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BFS Capital Blog

How to Develop a Digital Influencer Marketing Strategy for Your Business

April 16, 2015

Technology is constantly evolving and the digital marketing landscape is developing alongside of it. Many years ago, people needed phone books or mutual contacts to find a person’s contact information. Now, the internet exists and many of the legacy barriers to entry have disappeared. Social media marketing and email marketing are allowing small businesses to connect with top influencers in ways that they probably couldn’t even imagine before.

In today’s business world, success doesn’t come so easy to the people who try to do it all on their own. By connecting with the right influencers, you can open the door to endless opportunities for your small business. Take a closer look at what type of content the key influencers in your industry are sharing and ask yourself if your business belongs in that conversation. If so, tailor your business’s website content to fit a specific need and put it in front of the people that will appreciate it the most – influencers and their audiences.

Here are some tips on how to implement a digital influencer marketing strategy for your business.

Outline Objectives and Goals

Marketing strategies and campaigns are grounded in long-term goals. Good quality outreach takes structure and time. You can’t just send cold emails out to every Joe Schmo with a blog. You have to determine your goals and how you will measure success – whether it be by the traffic your guest blog posts obtain, by the quality of the sites you connect with, the strength of the relationship you build, or a mix of everything. Create short-term and long-term goals that will help mold your influencer strategy into a more stable process.

Identify and Categorize Influencers

Imagine that you own a beauty salon. Ultimately, you want someone like John Frieda himself talking about your beauty salon business. But face it, his social media following is way too big and he has so much to do that his assistants probably have assistants. He’s what can be called a Tier 1 influencer.

You can aim big and try to reach out to Tier 1 prospects but, in the beginning, it might not be worth the efforts. Tier 2 and Tier 3 influencers are people who have a more tapered focus and have followers that care about what they have to say. A Tier 2 influencer might be a beauty school or a well-known fashion and beauty blogger while someone who runs a beauty tips blog just for fun might fall under the Tier 3 category. Connecting and building relationships with Tier 2 and Tier 3 influencers will get you circulating in the conversation and may eventually put you on the radars of the top mavens. You’ll be surprised by how much attention your small business can get from a simple retweet from a powerful digital influencer. Consider using tools like BuzzSumo or FollowerWonk to identify the key digital influencers in your vertical market and categorize them into target tiers before reaching out to them.

Here is an interesting infographic on digital influencer marketing for brands.

Digital Influencer Marketing for Brands Infographic

Source: Marketo

Build Rapport

When you want something, you generally ease your way into asking for it, right? The same goes for content promotion and blogger outreach. When you are reaching out to bloggers and other influencers in your industry, you have to remember that they are real human beings. Show them that you are also a real person. Engage in a normal conversation, interact with them on social media, or leave a few relevant, quality comments on their blog. Give a lot before asking for a little. It will make the request seem more fluid and less like a hard sell. This will also give you insight to the type of person or business you are interacting with and what they might be looking for.

Personalize Your Outreach Emails

Email templates stick out like a sore thumb – from the format to the greetings to the boilerplate message. Imagine someone who gets maybe 100 emails a day comes across a canned message. What do you think they will do? Probably delete it and move on. People want to be treated like people. Do some research on the influencer and let them know that you know who they are. You found that you both graduated from the same university? Start your email off with that. You read and enjoyed a piece they wrote for a top site? Show them your admiration in a measured, professional way. Giving just a slight personal touch will get you far. Of course, you will certainly come across people who are all about business and not about the chit chat or brown-nosing. In those situations, just make your objectives clear and keep them to-the-point.

Create a Mutual Need

Although your outreach and promoting your content may be all about your small business, find a way to create a mutual need. Some people just don’t have time to do favors for people, let alone some random person who reached out to them out of the blue. Show the influencer that you can provide them with something just as beneficial as what you are asking for. Offer them a guest post on your blog or a number of social media shares. Creating a mutual need can help maintain a lasting relationship.

Utilizing technology to build and maintain relationships with key influencers in the digital space does not have to be difficult nor expensive. It’s about being personal, creative and showing your personality; connect with people on a professional, yet friendly level. The power of technology allows us to identify and reach out to digital influencers, but it’s the human inside that creates the lasting connection that is going to benefit your small business.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /