Content creation is only half the game.
Unless you actively distribute your content, it won’t generate views or shares. Which is probably why influencer marketing has become today’s go-to strategy.
If you’re able to convince influencers to share your content, there’s a good chance you’ll get the results you need. According to Linquia:
- 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016
- 94% of them found influencer marketing to be effective
Why is this working so well?
People trust other people’s recommendations and reviews. But more than that, they trust influencers — people who are already established as spokespersons for or professionals in a specific industry.
Why work with influencers and how to convince them to help you
Let’s start by agreeing that social media is more powerful today than ever. If your posts get enough shares and are seen by your target demographics, your marketing campaign may prove to be successful.
So why do you need influencers?
Because they’re followed by huge groups of people and who trust them implicitly. Since they’re viewed as thought leaders in their area of expertise, people tend to follow their advice and recommendations.
Studies back this up. One of the latest, conducted by OkDork and Buzzsumo, concluded:
On the importance of getting influencers to work with you…
Influencers have an immediate effect on a piece of content’s total number of shares when they decide to share it on their personal channels.
- Posts that were shared by influencers received 31.8% more shares on social networks.
- If a piece is shared by three influencers, the number of shares received will have doubled.
On how to attract influencers to share your content…
Influencers don’t share just any piece of content. According to the study:
- Long-form articles get more shares.
- Trustworthy articles get more shares.
- Blogs/pages with visuals are perceived as more attractive, especially to Facebook fans.
- People love to share lists and infographics.
Now, let’s talk about your best strategies for attracting more influencers and convincing them to help you.
1. Create long-form articles
Long-form content can benefit your brand in many ways.
A long piece usually includes more research, stats, and new perspectives on the topic being discussed, making it more informative than short blog posts of 500–800 words.
Then there’s the SEO benefit of long-form articles. According to WordStream, these types of blog posts usually rank higher in search engine ratings than their shorter counterparts.
This is important because the higher your pages rank in search engines, the easier it is to be found by influencers searching for stories and stats for their own pieces. If your articles have the information they’re looking for, assuming they include a link to their source material, you’ll earn the backlink.
Thirdly, the longer an article, the more shares it’s likely to generate. Here, we’re talking about the total number of shares an article is capable of generating.
How do you measure the value of these shares? You need to be tracking your content’s performance so you can measure an influencer’s contribution to your overall strategy. To get an accurate picture, check for three things: visibility, engagement, and revenue.
2. Give free publicity to big companies and influencers
Why feature brands and people who are already well-known in their space?
Because it puts you on their radar.
Even more valuable, if the article that features them is high-quality, there’s a chance they’d share it, which could exponentially grow your total number of social media shares.
Take this example from Qosy.co.
What did they do?
They posted an article featuring ten of the best single malt brands of whiskey, including links to the products that make their list. The first one on their list is a popular brand named Lagavulin.
Lagavulin liked the idea of the article. They also liked the fact that their brand ranked first. So they shared the article on Facebook, generating more than 1900 likes and over 400 shares.
That might not be much for an already-popular blog, but if you’re just starting out, this would be an incredible boost.
We’ve seen that you can get more social shares by targeting the right companies and influencers and give them free publicity in your content. But it’s not as easy as it sounds to find the right influencers to target.
You need to know:
- Who you’re targeting
- What their main interests are
- How big their audiences are
- And more
If you want to be thorough, you need to start by defining your expectations. Then analyze influencers’ past relationships with other brands and their potential.
3. Guest post on the blogs that are most likely to raise the interest of an influencer
There are a lot of popular websites and blogs that welcome guest authors. You may not be paid for these kinds of articles, but you may benefit more in the long run.
Look for blogs that are frequented by your targeted influencers or, even better, try to find the blogs they run. Then reach out to pitch your idea.
If your content is indeed valuable and linkable, there’s a good chance it will be shared, cited, and linked by people who have the power to jumpstart your content’s viral potential.
How do you figure out where influencers are and what they read?
4. Use visuals
Visuals include images, graphs, infographics, and videos. Here are 2 reasons you should use as many visuals as possible in your content.
First, in order to get shared on social media, a post should be visually appealing for these types of channels. Take a quick look at shared links on Facebook or Twitter. The image that accompanies them is the feature image assigned to that post, usually a relevant, attractive, or curiosity-building visual.
That being the case, this is the first thing you need to take care of: Have at least one featured image, even if you are not using other types of visuals in your content.
Secondly, it’s easier to convey a message with images and graphs. 90% of the information perceived by the human brain is of visual nature. Also, the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than written text.
In other words, people comprehend a visual message more easily — and they’re more likely to remember it long-term.
Moreover, including visuals in your content raises the odds that influencers will see your content and link back to it — especially if they use some of your visuals to back up their own ideas.
Social media content, including links to your articles, generate 94% more views if you associate the text with visuals. This is why you need at least a featured image.
You need to think just like advertisers do.
- Be strategic about how you use visuals in your content.
- Create relevant images that convey a clear and effective message.
The right tools will help. One I recommend is Bannersnack. It is available online, it enables a marketer to create professional designs and most of all, it allows you to create full sets of banners and visuals compatible with all major social media channels.
With this banner-set generator, you can design a basic template that instantly generates a bunch of custom sized visuals for all these channels without the need to resize, adjust, or redesign. It’s truly remarkable.
5. Be trustworthy
It goes without saying that trust is important in marketing. It’s also important when you’re targeting influencers.
Trust is important in any relationship, and even if you’ve never met in person, a relationship exists between you as a marketer and the influencers who share your posts. It’s a relationship built on trust and the value of your content.
How do you start building trust?
- Always back up everything you say with relevant links, citations, and stats.
- Create an author profile, including who you are, what you do, and a few words about yourself.
- Engage actively with your audience and respond to all their messages and emails.
If you follow these simple rules, you’ll convey that you’re authentic and trustworthy, which will help you build stronger relationships with customers as well as influencers.
Influencer marketing, especially on social media channels, is a smart way to build a brand, increase awareness, and drive more shares and likes (and yes, more sales too).
Your strategy, however, hinges on the content you share and the practices you use, from the selection of your topics to the links you share.
There are simple rules to follow if you want to convince influencers to share your work. I’ve given you the rules I tend to follow. What’s your approach?
About the Author: Robert Katai is a digital marketer, blogger, and content marketing manager at Bannersnack, a professional banner creation app for designers & marketers. He’s passionate about visual marketing, Instagram, audio content marketing, and always up-to-date with the latest trends.