With the explosion of social media as a marketing tool, the role of "influencers" has become key in reaching customers. What is an influencer? My definition is a word-of-mouth expert. InfluencerAnalysis.com explains: "An influencer is an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche process...in the end, influencers are a key type of evangelist for your company." How can an influencer help your business? Consider these statistics:

  • Brands are mentioned 3.3 billion times a day in America-everything from toothpaste to tortilla chips.
  • 92% of people seek referrals from sources that they trust
  • 81% of social media users search online for recommendations before deciding
  • According to Advertising Age, the top 20 "brand-friendly" YouTube beauty and style channels have between 1.59 million and 41.2 million views each month
  • A recent McKinsey Study that marketing-inspired, word-of-mouth influencers can generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate.

Finding influencers who will promote your product or service can change your business. Their ability to engage and impact potential customers is worth taking the time to do your groundwork and then connect with the influencers who can create the buzz that sends clients your way. Here are four tips on how to reach influencers:

  1. Decide what you want: Influencers don't always mean greater revenue, at least not right away. Your strategy may be to simply increase awareness, grow your list of subscribers, or develop a great hashtag for your company.
  2. Do your research: It's important to find a proper relevance match for your company. Digital tools such as SocMetrics and Appinions can help locate influencers by category or geography. When it comes to influencers, "close enough" is only going to waste your time. Follow the bloggers and tweeters who can truly understand your brand.
  3. Think small for a big impact: David Nazaryan, CEO of Digital Media Group, advises, "Smaller, niche-specific blogs typically have higher-user engagement rates--shares, replies, comments, meaning you have access to a smaller, but more active market of potential consumers who are loyal to your influencer and trust their recommendations."
  4. Take time to develop a relationship: This is the most important step once you've located an influencer who is a good match for your business, follow him or her on social media. Make comments and show interest in what they are doing before asking that your product be promoted. Do a little more research: Deliver content in a format that the influencer prefers. Keep in mind you have to provide some value to the influencer.

If you take the time to create a relationship with you target influencers then the sky is the limit on how they can help you grow your business. Do your homework on the best influencers and then reach out.

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Published on: May 18, 2015