Apr 25, 2016 / by Katie Gaab

Ninety-two percent of consumers trust recommendations from individuals over brands and 65 percent read more than four reviews before they put their trust in a business.

So how will brands resonate with their audiences if they aren’t listening?

Social media influencers.

At their recent webinar,Team Up With Social Media Influencers,” Natalia Dykyj and Stacey Miller discussed why brands must ask social media influencers to join their story. Doing so will not only allow them to flip this modern-day marketing challenge into an opportunity, but increase reach, earn credibility and stand out from the competition.

Ready to get started? Follow their four recommended steps to implement a social media influencer relations strategy.

1. Find Your Target Influencers


The first hurdle in building an influencer relations strategy is knowing who exactly to target.

Influencer marketing isn’t about casting a wide net & hoping for a bite. It’s much, much more targeted than that, says Dykyj

Whether your brand wants to grow awareness, educate your audience, increase your social following or build SEO authority, you must set overarching goals for your program.

Next, start asking questions to inform your selection process: How deep is their involvement in your industry? How loyal are their followers? How often do they influence engagement?

“Try to find those who are not involved with other brands already,” says Miller. “Assign bonus points to influencers if they are a content creator with original ideas.”

2. Segment Your List

To ensure you’re targeting the right influencers, keep a working roster and continue to reevaluate who is listed.

If someone isn’t on your list but has been promoting your brand on their own, send a surprise, personal thank you and add them to a budding influencer roster.

Dykyj and Miller also reference Michael Smart’s 80-20 principle. He recommends spending 80 percent of your time on the top 20 percent of your list.

For brands just getting started, Miller suggests a small pilot group of five to 10 influencers.

“Think about a schedule that meets your goals so that when you expand your target group, you can keep them engaged for a longer period of time,” she says.

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3. Understand Who They Are

“Learn everything you can to understand how to approach these influencers…inflit’s very akin to media relations,” says Miller.

With social media monitoring software, you can see who your influencers are talking to, what they like, what they are posting and on which platforms.

“People trust people like themselves. And that is never going to change,” says Dykyj

By understanding an influencer’s voice, social presence, audience and ability to compel her followers to action, you’ll have a better chance at her accepting your proposal to work with your brand.

4. Reach Out Regularly


Your brand can’t expect to build a relationship if it’s not regularly engaging its influencers. The key to making outreach genuine lies in your ability to be human.

Saying thank you, whether for their work on a specific campaign or just because, will ultimately keep influencers interested in and happy to work with your brand.

“Influencers love feeling recognized and a part of something bigger,” Miller says.  

Another great way to reach out is through invite-only or sneak peek events. You can keep influencers ahead of the game by informing them of new products or giving them VIP access.

Miller also went over three mistakes to avoid making when working with influencers.

“Don’t treat them like commodities, ask for anything first, or forget to disclose if compensation is involved,” Miller says.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3

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About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.