Jan 07, 2015 / by Susan Guillory

Even the smallest business can reap benefits when a highly influential person talks about the brand.

These influencers can be found on social media and blogs, and tend to have tens of thousands of followers who trust them for advice.

How Influencers Help You

A share of your news or blog content. A review of your product. Posting your guest blog. There are myriad ways influencers can benefit you; it’s up to you to determine how to engage them.

Ultimately, you want an influencer’s endorsement. You know that his followers will trust his approval or recommendation of your brand, and they’ll click to learn more about you. As long as your site is appealing and easy to use, at least some of those clicks will turn into sales.

Initiating Contact

Hola - Influencer Relations for PR

Just like with any relationship building, you want to make a long-term plan to connect with these influencers. Start by following them on various social channels, and begin sharing their content, retweeting what they post, and responding to what they share.

Don’t be offended if you don’t get a personal response every time. You’re far from the only person trying to get the attention of these influencers. The point is just to be consistent (without being too brown-nosey) and simply get on their radar.

Make Sure It’s a Good Fit

You can bet that influencers get hit up a lot with requests to promote a product or brand, so you’ve got to try really hard to stand out. First, be courteous and simply determine if your product is a good fit. If there’s an influencer that is known as an expert on vegan cuisine, she’s probably not the ideal fit for testing out your CRM software!

You want to find the influencers that will really benefit from your product. Will it help them do what they do better? Are they already using something else they love? These are all questions you can find answers to with a little digging into their social profiles and blogs.

Want to know more about influencer relations? Get our free “How to Succeed With Influencer Relations” white paper!

Wind Up Your Pitch

Pitching Influencers in PR

Just like when you pitch a journalist, you need to take your time carefully crafting the email you’ll send a given influencer. You want to include the following:

  • Brief introduction: hopefully you’ve made an impression and they’ll quickly know exactly who you are.
  • Intro to your product: keep it to a sentence or two for brevity.
  • What’s in it for them: focus on the benefits to them personally.
  • Offer: what will you give them? A free 1-year subscription? Free product? Make your offer clear here, and simply say that you’re hoping they’ll like it and tell their audience about it.

Just like with your social media updates, you shouldn’t necessarily expect to get an instant reply. These people are busy! Respect that. Follow up in a week to see if they’re interested (this second email usually gets a prompt response), and if they are, move forward.

Nurturing the Relationship

Whether an influencer agrees to advocate for you or not, be a good digital citizen by continuing to support them through social media and their blog. If they do write about your brand, be sure to share the post with your network to help more people click to their blogs.

Photos: Sean Mac Entee, Martin Alvarez Espinar, Paul L. Dineen (Creative Commons)

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About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.