What if you were told that you can have thousands of people talking, recommending and buying your products without paying a dime on advertising, wouldn’t that be super? Simple steps separate you from that secret element that’ll make your brand the talk of the town!
The WHO, HOW, WHAT and WHY are what I’m going to share with you here.

So the secret word is “Influencers”!
Social media influencers are your key to raise awareness and promote your product/brand and thus generate ROI.

WHO are the influencers?
They can be bloggers, twitter users or even Facebook users, who gained recognition and credibility through their actions on social media, influencers can be paid or earned, depending on the purpose of your campaign. Here I’ll be discussing earning them for the long term.

HOW can you identify them?
Well, in a nutshell it’s all about research and stalking, sounds fun, no?
To begin with, you need to pinpoint your goals behind finding influencers, who are your target audience and what are their interests? Once it’s all set you can start your research. This is the fun part; you can either use a tool for your research or just do it manually, the most important thing is to find a starting point to filter people and stalk them, check who are they following, who are their followers, what are they talking about, search the hashtags they use and look for trending topics in their conversations, go wild :p
During your research create a list of all the people you found relevant and fill out their basic information so you can get back to them later, make sure your potential influencers have a good followers base and that they don’t  speak negatively about any other brand, keep in mind that people with such attitude can backfire on you, so be careful!

Now that your list is ready, WHAT to do next?
It’s time for the outreach activity woot woot 😀
Start talking and creating conversations, build a relation with them, make them feel respected and heard, just be transparent and gain their trust! Once you establish that, do something exclusive for your potential influencers, invite them to events, send personalized giveaways and give these people a chance to talk about your brand without you asking them to do so directly.

A very good example on a successful influencers outreach done by The Online Project is what NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto did, they simply engaged with 25 digital influencers and sent them personalized packages with their online profiles and tweets, this gesture created so much around the brand, that it also engaged their friends through mentions and Twitter handlers. The online buzz reached almost 1 million people through: 1,000 tweets, 230 FB posts, 20 Instagram photos, 10 Pinterest photos, 10 blog posts and 2 YouTube videos.

Nescafe Dolce Gusto

WHY to bother and do all that?
Simple, it’s the power of WORD OF MOUTH! You’ll be surprised with the amount of people retweeting, recommending and sharing their experience with your brand. People rely on other users’ experience and they have trust in their opinions, and that’s exactly your influencers’ role, to encourage them indirectly out of personal experience to try out your product or know more about your brand.

Here’s the tricky part, NEVER neglect your influencers after the activity is done, keep in touch with them, engage with their friends in a casual, funny way and make them enjoy the conversation, on the long term you’ll widen your influencers’ base and maybe turn haters into advocates!

Just remember that 92% of people trust recommendations of word of mouth when it comes to purchasing a certain product and only 47% trust recommendations from ads on TV or magazines, this is how important influencers are to your brand, just do the math!

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