What’s the saying? It’s not what you know but who you know.
This is definitely a sentiment that’s driving marketing approaches at the moment – influencer marketing is big news.
Why are influencers so important?
An influencer is someone who has an established and loyal audience, most often grown online. Their followers associate them with high-quality content that resonates with their values.
If you are able to connect with an influencer and get them to give your training business a ‘shout out’, it acts like a seal of approval on the quality of your services.
Influencers can also help you to extend the reach of your marketing. For example, if you can get a blog article shared by one influencer who has an audience of 50,000 people that will have a far greater impact – and potentially convert to more bookings – than a 1,000 reads by people with no audience/influence.
Let’s not forget too that people trust third parties – especially recognised influencers – far more than they trust brands when it comes to promotional statements. Potential clients expect you to say good things about yourself; it rings a lot truer when someone impartial says good things.
Tips for reaching out to influencers
Just as with any other form of marketing, it is important for you to have a strategy before you reach out to influencers.
Try the following:
- Identify your audience and niche(s)
- Make a list of people who are recognised as influencers within your niche
- These might be people who blog about your industry
- Perhaps they have published books about the topics covered in your training
- Look at their social media pages, websites and other content
- Do their values align with your own?
- Do you seem to share the same audience?
- How do they engage their followers?
- Begin reaching out to the influencers you want to connect with – you might do this by:
- Sending out a personalised request to connect on LinkedIn
- Liking their social media pages and commenting on some of their posts (try to engage in opportunities for conversation)
- Commenting on their blog articles
- It’s important to be genuine and only reach out to people when you feel it would be mutually beneficial to you both (i.e. you can give the influencer great content to share with their audience and benefit from their reach)
- Nurture your new connections by actively participating in their communities
- Ask how the influencers you’ve targeted usually like to work with brands
- Reference and link back to an influencer in a blog article – for example, you could add a list of helpful resources at the end and specifically mention a relevant article on an influencer’s blog
- Reach out to that influencer by email or on social media, telling them that you want to thank them for a great article about X, Y or Z and that you’ve included it in your latest blog because you felt it would be relevant to your audience
- Write an article that fits within the influencer’s niche and then message them with the URL and mention that their audience might get some value from reading it
As you can see, connecting with influencers is all about creating genuine relationships with people who are established in your field and who share the same values as you and your audience.
I think it’s crucial to be respectful of influencers – they’ve built their following over a long time and with plenty of hard work. People trust what they have to say so it’s often better to let them mention your business than to expect them to feature a guest blog.
Go into an influencer marketing strategy with the intention of giving value to your audience and building professional relationships and you’re off to a good start.