For an aspiring brand wanting to build a strong social media presence one of the key techniques to acquire the initial core audience is to attract the niche's opinion leaders to cooperate and become exposed to their audience in that way.
Opinion leaders are more effective for several reasons:
- People prefer the "live" voices to corporate ones;
- People tend to follow the example of those they respect, so a good way to sell your cropped top is to get Charlize Theron wear it;
- People are more trusting when it comes to their role models.
The plan sounds pretty simple, but it is at the same time quite a tricky one. Opinion leaders or the so-called influencers can be pretty difficult to work with.
Which means simply getting them to agree to help you is not enough.
In order to benefit from their help, you need to learn how to use and motivate them effectively and get the best results.
So here are several easy tips on dealing with the influencers:
1. Give them some freedom
Those people managed to become famous through their skill, and the audience knows their voice.
That means writing a press release and handling if to the influencer while demanding from him or her to reblog or retweet it without changing a word isn't the smartest strategy.
Give your opinion leaders some creative space, and you'll see the results and the engagement will be much higher.
2. But establish a general direction
Creative freedom is great but monitor your influencers closely in order to make sure they don't get carried away.
After all, you need real results from them, not just "everything they want to say".
Their posts, however creative, must still answer your needs and serve the initial purpose of endorsing your brand or a product.
3. Keep the work mutually beneficial
You need to make sure both you and the influencer you are dealing with benefit from the said cooperation.
There are lots of ways to endorse back people who are helping you to establish brand presence in social media, and you should use them.
Gratitude is extremely important: it defines, whether other influencers will agree to help you in the future.
4. Use opinion leaders for the offline events
Giving the fans to know the people they love, getting the opinion leaders to make presence before the media, showing your genuine friendship - what's more to wish for?
Invite the opinion leaders you are cooperating with, to your meeting, workshops and online events.
Invite several journalists, too, and a good photographer.
Consider live-streaming the event for Facebook - this new feature is going to be trending!
5. And use them while organizing contests, too
What's better for making both your existing and potential followers to engage with your posts, than a contest with gifts?
A concert, where the gift is something connected to the celebrity or opinion leader they adore and want to copy.
It doesn't have to be a date with the said celebrity - a small trinket with the autograph will be quite enough.
You'll see your followers numbers grow in the geometrical progression.
6. Use opinion leaders who really like your brand
"Fake it till you make it" is not the best approach in our case - people tend to sense dishonesty. Moreover, there definitely are opinion leaders who genuinely like your brand, so why not use them instead of those who would have to fake anyway?
The results will be ten times better if the words of praise the influencers utter are sincere and come straight from the heart.
7. Listen to their ideas
Opinion leaders are by definition people with the ideas. Maybe they can give you a couple of interesting ones.
Never cease to listen and be open to suggestions.
Sometimes modifying your strategy or even turning it into the completely different direction on the advice of the influencer is the best thing that can happen to you.
8. Choose the real goals
That concerns both the results you are demanding and the influencers you are looking to recruit - aim high, but don't try to conquer cosmos on a wooden boat.
No one doubts Madonna is awesome, but you probably won't be able to recruit her to promote your anti-herpes ointment.
You'll just have to accept that and move on, to the more realistic goals.
9. Constantly look to expand your pool
Internet is fast, and new faces appear all the time. Keep your eyes open for the new opportunities and do not hesitate to experiment.
Invite the emerging opinion leaders, too, so they and your brand can do the mutually beneficial endorsement.
They will also probably be much easier to recruit than Madonna. Just saying.
10. Stay friends with your opinion leaders
After the campaign is done, do not forget about the opinion leader you've been working with. If you maintain a strong connection, it can bring you lots of benefits in the future.
And, in some cases, even save you pretty decent amounts of money.
With the help of these tips - and the influencers you are going to recruit now that you know how to handle them - your brand will be truly unstoppable!
Tell us about your experience with these tips and your successes in the comments below.
Also feel free to share your own secrets of communicating with opinion leaders.