The title indeed references the well-known book from our past, and one that many a brand and marketing guru spent time reading.
How to Win Friends and Influence People may have had in it the roots of this discussion, but the methodology and speed at which you can now implement the strategies contained therein have moved on a long, long way since the book was written.
The self-help guide by Dale Carnegie was aimed at making people like you, bringing people over to your way of thinking, and handling people in general. It is the basis of influence and thus is still a good read. An influencer marketer will use the selfsame tips to win people over online and if they do not like you, they will not be staying or buying. A great example is to look at the six ways that Carnegie notes you can get people to like you and it becomes clear that a lot of what was written then still applies today, online:
- Smiling – if there’s live video it’s possible, but on platforms where this is not possible, then the tone of voice and how you write will become more important to denote your smile.
- Being genuinely interested in other people is one of the main ways that you can win them over and show that you care.
- Remembering the other person’s name and then using it when you converse or interact with them goes a long way to building rapport and creating a genuine conversation.
- Listening is arguably more important than talking and it will be vital to be able to listen to your customers and clients online if you are to build a sustainable following.
- Sincerely making the other person feel important – you will not be able to influence someone who does not feel as if they matter.
- Talk of the other person’s interests. Influencing online is a tricky process, in that you need to be able to promote the brand you are paid to publicize, yet you also need to create a genuine relationship with followers if they are to buy-in for the long term. This will require knowing the audience and allowing the conversation to be about them.
Influencing people online and winning them over has become big business, both for brands as well as influencers themselves.
What Is Influencer Marketing
This is whereby you use your social following online to promote and then sell a brand, product, or service. We have all seen the power of the modern influencer who is able to sell products to millions or shift trends in a range of different markets just from a mention or photograph on their Instagram or Facebook account. We often see that the most effective influencers are big stars, such as Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande or sports mega stars such as Christiano Ronaldo, but there are many organizations and more ordinary people who are able to grow a brand through a smaller more intimate following, by first getting these people to like you and then to believe your message.
A key trait of any influencer marketing strategy is using expert knowledge or niche content to create brand awareness or drive a brand massage to a particular audience. If you want to ensure your value as an influencer, you have to be able to leverage your loyal followers to expand a brands’ reach and cut across different channels and platforms in a holistic and comprehensive way.
How to build an influencer marketing strategy
Understanding the different levels of influence on social media could help you to build your following and increase your value as an influencer. You may already have a significant following and consider yourself a mega-influencer. These are people with more than 1 million followers and who are able to demand significant fees for endorsing a product or brand. If you are not quite at that level yet, you may be aiming towards being a nano-influencer who has around 10,000 followers but is growing their visibility and their influence.
Remember that you may not have the big numbers yet, but if you are able to demonstrate expertise or knowledge in a specific area, you can grow your following and your position as an influencer by just being you. One of the hallmarks of a good influencer is not only sharing expert knowledge or understanding of a niche market but also standing for something. No one ever grew a strong following by sitting on the fence.
Build your brand
Once you have identified your niche or expertise, it is important to stay on message and be consistent. Your message is the reason your followers keep coming back, but they want to know that you are on-message and share their values. Being consistent in your message and brand also allows your followers to feel confident in sharing and liking your posts because they are comforted by knowing they can relate to you.
Whether you have a small following but are looking to build your network of followers or you are a mega-influencer wanting to establish a partnership with a multi-national corporation, you need to find the right connections for your brand. The best way is to use a global influencer agency that cannot only make those kinds of connections but also solidify a strong relationship between you and potential clients.
Build partnerships and relationships
Of key importance in any influencer marketing strategy is working with clients that not only understand your brand and want you to endorse their products but they should also want to build a partnership with you. This means making sure your brand goals are clear and any company that approaches you to endorse their products shares similar values. This kind of partnership and relationship will ensure that your followers remain loyal and your brand is secure.
You may make some mistakes along the way in terms of partnering with the wrong brands or brands that detract from your goals. But, as long as you are learning along the way and reflecting on what works and what does not, then you will be able to continue to build your following and your community.
Build your platform interactivity
While you may be comfortable with just one platform and know the ins and outs of publishing expert posts on Instagram, without a multi-platform strategy, your following may become stagnant. This does not mean spreading yourself too thin across too many platforms but optimizing your profile on two or three social media platforms that allow you to build your expertise in those few platforms and ensure your profile on each is always up to date and professional.
Choosing the right social media platforms to optimize will largely also depend on your own strengths and talents. If you know you are natural in front of the camera and enjoy performing visually, then using a video platform would make the most sense. If this is the case, you might want to dedicate more time to YouTube and Instagram rather than a text-based platform such as a blog. Your followers want to know that you are comfortable and confident in sharing information and knowledge with them and showing that confidence will ensure they accept your endorsement and turn time into money.
Be consistent and engaging
Another key element of building a strong influencer marketing strategy is ensuring that you are not only engaging with your followers but that you are consistently and regularly engaging with new and interesting content. Follower numbers will stagnate if you are not regularly sharing ideas and new information that show you are on-trend and understand the niche market you are catering to.
Consistency and regularity send a strong message to your followers but being engaging and communicating back to them is another key strategy. Remember that any social media platform allows communication across different levels and being able to optimize and leverage those communication channels shows you can relate to your followers. It also allows you to actively issue a call to action to your followers directly. Any brand or product you are endorsing will benefit greatly from direct engagement with your followers and using your expertise to promote action from them.
Becoming a global influencer is a process and the lessons that can be learned from the top influencers out there are as follows:
- Social media is just as important as the company webpage
- Collaboration and networking are key to social media success
- Content is still king
- Use the various platforms differently – some are more visual, such as Instagram, while others are designed to tell stories, like Facebook.
Becoming an influencer or using an influencer to build your brand can be a lengthy process and as aforementioned it can be a much simpler process to hire an agency to source the influencers, create a campaign and implement the campaign. Your brand or business must still understand the process and the end goal.
This article provides some clear insights as to how brand influencers on social media platforms have gone global. Furthermore, understanding how influencing works and why it is a useful avenue to increase revenue is both topical and also incredibly relevant.