Influencers. Put in simple terms, influencers are the journalists of the new age. However, unlike newspaper and magazine journalists, influencers are generally a one-person band. Think of every aspect, job role, and outcome of a newspaper or magazine. An influencer's website does all of that and more under the power of just one person. On top of that, many influencers are self-employed, meaning that what was initially a hobby has evolved into their very own business. There’s a lot of respect to be had there. Sadly, it is not always given. Businesses are sometimes quick to forget all this when contacting influencers with prospective opportunities. Speaking from first-hand experience, some, mainly PR agencies, will generally try and get influencers to work for them for free.
The Blogosphere is quickly becoming quite saturated with the likes of “Zoella” and Jim Chapman making a name for themselves as influencers. It seems like everyone wants to try out this new role. This means that there are also influencers out there who just want free stuff, like free hotel stays and meals.
As the age-old saying goes, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Influencers can definitely make a difference to a business, but the ones that represent the best investment have an honest, engaged following and match what you stand for.
At this point, you may be asking yourself why paying an influencer to create a piece of content is any different than paying for an ad in Yorkshire Life. YL is a magazine that looks lovely on your hotel's coffee tables. Your guests may read it multiple times, at least, until it goes out of date. But don't be fooled. Influencers have a much better reach than any print advert.
- An influencer's content is unique and personalised. They generate their own posts, photos, and social media items, though they may add a link or keyword. The effect is that their content is raw. Not unprofessional, but REAL.
- The photography will be their own. Some influencers may ask to use a couple of stock pictures, but being creative is their strength. We know that our readers love that, too.
- Influencers aren’t just active on one social platform. They use them all! Once their content is live, they publicise to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, and more. (Not to mention good old word of mouth!) We are all people at the end of the day, and we all love social content. That's why this strategy works so well.
- It doesn’t end there. Speaking personally, I schedule three tweets a day that reference what I'd consider “old” content. Day-old, week-old, and even year-old content is generally still relevant. If it’s possible to update it, then I do. Unlike an advert in a magazine that gets thrown out after a month or year, content on the web is always there!
- Influencers build personal relationships with businesses. If your business is one that the influencer genuinely likes, and especially if it's one where the influencer knows the owner, they could eventually become a paying customer also.
When it comes to searching and approaching influencers, it’s hard to know where to start. As I mentioned above, everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. The influencer market is becoming quite saturated.
Here are a few things to think about when you look for an influencer:
- Have an idea of your needs before getting in touch. We always like to know up front what is expected from us, as it’s not fun to have spent the time to create and publish content, only to then have to edit it. Also, we’re creative people. You may have an idea that we can work with, but trust us to create the best content for your business.
- Do the research or have someone do it for you. Twitter is the main place to find influencers. It’s our main channel of publicising. Here are a few hashtags to check out: #yorkshirebloggers #yorkbloggers #leedsbloggers #nebloggers (That last tag stands for North East bloggers.) You’ll be able to view the names and profiles of people using the hashtags. Influencers generally put the word “blogger” or “influencer” in their bios, plus links to their websites.
- Follow influencers who you feel would be a good match for your business. If you like an influencer's content, follow them, too. By doing this, you’ll be able to see how active they are and how engaged and receptive their followers are.
- PR firms and major businesses are all about stats and figures. This is perfectly fine. Larger companies sometimes have larger budgets, too. However, try to look at influencers as people, not numbers.
- How do you plan to compensate the influencer? A stay? A meal? Money? Broach the subject of payment upon first contacting them. It is, of course, your main reason for getting in touch. If you’re looking to just pay for a review or something similar, then the best question to ask is, “what would you charge for XYZ?” From personal experience, this could range anywhere between £35 and £100. The rate depends upon the influencer.
- Influencers are business people just like you, but we’re also human. You’ll get a better response and more out of the situation by chatting with us as a person.
Carlone has also written about this in more detail on Boostly. CLICK HERE to read her other post!