Influencer marketing is a way to get your ideas, message, and brand out to new audiences through a trusted, and yes, influential source. Working with influencers in your industry provides huge opportunities for growth and when done right, can help you create an authentic relationship with new followers through a trusted connection.
The problem, however, is the lackadaisical approach most marketers take to developing influencer marketing programs, and I suspect part of the reason is because they don’t have the bandwidth or resources to do it right.
While there are entire departments in larger companies devoted to influencer marketing strategies and relationships, the smaller or newer businesses may not have the same depth of services to put their ideas into action.
You (or someone on your team) will always need to be the one to drive the strategy and direction of your influencer marketing program, but you can get help from a virtual assistant to make all your influencer dreams become a reality. Here’s how:
1. Influencer Identification
So, you know you’re ready to reach new audiences using the power of influencers… but where do you find them?
There are several free and paid tools that can do wonders for finding the right influencers for your brand, but it can be extremely time-intensive and even a bit dull to sift through the thousands of influencers out there. Brief your virtual assistant on the type of influencers you’re looking for, and make sure they are clear on the values and keywords that embody the needs of your audience so that your assistant has context in their search.
Try using a combination of BuzzSumo, Mention, and FollowerWonk to start, and then dive deeper with Insightpool and Little Bird to get more insights and detailed matches. Ask your assistant to create a spreadsheet with more options than you need (potentially as many as 50-100 to start) and make sure they include their social profiles and contact details so you can review with as much information as possible. That way you’ll be able to make an educated decision on which influencers to pursue.
Once you’ve got a comprehensive list of influencers from your assistant, you can narrow them down based on tier 1 and tier 2 priorities. The reason for splitting them out like this is so that you can go after your “wish list” first, but still have other options if your tier 1 targets don’t pan out for whatever reason.
2. Influencer Outreach
Now, you should have identified 10-15 of your top tier influencers, and it’s time to take the first step in developing a long lasting relationship with them. Because your assistant is now familiar with the influencers on your short-list, ask them to draft a pitch letter on your behalf to get the influencers excited about working with you. Make sure each letter is concise, but still embodies the core values of your brand. You want the influencer to feel like they’re the right person to work with you.
For example, try starting your pitch with something personal. Everyone loves to have their ego stroked, even influencers, whether they like to admit it or not. This is also the place to prove that you’ve been paying attention to what they’re doing and have some common ground. You could start with something like:
- I was so impressed with your commitment to [CAUSE]. It’s super important because [REASON].
- I loved your ideas about [TOPIC] in the latest edition of [MAGAZINE/PUBLICATION].
- Your post about [X] made me laugh so hard!
See, it can be simple, but must be unique and positive.
Then, you can go into the reason you’re reaching out, and most importantly, what’s in it for them. Be intentional about what your ask is, why you think it would be a good fit for them, and what exactly you want them to do. The clearer you can be about details, deadlines, and compensation (if appropriate), the easier it will be for your influencers to make the decision about working with you.
3. Influencer Scheduling
Ready to take the next steps? It seems simple, but finding the time to work with influencers can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. Influencers are extremely sought-after people, so being flexible, offering multiple times, being sensitive to different time zones, and not taking too much of their time are the keys to this piece of the puzzle.
Your assistant can help you coordinate the right time, place, and platform to get some quality time with your influencer so you can woo them with your smarts. Give them access to your calendar, or have them set up a calendar tool such as Calendly for you so you can get a video or face-to-face meeting set up with your influencers.
4. Influencer Tracking
When it comes to influencer marketing, you don’t ever want to lose site of key performance indicators that let you know whether or not the relationship is successful and worthwhile. Set these KPIs up internally before you engage with an influencer, and then loop your assistant in to track them for you. The easiest way to track these statistics in one place is using Excel or Google Spreadsheets so you can lay out rows for each metric and create formulas to display a (hopefully) positive growth over time.
Some KPIs you may want to consider for influencer marketing success are:
- Website or landing page traffic
- Social media shares
- Share of voice
5. Influencer Promotion
Successfully landing the right influencer for your brand is only half the battle… you’ve got to let the world know about your partnership! Your virtual assistant can help you plan out an editorial calendar that takes advantage of the right times to post about the fun content projects you’re creating with your influencer so you can focus on the strategy. Set up editorial calendars inside an editable spreadsheet like Google Spreadsheets (can you tell I love spreadsheets??) so that you can review the drafts of each post and make comments/changes in real time. That will help your assistant learn about your preferences and expectations.
Also, make sure to equip your assistant with videos, photos, and other engaging promotional items, or hire a virtual assistant who has some graphic design experience to create those for you. In the 21st century of marketing success, visual assets trump large blocks of text!
If you’re looking for new ways to reach audiences effectively with your influencers, you can have your virtual assistant set up platforms like Snapchat, Periscope, and Instagram for you. Make sure you understand where your audiences are hanging out before you get these set up, of course—you don’t want to be creating content on new platforms just for content’s sake.
If you can truly understand the audiences you’re trying to reach and the types of influencers who can help you reach them, you can easily hand off the rest to your trusted virtual assistant. All you need is a plan, a direction, and a little bit of patience!
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Jess Tyson, CEO & Director of Calm
Jess is the founder and proud Director of Calm at Don’t Panic Management. (And yes, she invented that title because that’s what you do when you’re the boss!) She wrote the book on how building a successful relationship with a virtual assistant can make all the difference in helping business owners get to the next level. Her life is often a whirlwind of wrangling her toddler, speaking at conferences (virtual and beyond!), researching productivity hacks, and meticulously making matches between overworked entrepreneurs and focused virtual assistants. Jess's first book, Panic Proof: How the Right Virtual Assistant Can Save Your Sanity and Grow Your Business is available now: panicproofbook.com
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