Entrepreneurs come across many marketing methods every day! They learn, apply, struggle, succeed and faille!
But, it’s our nature to expect success over failures.
People want to be at the top no matter what and for entrepreneurs, marketing success is equal to breathing 🙂
Now a days, one of the most result driven marketing method which has proven successful in every scenario for entrepreneurs is influencer marketing.
I have used this magic spell and it just worked like a fantasy! Our site which had a 0 DA months back acquired 3600+ traffic in no time with massive social network exposure!
Influencer marketing can be defined as-
“Identifying, tracking and collaborating with key market icons to drive your business offers in the industry and share it amongst larger audience”
In other words, it’s a marketing method by which you let the thought leaders spread the word of your mouth and you play the role of a host in the market.
In this post, I am going to share the complete journey of how I used influencer marketing to promote our brand and acquired social media recognition quickly:)
Influencer marketing stage #1: The beginning
Our blog started publishing from 14th of March, 2016 and was doing great! We had helpful contents which gave us the early boost and engagement.
Our page session and visitor amount was not that bad comparing with the domain age and SEO efforts. We were not having any paid traffic neither had any investment on link building.
We were pumped up and wanted to do better! So we decided to look in to influencer marketing strategy from the second week of March and took a week for R & D.
Simultaneously, we were working on growth hack related articles to increase our traffic more.
Influencer marketing stage #2: Finding the influencers
It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack! What I mean is identifying the right person online, thousands of miles away from physical location is a tough job.
Though you don’t need to have a supervision like superman, you will have to asses in a microscopic way to identify the right people! I trusted Google buddy in this operation J but in a customized way!
“Google search by specific terms”
What I did-
- Checked all the contents and extracted the twitter IDs of each expert
- Tracked the LinkedIn IDs of each experts from the list
- Listed the Name, Twitter, LinkedIn and even FB id’s in an excel file
What I did not-
- Tried to sort them while finding them! That’s will mess up the whole process
- Just checked the first page on Google and extracted data from their
- Contacting them immediately and letting them know before schedule
I went deep and collected data from trusted sources. A trustworthy source assures you working with valid data or valid people. What I checked while sourcing data were-
- Site owner’s social proof
- Site’s domain authority more than 30
- Site page authority more than 25
- Sites page rank
- Social engagement i.e. twitter, FB and LinkedIn status
You can find lot of valuable date in less popular sites as well. But precaution is always better than cure! A single wrong information can ruin your entire planning! So always be super cautious before collecting any data. Overall time I took to finish this was 5 working days.
Influencer marketing stage #3: Sorting the influencers
In this stage, I worked with the data collected from different trusted sites. I followed some simple steps to finish this process as following-
- Went to the twitter profiles of the influencers and checked their followers count
- Checked how frequently they tweet, post updates on LinkedIn and Facebook
- Checked their authored posts, books, articles and their share counts
I did this all manually and without the help of any PR software. I am just little allergic to them actually J I took a week and monitored the influencers for 5 days in a row to see their activities online and their followers.
Why I did this-
- To know how active the professionals are on twitter
- What kind of contents they write about and promote
- Who are their audience and connected people
How this helped-
- Gave me idea on their taste, interest and expectations
- Gave me a channel to communicate and stay connected
- Gave me believe on I am on the right track
Finally, I was able to extract 160 experts who were active on social media, interactive, impactful and above all, helpful!
Influencer marketing stage #4: Building relationship
This is the stage which will test the temperament at most. This is because in any marketing plan, your targeted audience will always be unknown! People won’t trust you, won’t respond and going to ignore you big time!
So I followed some very simple steps to build the relationship. I set a target of a month and continued applying the following strategies-
I started to comment on blog posts published by the influencers I listed. I ensure that the comments were from my heart and expressed my inquiry. I had my co-workers on the go for this. Here is an example of what kind of response I got-
Abrar is one of the SMM experts with mountnow who helped me on this task. As you can see Neil Patel responded by an insightful comment which was great to see. This helped us to be visible in front of Neil which is the most important part at the beginning of relation building.
#Facebook personalized sharing
I started to follow the influencers on Facebook and shared their content with personalized and persuasive summery. Look at the following example-
Here you can see Gail Gardner replying with a humble feedback. All I was doing was picking up contents from these influencers and was sharing on my FB profile. This helped me to introduce myself more closely as FB had more off personal information about me than twitter and LinkedIn.
# Twitter Engagement
What I did here was just basic things. Tweet and re-tweet!
I kept tweeting useful contents in a personalized manner mentioning the influencers. I sorted every tweet for them without the help of Buffer or any other twitter apps. I made it organic and that simply worked for me.
Here is an example of the results-
I was also following these guys on FB. This allowed me to stay in the light more as from both platforms I was engaged with them. It’s very important that you know them and they also know you 🙂
# Direct messages
Not the best option in every situation. Let me show you why-
Oren is a renowned digital marketing expert and one of the smartest growth hackers around. I sent him a DM to visit one of new contents and this is what he responded and he was right!
It is intrusive to DM randomly to your connections so they check your contents. This may hamper your relation. Rather, invite in a different way! Check the following example-
I don’t need to introduce David here. He is one of the leading SEO experts in the world and CEO of the upper ranks. See his reply here. He is appreciating because I appreciated.
He wrote something which I agreed in full and immediately I send him a message about it.
I used direct messages to exchange views and appreciation. Not to promote or for any commercial purpose for influencer marketing.
I continued to do this throughout a month. Everyday an hour or two I spent behind this. Eventually, most of the influencers in my list started to know me better and I gained a little a bit of trust.
Influencer marketing stage #5: Pitching with an objective
I was in a steady position after a month in the community. People started to know me on social networks and my continues engagement gained me little bit of trust. That’s all I needed that time.
So I decided to capitalize on it and thought I should write a content about the influencers! Just as I though, I started to prepare a roundup content on the top influencers in CRO, SEO and content marketing in the industry.
So I started reaching out to them requesting the influencers for a quote as people are always keen to hear from them!
See the image bellow –
As you can see, someone like Joanna Wiebe had no hesitation to respond and share her views on what I was doing. This illustrates that if you are contacting with the right message in the right way people from the very top will hear no matter where you are J
I took a day to finish this. I took some extra steps to reach out as I contacted in 3 ways! LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook! For each network I had a different pitching format personalized for each influencer.
This worked actually! These people are busy in helping millions of business worldwide. It’s hard to get in front of them 🙁 so you got to make sure you cover all the channels as I did.
Influencer marketing stage #6: Waiting with patience
After I was done with sending messages I took another two weeks before I started writing. Remember, these people are busy just like you! So it’s not going to be straight forward to earn their response. Have look at the image bellow-
See the dates here? I actually sent the first message almost 3 weeks back! But as Martin is one of the top 50 content marketers in the world it’s obvious he has tight schedule.
So I was expecting the delay and waited for two weeks to send him a reminder. Eventually, he did share a quote which I added later on 🙂
What I did not-
- Rushed to get a reply and message after message
- Forced my message on to them
- Continue sharing their contents on my network and following them
Patience is the key if you want to be successful in marketing. You must understand that your audience has their own will. They will decide whom to interact with. You will have to earn it.
Influencer marketing stage #7: Reacting to the feedback’s
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”
Well, I am not a Newton fan but I do appreciate that he formed a realistic theory that reflects marketing so well.
In marketing, whatever you do will have an impact. Positive or negative will depend on how you are doing it 🙂
What I did in Stage 5 and Stage 6 brought a positive impact. I was getting good feedbacks. See the following image-
Freddie Chatt is one of the leading SEO and content marketer who has been in the industry for quite a while now. As you can see in the message, Freddie took the time to share one my contents inspite of being one of the busiest marketing experts I know.
This got my post a lot of traffic and In reply, I told him that I would do the same for him 🙂
When you are reacting to the feedback’s from the influencers, be in the same shoes as you expect other would be with you! Your reply should satisfy you first.
In influencer marketing, every step you take should be measured and filtered before it’s taken.
Influencer marketing stage #8: Notifying my work is done
This is the stage where you stop waiting and launch yourself. I took 3 weeks from the day I reached out for quotations to publish my roundup post.
Here is how I informed everybody-
I was expecting this kind of reply because of stage 5, stage 6 and stage 7! I found the right people, contacted the right way and created the right repo!
I kept my notification message short. Just wanted to focus on the roundup and they have been featured. I intentionally did not ask for share, backlinks or any word of mouth.
The notification should only be a notification with ZERO marketing tone. I also sent customized tweets to the influencers in the same way. Look at the following example-
As you can see, I did not do anything extra. It’s a simple tweet that was sent to the founder of Content Marketing Institute which is one of the leading content marketing platforms in the world.
Yet it did the job for me and the recipient replied:)
The bottom line, keep your message simple and true:)
Influencer marketing stage #9: The impact
Almost a month of efforts with extensive patience and monitoring. I sometimes felt like a CC cam as I was always watching over social networks and literally all over the internet:(
All this hard work had only one objective which was creating an early impact and brand recognition J
So this here is the result I achieved-
# Huge social exposure on twitter
Almost all the influencers re-tweeted. That gave us a huge exposure on twitter and healthy amount of referral traffics.
#Overall traffic to the site
This is a screen shoot from the content drilldown segment of Google Analytic. The pages highlighted here represents the round up post which created, published and marketed through influencer marketing.
The overall traffic I acquired was-
Best SEO experts= 1700
CRO experts= 621
The main page= 471
Total traffic= 3,677
Now this did not happened cause I used any magic spell or did any black hat. I even did not spend a penny or reached out for backlinks! This happened because I am real and I did everything realistically 🙂
Influencer marketing can be your savior or tool of Demise! If you are unable to pull it up in the right way you will fail. But while trying to do the right thing, we may unconsciously over try and then we make mistakes.
In this post, I tried to share my experience of influencer marketing. I succeeded because I stuck to the basics, had patience and did not try to do anything fancy!
The influencers in the industry are cool and dynamic! They are regular people just like you and me. So learning from them is the best influencer marketing strategy 🙂