Even before digital marketing swept the world, the opinions of customers have served as powerful marketing tools. If there is one change that the implementation of social media platforms has instituted, it is the expanded reach of the customer’s voice. Today, more than ever before, the success of marketing campaigns often relies on a concept known as influencer marketing. According to Forbes, influencer marketing can be defined as a type of marketing that works toward identifying and targeting persons who hold influence over prospective buyers. Spokespeople and celebrities were often tapped in the past for such roles. An important influencer today could just as easily be an everyday consumer. The most discernable difference setting influencers apart from other consumers is often the size of their social media following. However, holding marketing influence is not only about having a large following. Influential marketers also typically have a vast amount of knowledge regarding a specific topic. As a result, influencer marketers are often relied upon by other consumers for their credibility and expertise.

 Marketing Profs points out that in light of the increasing barrage of marketing messages received today, consumers have become more and more cynical regarding the brands they choose to trust. In order to tap into the power of influencers, you must first learn how to identify them. Marketing Profs further reports that approximately 60 percent of marketers believe that the biggest challenge of influencer marketing is identifying the people who can boost their campaign or brand.

Influencers are often bloggers, consultants, journalists, and influential customers. The ways in which an influencer can assist your marketing efforts vary, ranging from creating blogs or articles specifically about your company or products to allowing you to submit content on their website. Influencers may also offers to share information about your company or products on their favored social network.

More than 50 percent of marketers find it difficult to take advantage of influencer marketing because they simply do not know how to gain the attention of influencers. As influencer marketing has become more widely utilized, this is a problem that continues to grow. The key to making influencer marketing work for your company is taking the time to form relationships with relevant influencers.

It’s All about the Relationship

Among the most common mistakes that many entrepreneurs make when trying to gain the attention of an influencer is to simply bombard them with emails. Due to their position as a leader, influencers typically receive massive amounts of email. This alone can make it difficult to catch their attention. In order to stand out from the crowd, it is important to take the time to read what an influencer writes. The content they create can provide you with valuable insights into what they care about and how to reach their followers.

Rather than simply blasting them with email, work on developing a relationship first by interacting with them. Start by leaving comments on their relevant blog posts, replying on Twitter, liking status updates on Facebook, etc. Once you have taken the time to actually get to know them, when you do approach an influencer about covering your product or service, it will not seem like a cold call pitch.

In marketing, it is a given that you need to tell customers what you want from them. Calls to action are vital to succeeding in marketing. The same is true for working with influencers. You must tell them what it is that you want. Do not try to be coy. Influencers are well aware of their position and impact. It is always best to be honest from the beginning.

Keep in mind that ultimately the relationship you develop with an influencer should be mutually beneficial. Take a step back from thinking what they can do for you and ask what you can do for them. One of the best ways to do this is by looking for opportunities you can provide to improve your targeted influencer’s work. Most influencers are continually looking for unique experiences they can share with their audiences. Think about what you can offer an influencer that your competition cannot.

Finally, remember to maintain the relationship even after you receive the coverage you want from the influencer. Not only is it the appropriate thing to do, but a relationship with a true influencer can provide multiple benefits for a long time to come.