of tools that I have used that can help you automate this process but still provide value including Pocket, Pinterest, and Twitter as well as Flipboard, IFTTT, and LinkedIn Pulse. These tools make it possible to find great content and then curate it into lists that you can send out to influencers that you want to connect with.

2. Band together for a cause

Partnering with charitable efforts will often naturally bring in other influencers that are interested in helping to shed light on a charitable cause. The intention of doing good by the brand can make it easier to connect with influencers and get them on board if they support the cause naturally.

3. Help influencers grow their presence

Invite your influencers to develop their brand. Focus on helping them grow their brand through their base audience and through their engagement. An example of this would be allowing an influencer to “take over” your brand Instagram so they can grow their audience while acting as the face of your brand.

4. Consider partnering with an influencer for an exclusive product launch

Partner with an influencer and launch products on behalf of their brand to their audience. It’s a step-up from giving a discount code or a coupon code. When you find a way to launch a product or service that can be done with the influencer’s brand, then that is great.

5. Meet in person

Schedule reach outs to meet in person and solve problems. I think emails are so easy but meeting in person, even for fifteen minutes, can be a powerful way to connect as well as build a real relationship that feels authentic.

Other ways to engage with new influencers:

  • Acts of random kindness
  • Create discount codes for audiences
  • Invite only exclusive events
  • Light, consistent social media engagement
  • Reply to content with thoughtful commentary

People want to connect with people who show an interest in them. Light consistent social media engagement and replying to content with thoughtful commentary shows that you are interested in that person and their brand. An influencer will remember this type of interest when a brand comes to them later on looking for an influencer.