Working with Niche Influencers: A Comprehensive Guide
GRIN also recommends this Quick Guide: Influencer Types: Which is best for your brand?
Influencer marketing is quickly gaining popularity in the digital marketing landscape. Most other forms of marketing demand larger budgets and so, many marketers turn to influencer marketing as a better, low-cost alternative.
But what exactly is influencer marketing? It is a form of marketing where a brand collaborates with individuals who have a sizeable social media following. Most of them are experts in their respective niches. And the recommendations of these niche influencers are greatly valued by their followers.
Influencer marketing is also a highly targeted form of marketing. It can help you reach the exact market that you are looking to sell your products to. Collaborating with relevant, niche influencers makes this possible.
They can also help to humanize your brand. When a niche influencer endorses your products, their followers are more likely to believe such reviews.
However, identifying niche influencers is a tough task in itself. And that’s just the starting point. You also need to reach out to them, get them to agree to work with you, and then negotiate the terms of your collaboration.
There’s a lot of work that goes on behind every influencer marketing campaign. To help you navigate through it easily, here’s a complete guide to working with niche influencers. Right from identifying and contacting them to tracking your campaign progress, this guide covers it all.
Defining Your Targets
Before you set out to find niche influencers, you should first think about your campaign objectives. You might want to expand your reach, generate leads, increase sales, or even improve your brand awareness.
You need to be clear about your goals from the campaign. This will help you connect with relevant influencers who can help you achieve those goals. You should also know your target audience before you set out to find influencers.
Make sure that you know the interests, locations, and demographics of your target audience. Once you’re clear about whom you want to target and why, you can start looking for niche influencers. Without knowing these, your searches might be futile.
How to Find the Best Niche Influencers
There are countless influencers out there. However, many of them might not be suitable for your brand. So, before you start approaching influencers, you need to refine your search.
Make sure that influencers have sizeable followings and get high engagement on each of their posts. But most importantly, make sure that their niche is the same as yours or at least, relates closely to it. Only then can you expect any real benefit from collaborating with them.
Keep in mind that as the follower count increases, the engagement rate is likely to decrease. So check both of these parameters before you approach an influencer. Based on what your goals are, you should decide if you need to work with micro, macro, or mega-influencers.
For example, if you want to reach a large audience, you should choose an influencer who has a really large number of followers. On the other hand, if your goals are to increase sales or leads, you can choose influencers with smaller followings but high engagement rates.
To find niche influencers, you need to first come up with a list of relevant keywords and hashtags. You can find relevant keywords by using tools like KWFinder.
Once you have this list of hashtags, you should start following them on Instagram. Keep a tab on individuals who consistently use them to post their content. See if they are relevant to your niche, have sizeable followings, and if they get high engagement on their posts.
You should also check how frequently they post content, the quality of comments they get, and the aesthetics of their content. This will help you understand how influential they really are.
However, don’t restrict yourself to influencers whose niche is exactly the same as yours. For example, if you own a restaurant that serves healthy food, you may want to collaborate with a food influencer. Or, you could even work with a mom influencer who writes about healthy food.
Both of these categories of influencers can be beneficial to your brand. If the content they generate is high quality and resonates well with your audience, your campaign is likely to be successful.
How to Contact Influencers
Once you have a list of potential niche influencers to partner with, you can go ahead and contact them. There are many ways you can get in touch with them. Here are a few of them:
1. Social Media
Most influencers can be reached through their social media accounts. You can directly introduce yourself to them on social media. If they agree to work with you, you can then switch to email.
However, some influencers get hundreds of messages every day. With so many incoming messages, it’s possible that they might forget to reply or miss your message. So, if you don’t hear from them, you should follow up with them at regular intervals.
Also, to increase your chances of getting favorable responses, you need to familiarize yourself with them and their content first. Start following them on social media, like and comment meaningfully on their posts. This can help you put yourself on their radar.
Some influencers have a presence on multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can try reaching out to them on each of them if you don’t get a response the first time. Connecting with them on LinkedIn is also a great option.
Yet another way of connecting with niche influencers is via email. However, some influencers get tons of emails every day. So, you should follow the approach of following and engaging with their content before sending your pitches.
Don’t forget to follow up. This will ensure that they don’t miss your emails. However, don’t be too pushy as this can be detrimental and they may never get back to you.
While emails are essentially a formal mode of communication, you can keep your tone slightly informal too. Personalize your emails and try to build rapport with the influencer. This can make a lot of difference to your campaign results.
What Constitutes a Good Pitch
A good pitch to an influencer needs to have a personal touch to it. Address the influencer using their name rather than with something like “Dear Influencer.” Focus on building a relationship with them.
You can begin your pitch by commending some of their recent accomplishments or by showing your appreciation for some of their content that had resonated with you. You can then tell them the reason why you’re reaching out to them.
There’s no need to talk about the specifics in your first pitch. Instead, use it to set up a time for a conversation during which you can help them understand your campaign objectives and also discuss their compensation.
However, make sure that you let them know how lucrative this opportunity is. You can talk about some of your past campaigns and what your influencers had to say about them. Or you can talk about what was in it for those influencers.
In your pitch, you can also suggest a few ideas on how you can collaborate. Make sure that these are something that the influencer has tried before and isn’t uncharted territory for them. This is likely to give them greater motivation to want to work with you.
While one-off sponsored posts may give you the results you want, many influencers are more inclined to work with brands for a longer duration. The content that they create for brands during this time adds greater value to their personal brand. So, be open to such agreements too.
Influencer Marketing Strategies
There are many ways in which you can promote your brand through influencers. Here are a few popular influencer marketing strategies you can use to collaborate with niche influencers:
1. Sponsored Post
Sponsored posts are the most common type of influencer-generated content in which they promote a brand exclusively in exchange for payment.
If you are looking to generate sales from the campaign, you could combine sponsored posts with affiliate marketing.
You can provide your niche influencers with unique affiliate links. All purchases made through these links can easily be tracked. You can then pay the influencers a commission for each purchase made using their affiliate links. This can motivate your influencers to create better content as well.
Yet another way of collaborating with influencers is by gifting them your product samples or services. Ask them to try them out and share their reviews on social media or their blogs.
This strategy works well for beauty brands, food brands, and more. However, unless you pay them in addition to the product samples you share, influencers are not obligated to promote you when you gift them the products.
In fact, they might even post negative reviews of your products if they don’t like them. So it is important that you establish a relationship with them first. This can reduce the chances of negative reviews and increase the chances of them creating content about your products.
SkinnyMeTea gives away products to their Instagram influencers. Many of them later post about them or send them photos that they can post on their account.
3. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is another great way of collaborating with influencers. However, for this, you need to find influencers who have high-authority websites. Once you reach out to them, you can pitch them some guest post topics that they might like.
If they agree to publish your post, write a great article. It needs to be informative, and you might consider adding a link back to your website. However, don’t make it overly-promotional in nature. Guest posts can increase your brand’s reach and also drive traffic to your website.
For example, VideoFruit’s founder, Bryan Harris, experienced a phenomenal growth in his blog traffic after writing a guest post for OkDork.
4. Account Takeovers
Another great way of collaborating with influencers is through account takeovers. In this form of promotion, you can have the influencer takeover your brand’s social media accounts for a specific amount of time.
Takeovers can be extremely beneficial for your brand. The reason for this is that an influencer’s content is likely to be more effective than your brand’s content.
For an account takeover, you can give the influencer complete access to your social media account for a while. Or you can ask them to send their content across so you can post them on their behalf.
However, you should only share access to your accounts if you have worked with an influencer for a long time and trust them. The takeover could be for an hour, day, a week, or longer. Make sure that the terms of the takeover are clearly mentioned in the contract.
5. Brand Ambassador Programs
This takes influencer marketing to the next level. In this form of sponsored content, you can collaborate with multiple trusted influencers who become your brand ambassadors.
They’ll be the faces of your brand and will promote your products on social media regularly. As an ambassador, they might share their day-to-day experiences using your products. They might even run contests and give away freebies to the winners.
This sort of collaboration can only take place once you have built a strong relationship with an influencer. Before selecting an ambassador, you need to thoroughly check if the influencer’s values are in-line with your brand’s.
You must lay out clear guidelines and the expectations so that there is no confusion later. You should also keep sending them some of your merchandise on a regular basis. You can even choose to have them represent your brand at popular events to generate greater awareness.
Image via Instagram
You could further incentivize their audience by giving them a unique discount code that they can share on their social media posts.
6. Sponsored Blog Post
While there are loads of influencers on social media, there will be many who have blogs as well. These bloggers can be niche influencers for your brand. People usually head to blogs to find trusted information. So, your brand can collaborate with bloggers to reach your target audience.
There are two different types of sponsored blog posts. One is a dedicated post where only your brand is involved. It talks about your products or services. The content is focused on your brand and you could even include a discount code.
The other type of post includes several brands. This sort of post is a roundup of various products or services. One of the brands in the post could be yours.
However, you need to keep in mind that you need to choose niche influencers who resonate with your brand’s aesthetics and values. Also, try to have patience as the blog post can take time to be written and published.
You should also encourage them to use high-resolution images of your products in their post. You can also provide some of these images to make their task easier.
7. Sponsored Videos
Videos are more lively and provide a more immersive experience for viewers. This can help to imprint your brand’s name in people’s minds.
You can collaborate with influencers on YouTube and other video sharing platforms. You can then ask them to create videos to promote your brand.
They could simply mention your brand in their video or create exclusive videos to showcase some of your products. For example, Tan JianHao mentions Dynasty Warriors in this video.
Tracking Your Campaign
There is a lot that goes into collaborating with an influencer. You need to identify them, assess their strengths, and then get in touch with them. After that, you need to negotiate the terms of the collaboration, agree on their compensation, and draw up a contract. It is only after this that they post their content.
But now comes the most important part. How do you keep track of your campaign progress?
Some marketers find it difficult to calculate the ROI from their influencer marketing campaigns. You need to keep track of how your influencer-generated posts are performing. If you are looking to generate leads or sales, it can be more complicated to figure out if your investment was worth it or not.
With Grin, you can easily determine your influencer marketing ROI. It helps you to easily manage your influencer marketing campaign without too much effort.
You can find suitable niche influencers using the Grin database. Their contact information is available so you can directly get in touch with them. You can even send them your products and can pay their fees through the platform.
Once they have posted their content, you can keep track of their performance and calculate the ROI. This solves one of the biggest problems for marketers.
How to Build Relationships with Influencers
You shouldn’t approach influencers with the thought of a one-off collaboration. You should try to establish long-term relationships with them. They can play a key role in the success of your marketing strategies.
Respect their time and don’t impose deadlines that are too stringent. Provide them the creative freedom they need to come up with amazing content for your brand. Also, try to help them build their personal brands any way you can. You could introduce them to your network or share passes to exclusive events that you host or participate in.
A small gift every now and then can make a huge difference as well. They might want to share it on social media and give you a shoutout.
Collaborating with niche influencers may seem like a difficult task. However, with the right strategies, you can find relevant influencers and run successful influencer marketing campaigns. Follow the tips mentioned above to make your campaigns immensely successful.
Do you have any other tips to share about working with niche influencers? Let us know in the comments below.
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