Three ways to get an influencer to promote your product

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Influencer marketing involves getting key industry influencers to promote your products. Every industry has influencers. They can include reporters, analysts, VCs, etc. In this tip I’m talking about social media influencers.

Getting Kim Kardashian West, with her 46 million Twitter followers, to carry your brand’s handbag into an event is an example of influencer marketing. In some B2B markets the top influencers may only have tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of followers. (How to identify the best influencers for your company is another topic.)

Here are three ways to get influencers to promote your product:

Do something for them
A few years ago I did a series of interviews with marketing and sales leaders such as Ann Handley, Scott Brinker and Jill Rowley. They were open to being interviewed because the interviews would appear on the IDG Connect Marketer blog – in other words, they were getting something out of it beyond what I could have provided if the interviews had only been on my blog. I later aggregated 10 of these interviews into an ebook (you can download it for free from here). Both when I posted the original interviews and the ebook the interview subjects were very active in tweeting about it.

Sometimes all it takes is free samples. Under FTC regulations bloggers, etc., are supposed to identify when they received payment in any form, including free products, in exchange for a mention or endorsement.

Influencers are just like the rest of us. They’re also thinking, “What’s in it for me?” How can you help them?

Pay them
Lord & Taylor paid 50 leading fashion accounts on Instagram to wear the same dress on the same weekend. PS: It sold out.

Lord & Taylor Instagram influencer campaign

Influencers with millions of followers may be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for involvement in a campaign.

Get lucky
Sometimes the influencer will just be really interested in what you’re doing, especially if it is truly pathbreaking and important in their industry. The “Today Show” doing the Ice Bucket Challenge is an example: it was for a non-profit, visually compelling and entertaining all wrapped into one. Once it was done on the show it went viral on social media.

This is going to be really rare, though, because so many people are approaching the influencers with ideas all the time. A PR professional might be helpful in some situations.

In an age when traditional advertising is held in low regard, influencer marketing may be a more effective way to reach – and influence — your target market.