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4 Steps to Working with Social Media Influencers to Grow Your Following

A big challenge faced by a new business is getting your product in front of people. How can you grow your social media following and expose your product to more people if nobody knows you exist?

An easy way to increase your exposure is to collaborate with people who already have lots of engaged followers. 

There are so many things you can do to market your products, most of which take time and money and have no guarantee of success. Getting your product into the hands of a social media influencer could mean it’s exposed to an audience of hundreds of thousands overnight.

Identifying Influencers

Online influencers have huge social media followings. Their fans are eager to see what they’re interested in and follow their advice. They usually have a lot of trust in what the influencer has to say.

Influencers might participate in different online and social media formats:

  • Blogs and newsletters
  • Vlogs (think YouTube)
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or other social media channels

These offer nearly limitless opportunities for exposure through social sharing. Once the influencer shares your product, it will be shared even further by his or her followers.

Influencers are pretty easy to identify. All you need to do is look at their social media pages or Alexa traffic numbers for some key indicators. Influencers usually have:

  • A large social media following
  • Lots of comments, likes, and shares
  • Big traffic numbers to their websites
You can even use a paid service like MEDIA LEADS or The Shelf to find influencers. The Shelf is a directory of popular bloggers who WANT to work with brands like you.
Keep a list of the influencers you find. You might want to include their names and email addresses, the social media platforms they use, and how they like to be pitched. You can also track when you pitch them and whether you’re successful.

Pitching Influencers

Pitching your product to an influencer is similar to pitching a magazine. Here are seven keys to a successful pitch:
  1. Customize your pitch and use the influencer’s first name in your email.
  2. Explain why you like their blog, vlog, social media account, etc.
  3. Introduce yourself and your brand in no more than a few sentences.
  4. Offer to send your product to the influencer as a free gift.
  5. Include a call to action to trigger a response from the influencer.
  6. Keep the message brief; fewer than 10 sentences.
  7. Add a personalized P.S. at the end.
When I was doing my pre-pitch homework for one editor, I discovered she loved Bon Iver, a band I knew from college. I mentioned this in my P.S. and she responded! This type of thing can help your pitch stand out from hundreds and get the influencer to respond to you.

Follow Up with the Influencer

If you don't hear back after one week, send a follow-up message. Keep the follow-up brief and reiterate your message. Say you’d love the opportunity to work with her. Consider including an extra incentive, like a coupon code for her subscribers.
Influencers are often busy but you shouldn’t give up just because they don’t respond. If you don’t receive a response to your email, there are other ways to attract the attention of influencers:
  • Follow them on social media and comment, like, or share their content when appropriate.
  • Add relevant comments to their blog to help generate good discussion.
Note that if you’re trying these methods, you should NOT obviously promote your product. At this point, you’re trying to build a relationship with the influencer. You can try to pitch again later, especially if the influencer responds to one of your comments.

After You’re Accepted

Receiving a positive response from an influencer is a great feeling. What happens next depends on the particular influencer because each one interacts with her audience differently.
Here are some examples of how your product may be featured by the influencer:
  • Sharing a photo from your social media account with the influencer’s followers
  • Reviewing your product and sharing information about where to buy it
  • Holding a contest to give away one of your products
  • Mentioning the product in some positive light
After your product is shared by the influencer, be sure to show your gratitude in these two ways:
  1. Send another email or handwritten note thanking her profusely!
  2. Share the blog post (or video, or social media share) with your own fans as much as you can.
Both of these help build your relationship with the influencer. This is an important step that leaves the door to future collaboration wide open!
Working with an influencer is great because it provides you with a free endorsement from someone who can share that information with a lot of people that you could reach on your own. So start finding influencers with audiences that are a great fit for your product, and pitch them today!
This is a guest post from Mei Pak. Mei designs a line of scented food jewelry at Tiny Hands and has been working with social media influencers to drive her six-figure sales business. She sells in over 90 stores across the USA and has been featured on TV, magazines and popular blogs. Mei also loves talking about small business marketing and helps other creatives make more money in their business at Creative Hive.

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  1. Influencers have gotten huge, and come from the most unlikely places. I see so many vine ‘celebrities’ promoting products in their own creative and unique styles in 6 second videos. The key is finding a influencer who is genuinely passionate about your product. Great article!

  2. These are good tips. It’s so important to familiarize yourself with what the influencer’s blog and social accounts are all about – don’t pitch a product that makes no sense for them. It wreaks of mass mailing if it’s obvious you know nothing about their mission or content. e.g. don’t pitch bird food to a cat blogger unless you know that they (or their readers) have a bird! Also, most influencers want to be paid to promote your product unless it’s a high value product or something they really want to try so don’t be offended if they say no or ignore you – most good influencers get dozens of pitches every week, or even daily! Find the right fit to be more successful.

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