Want to take your social media to the next level? Then it’s time to start working with influencers!

Social media influencers are people with an established social media audience who can recommend your product to their audience, quickly building your reputation and reaching a broad network of consumers. More and more companies are turning to social media influencers as consumers become increasingly immune to the bombardment of radio ads, billboards, and television commercials. Using these six steps, you’ll become a pro at finding and engaging with social media influencers.

1. Identify Your Company Goals

You need an influencer with a very specific audience, one which will fit well with your message and what you’re trying to sell. If your company sells handmade soaps and lotions, an influencer whose audience loves her for her fashion blogging is not going to fit the bill. To find the right influencers, you need to know exactly what your company needs. Sit down and figure out who your target audience is and why exactly they will want to buy your product. You’re going to want an influencer whose audience is similar, so that his or her fans will instantly be open to your product. While you’re at it, come up with a list of hashtags related to your company, which will help you in finding the perfect influencers. For example, a soap and lotion company’s hashtags might be #handmadesoap, #naturalskincare, etc.

2. Find Your Influencers


The key to working with a social media influencer is finding one who has a lot of influence, not just a lot of followers. Check out these tips on what to look for in an influencer. Platforms such as SocialRank and BuzzSumo can help bring you together with potential influencers. BuzzSumo lets you look for key influencers and the most shared content, while SocialRank shows you which of your Twitter followers are most active and popular. In addition, you can use monitoring tools to help you track mentions of your brand or related keywords and find dedicated fans who might be influencers. Here’s where the hashtags you came up with earlier will come in handy. Track the hashtags on Twitter or your other social networks of choice and keep an eye on which names come up again and again.

3. Get to Know the Influencer

The first key to remember is give, give and give! You need to promote influencers on several levels before they will even consider working with you. Once you’ve found an influencer who matches up with your company goals and audience, take some time to get to know them. You don’t want to just email your influencer without knowing anything about them. Sign up for their email list, if they have one. Monitor their social media accounts so you’re notified when they post something. Spend some time on their blog familiarizing yourself with their way of doing things and think of how you can add value to their brand and business

4. Build a Relationship

Influencer marketing is essentially a relationship between you and the influencer and between the influencer and their audience. Building a relationship takes time and so you want to do it well ahead of time, before you need the assistance of the influencer. Like their Facebook page, leave a comment about how much you enjoy the content they provide. Follow them on Twitter and retweet, like or comment their tweets about things relevant to your company. If they like or comment on one of your posts, always like or comment back on one of theirs. Look here for more specific ways to build a relationship with influencers on various social networks. Remember just like anything the goal is to create a solid relationship and that starts by interacting and by a mutual exchange of value for both parties.

5. Give Them the Whole Experience

You want your influencers to genuinely love your product and want to share it with their followers. Authenticity is key. If you have a company that sells hand-made soaps and lotions, you would send your influencer a sampling of your best scents or varieties. Once your influencer tried your product, ideally they would love it and blog or tweet about it, letting their followers know about this awesome new handmade soap they just tried. But be prepared to pay for this as well, influencers have a million pitches a day. How are you and your company different? Remember to stand out and be as authentic as possible.

6. Compensate Them

Social media influencer marketing is all about the relationships, and relationships are all about making sure that everyone gets something out of the encounter. You want your influencers to feel like you’re helping them out too, not like they’re doing you a favor by promoting your work to their followers. This compensation doesn’t need to be monetary, although it can be. The goal is to make your influencer feel loved, appreciated and acknowledged. You can do this in a variety of ways, by promoting their work to your followers, offering them swag or other perks, by giving them shout-outs and linking to their blog, or by sending them more samples of your work as a thank you.

Social media influencers are a valuable and increasingly utilized aspect of online marketing. If done rightly, engaging with social media influencers will give your company a boost in exposure and popularity. By following the steps in this list, you’ll have the tools you need to start looking for the perfect influencers for your company. Now get out there and start engaging!