Word-of-mouth is the original marketing tool. It’s been going on forever.
It’s been going on ever since one caveman figured out cooked fish tasted good, and recommended it to his other caveman pal. And now we have Long John Silver’s.
“Influencer marketing is not a new phenomenon. It’s built on the foundation of word-of-mouth recommendations. Social media has simply revitalized the power of this marketing technique.” -Neil Waller
Shout out to Neil Waller, speaker of truth. Lest you think that this wave of organic “brand ambassadors” is a bright new idea from some marketing genius, think again.
Social media has opened up all kinds of new doors for word-of-mouth marketing. Before, word-of-mouth meant literal words coming out of your mouth, like when you were talking to your gal Susie at aerobics class.
Now, you can post a well-edited pic to Instagram (“Wouldn’t go anywhere without my #merrells!” #mynature #hike #queenoftheoutdoors) and let the entire World Wide Web know your hiking shoe of choice.
…And marketers have figured this out. They’re like, “WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK FOR US.”
They are not wrong.
Gathering a squad of influential people around you and having them post on your behalf (usually in exchange for free products or money) is the new trend in online marketing, and it is smart.
But what kind of people should you be looking for?
Here are three things to keep in mind when combing the ‘gram for potential brand ambassadors:
1. Find influencers who are relevant to your brand
A person with 10,000 followers will be completely useless to you if that person’s audience is teenage girls, and yours is soccer moms. When looking for influencers for your brand, the first step is to find people who are speaking to the same audience you are.
2. Find influencers who have a big following (and big engagement)
Yes, good influencers have a solid amount of followers. But great influencers don’t just have a lot of followers, they have a lot of interactions with those followers. Look for likes, comments, shares, etc from the influencer’s audience. In a world where followers can be bought, the real way to know the worth of an influencer is to look at how active those followers actually are. Active followers mean an engaged audience, and that’s the kind of audience you want to introduce to your products.
3. Find influencers who move people to action
Finally, it’s important to find influencers who actually cause people to take action. Real influencers have their audience’s loyalty, trust, and respect. That’s the power of a good influencer—they can spark action among a large group of people.
Where do you find influencers on Instagram?
Okay…all that sounds dreamy. Now maybe you’re wondering where to find these relevant, influential social media royals. Here’s how to track them down:
1. Analytics tools like Iconosquare. Iconosquare shows you the people who are your top followers (and potential influencers). Do a little recon and see if they’re a good fit for your brand.
2. Search relevant-to-you hashtags on Instagram. This will help you find people who are talking about what you’re talking about.
3. Scroll through the “people you might like” feed under the search section. This feed is curated by Instagram based on what you like, share, and follow, so it’s a good source for finding like-minded people.
Pro-tip: Wading through Instagram could turn into hours of mindless scrolling if you’re not careful. Set a timer so that your time spent influencer-shopping doesn’t turn into six wasted hours.
Once you find influencers you want to partner with, you have to woo them.
Don’t shoot them some business-y email that sounds like it was written by a robot. Ew. Reach out in an organic, social way. Here’s how:
1. Follow them. This is obvious.
2. Interact with them. By liking their content, commenting, complimenting, etc. you’re showing you care about their content and them. (We call this Instagram-flirting, and it is a real thing for people looking for dates, and also brands looking for ambassadors. See how great flirting works here.)
3. Reach out in a low-key, personal way. Once you’ve built some social collateral, reach out via personal message and ask if they would be willing to have a chat with you. If they say yes, bingo! You can work out details from there.
Seeking out influencers on Instagram to promote your brand is a great way to step up your organic marketing strategy. [ctt_hbox link=”8OX6m” via=”no” ]Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool, and social media has become the megaphone. [/ctt_hbox]