Guest post by Tim Brown.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a couple classes of high school students, and used my time to dig into what and how they interact on the web and social media. I was trying to figure out what kinds of ads they responded well to on social media—but lo and behold, they’ve already grown a deep resistance to advertising.
“When was the last time you clicked on an ad on social?” I asked.
“Come on guys—were there any ads in the past year that you actually looked at?”
“Well…if it’s someone I think is cool like an athlete and they’re showing a product, I might be into it,” one brave kid said.
“If it’s a video and it’s entertaining or something I’m into” responded another.
20 years ago, when ads popped up online among the content we were looking at, we clicked on them a bit more frequently because we hadn’t developed such a resistance to them. In 2016, we may very occasionally pay attention to ads, but generally consider them a nuisance.
Because of this aversion to ads, using influencers to sell products has become all the rage.
But though the practice of influencer marketing—driving content by leveraging influencers—has been around for awhile, you may not have fully capitalized on this powerfully effective way to increase your website’s social media traffic, links, and search visibility. Or perhaps you’re looking for new ways to get influencers engaged. Here are three keys to employ this cultural shift effectively:
Make it a habit to interact regularly with people who have large, engaged audiences on social media.
- Make a Twitter list of 10 people in your industry, or in an adjacent industry, who have a large number of followers and a large number of interactions on a regular basis. Then make it a point to interact (favorite, retweet, or mention them) with them at least once a day for a month.
- You want to know what cuts through the clutter—even when someone is highly influential? Blog comments. Most people get notifications for their blog comments, and if you leave a well thought-out comment on their blog, they’re apt to take notice. Do this, especially before reaching out to them via e-mail to be part of a round-up of experts or featuring them in some way on your blog.
The point here is that if you are going to ask them either to answer a brief question and be part of your blog, or you just want them to share your content in general—you have to give, give and give again first. Giving gets you noticed, especially if it’s clear you’re giving them special attention.
Look for mid-level influencers; don’t just target the biggest names in your industry.
Here are some ways to identify mid-level influencers:
- Maybe isn’t “famous” in the classic sense.
- Has an unusually large following for a non-famous person—and that following is active. For example, their tweets often generate 10 or more and retweets.
- Tweets very regularly.
Mid-level influencers are more likely respond to you. There’s nothing wrong with going after the A-list, they just likely have so many people trying to talk to them that they might be a little immune to your pitch.
Find ways to get on influencers’ blogs.
If you haven’t written a round-up post with influencers on your blog—you should stop reading this and go do that now. But just getting influencers onto your blog isn’t the only way to drive traffic. Email them and talk about what you’ve written in the past, tout your social media following if you have a larger one, promise to add value in the vein of what their audience likes, and offer to write a unique article for their blog and share it like crazy on social media.
This is particularly effective if you add a link in the bottom of the post to your site—it can not only allow people to click through to your website, but also drive up your ranking in search engines, which is one of the most powerful ways to drive traffic long term.
Remember – Don’t just feature them, make it easy for them to feature you. And give as much value as you possibly can in the process.
Tim Brown is a designer and Director of Marketing Strategy for Snap Agency – Ecommerce SEO and creates websites that are built around business goals and that are built to attract traffic through SEO Services and increase conversions through Conversion Rate Optimization.