Woman using social media as an influencer.
Growing a business

Sandi’s social media content secrets, part 4: A little help from our friends

So far in this series, you’ve learned how to create content that speaks to your clients’ biggest needs, how to use video in multiple ways and how to generate tips that your social media connections will love. Today, we’ll describe a relatively new trend in marketing called influencer marketing and how it impacts social media and your profits.

An influencer is anyone who has a strong following of fans on social media or online in general. Influencer marketing is when you engage those influencers to market your products and services.

When you post content on your social media platforms, the audience that sees your posts is mostly limited to your followers, with the exception of when your content is shared. Influencer marketing allows you to reach an exponentially larger audience by partnering with people who have large audiences of people that are new to you and who would make great clients for you.

Accountants have been doing an offline version of influencer marketing since the industry began. Our influencers are bankers, attorneys, other accounting professionals and the like. These professionals often refer clients to us one at a time. Take that approach and move it online, and you have influencer marketing. However, your online influencers will probably be completely different from your offline referral sources.

Profitable influencers have a strong following via social media platforms, an email list and/or a high volume of traffic to their websites. You can find these people online, and there are even apps such as NinjaOutreach.com that can connect you with influencers.

Accountants as influencers

You are also an influencer yourself. A great example of accountants as influencers is when you recommend accounting software to one of your clients. You are an influencer for that accounting software vendor.

There are many examples of influencer marketing in finance. TD Ameritrade used financial advisors as influencers in what some marketers considered to be one of the best influencer marketing campaigns of 2016. You can view it here. And, SAP promoted its Sapphire Conference by heavily distributing influential speaker promo videos on social media prior to the conference. Those are just a few large-scale examples of influencer marketing in finance.

Using influencer marketing

How can you use influencer marketing to expand your reach? Look at your current community to find people that share the same type of clients you do and who have a large following online. You already know what they can do for you: put you in front of their audience. But, first, before you approach them, ask yourself what you can do for them.

As a thought leader, I get approached by dozens of software vendors each week. I am careful to select only the best to share with my current clients. Good influencers will be discerning and won’t just take money in trade for audience exposure. Keep this in mind when you approach potential influencers that you want to partner with.

Using influencer marketing in social media

A great way to start using influencer marketing is in social media. Target a few influencers that you’d love to partner with and:

  1. Follow them on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn
  2. Do NOT direct message them. Personally, I hate that.
  3. Share their blog articles, tweets and posts to your network. You will start to be noticed when you provide value to them first.
  4. Compliment them and mention them in your posts.
  5. Do any other favors you can for them on the social media platforms.
  6. The influencers will start noticing you and may reciprocate automatically.
  7. If not, keep adding value.
  8. Reach out to introduce yourself after enough time and value have passed. Hopefully, now that you are more familiar to them, you’ll be able to strike up a mutually productive conversation.

Remember that when an influencer shares your social media content to their following, your business ideas will be exposed to new people and potential prospects. The leverage and volume that an influencer can bring to your marketing can make a huge impact on your business.

Try influencer marketing, and keep in mind that it’s a long-term strategy. Next time, we’ll wrap up this series with an article on how to increase engagement with, and among, your social media community.

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