So, you want to tap into influencer marketing, eh?

That's GREAT!

But, you're not sure how to work with influencers?

I mean, for some, influencers are out-of-the-budget, and for some, the plethora of options is just frustrating and confusing.

In this article, I'm going to teach you exactly how you can do influencer marketing, by selecting the exact influencer that matches your brand, without breaking the bank.

Let's start.

  1. Figure out your brand category.

This is the basic level of self-awareness in branding. Knowing what category your brand belongs in, helps you narrow down the list of the influencers to approach. Or, you'll just waste your time, pitching influencers that are outside of your niche.

  1. Define your target audience.

If you haven't already figured this out, you need to stop everything that you're doing right now, and do this. If you don't know who you're selling to, you won't sell to anyone.

The easiest way to do this, is to imagine your ideal customer. Multiply that across possible demographics. Voila! There's your target audience.

But, more importantly, this goes beyond, "oh, I just sell to serial entrepreneurs", or "my target audience is self-published authors".

You need to know what demographics do they belong to, what jargon they use, what binds them together, and what they have in common.

Here's why you'll need this. Each influencer's audience (followers) are different, unless that influencer is someone like Selena Gomez, or Kim K. People only follow influencers who share their own values, that they can relate to.

So, if you really know the people you're targeting towards, then it's way easier to find out which influencers do they flock around, and follow.

Also, since all of you (your brand, the influencers, the audience) have something (or more than that) in common, it'll be easier (and smooth) to connect with the influencers, and pitch them the idea. They'll agree to it, since it resonates with them, as well as their audiences.

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  1. Decide whether you want global influencers, or just local influencers.

Some brands are local. For example, steak houses, bars, restaurants, salons, etc. For them, an influencer - or more - who's nearby will just suffice. They don't necessarily have to be residents. An influencer who's in town for a visit might suffice. Just make sure they like your brand category, and you offer something valuable to them.

Some brands require a more global approach, since they can cater to a wider audience across many different demographics. Ecommerce / dropshipping shops, online service providers (email hosting, web hosting, web domains, etc.), franchises, chain stores, etc. fall into this category.

These brands can either use local influencers from different demographics, or they can just use ones with a wider audience across the relevant demographics around the world. Although, the latter will be more expensive than the former.

  1. Find out where your target audience hang out.

Which social media platforms do they frequently stay active. Not everyone uses every social media platform. Different demographics are attracted to / resonate with / frequent different social media platforms. It's just how it is. So, after you've figured out who your target audience is, you need to find where they hang out. It might be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, VK, or any other platform for that matter. This is where having a proper social media marketing plan in place can help you save time and be more effective.

  1. Research influencers your audience is already following.

Compile a list of the most prominent ones, who are within your brand category.  Now, if you don't have clarity, and you're just testing the waters, you shouldn't work with more than a handful of influencers. When you're selecting influencers, evaluate their social media content, and any other content they have. Do their content align with your brand identity? How much engagement do they have for those content? How large are their following on the platform?

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  1. Find out what your brand can offer to an influencer.

Like I said, almost all the influencers charge top dollar for sponsorships. So, smaller brands are easily intimidated by this, simply because (they think) they have no chips to bargain with.

But, that's wrong thinking.

You'll always have something to offer. It doesn't always have to be monetary.

If you sell physical products, you can give away some for them for free. This is why I said before that you need to make sure that your brand and the influencers have something (or more) in common. That way, your brand will be able to offer them more value.

One influencer marketing tactic that was used by several clothing brands was giving away discount codes for influencers, so that they can share them among their audience. Those discount codes weren't available in any other places. One had to get them via an influencer. This was a win-win-win for all of them involved.

Connecting with an influencer, and going forward with the deal is much easier if you follow these steps exactly.

If your brand is a smaller one, approaching big-time influencers with a huge number of audiences won't be realistic. Instead, by approaching larger micro-influencers (influencers with a medium amount of following) you'll be able to get your brand name 'out there', and you'll get a more than decent ROI on your money. 

After you've compiled a list of influencers you'd prefer to work with, just contact them via either private messages on the social platforms, or plain old emails. Or if you have any mutual contacts, they might be able to introduce you to them, with some 'glowing' review, if possible.

If done correctly, influencer marketing can be a game changer for your brand. I've seen it happen, many times. On both local and global levels.


Jay Kalansooriya is a professional writer, and a freelance copywriter, that helps influencers and brand by crafting compelling messages. Connect with him on LinkedIn.