In 2011 Filip Tysander launched a small startup that by 2015 had revenues of over $180 million. He did this in a crowded market by bypassing traditional marketing methods. Instead he invested (and continues to invest) in a low-cost marketing strategy that facilitates growing engagement and a following that rivals major brands.

Daniel Wellington, the watch brand that Filip started, regularly posts content like the one below.

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With its sole focus on influencer marketing, the brand has gained sponsored posts from celebrities and has gifted watches to micro-influencers. In exchange, they post photos of themselves wearing the watch and provide a unique money-off code for followers.

This simple formula of beautiful images featuring a minimalistic watch promotes not just a brand but a lifestyle and has worked very well for Daniel Wellington. At the time of writing, they have over 1.3m Instagram posts using the #danielwellington hashtag. The brand’s main Instagram account has over 3.4m followers.

You know that the rise of social media influencers has opened up a world of possibilities.  Businesses and brands can now connect with potential customers directly, organically and at scale.

But how does a virtually unknown brand like Daniel Wellington scale so rapidly with influencer marketing?

How can a “nobody” or a new brand with little or no budget stand a chance of getting promoted by influencers, especially when starting out from scratch today?

In this post, we’ll dive into how new brands can get themselves promoted by influencers to boost their marketing. This is a long article so you can use the menu below to find sections that are of interest to you or read through the article if you prefer.

To kick things off, let’s be clear about what influencer marketing is.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing wherein brands identify and then work with certain individuals (influencers) who have influence over potential customers, to engage them and build increased brand awareness. Influencer marketing usually entails a mutually beneficial outcome for both the brand and the influencer.

Until recently, influencer marketing has been conducted as one-off campaigns. But with the decline in the effectiveness of more traditional marketing methods, influencer marketing has become a more regular method of engaging new audiences and is something that companies are investing in on a continuing basis.

Why use influencer marketing?

According to a study by Twitter and Annalect, as much as 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.

The increasing amount of engagement on social media platforms has made it easier for people to seek and find information from those they like and trust. This also makes them more likely to buy products recommended by those they like and trust.

Here are some other reasons.

It’s trendy

The topic shows a continuing upward trend over recent years. In other words, a number of brands the world over are looking to use influencer marketing to gain access to new audiences.

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It’s social

In this day and age, people expect brands to talk with them rather than at them. In fact, according to a Sproutsocial study, they also expect brands to entertain and inform them without selling to them.

With potential customers having such expectations, it is only natural that influencers are in a key position to engage with them on behalf of a brand. Consider the following statistics, for example.

  • According to an Ogilvy Cannes study, 74% of people turn to word of mouth recommendations from their social networks for purchase decisions.
  • According to eMarketer, 87% of millennials recommend a product or service because of good experiences or because they feel a responsibility to guide friends, peers or family towards smart decisions.

It helps with SEO

Influencer marketing provides the chance to build a diverse set of new links to a brand’s site. According to a study conducted by Moz, links from sites of perceived quality and authority are among the top search engine ranking factors. This isn’t easy to acquire, but links from an influencer’s site are more likely to fit the criteria.

Having new and fresh content is another ranking factor. Influencer marketing allows for new and fresh content to be created. After all, an influencer’s role is to create captivating and shareable content with the potential to improve a brand’s content profile.

When you partner with influencers, you’re using a trusted source to add credibility to your content. This, in turn, has the potential to increase engagement while sharing your brand message in a natural way. According to the Moz study, engagement and traffic are the fifth most important ranking factor from an SEO perspective.

It allows for audience targeting and is measurable

Like most marketing endeavors of a digital nature, the results of influencer marketing campaigns can be easily tracked and monitored.

It’s more effective than traditional advertising

Take a look at these numbers.

  • According to a Nielsen Catalina study, influencer marketing content delivers a higher return on investment than traditional forms of digital marketing. In fact, it is 11 times higher.
  • A study by Tomoson showed that businesses were making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
  • A study commissioned by the 4A’s found that 96% of people believe that the advertising industry does not act with integrity, and 69% of them said that integrity meant always keeping promises.

How to define success

While influencer marketing may be a hot topic, engaging in it with the hope of seeing a similar outcome to Filip Tysander’s would be a mistake without first assessing your current capabilities and planning for it.

Philip Brown advocates setting your marketing objectives before engaging influencer marketing.

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Sebastian Jespersen, CEO and president of Vertic, advocates starting with the audience you wish to target, and then identifying influencers who have something unique and interesting to say. He suggests using the 5W model which he outlined in an interview.

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A suitable first step in determining if this is a good fit within your overall marketing strategy would be to conduct an audit.

Why conduct an audit?

Because understanding what needs to be achieved and how influencer marketing fits into the overall strategy will prevent mistakes from being made and will minimize the waste of resources down the track.

An effective audit should of course consider whether potential influencers are actually driving their audiences’ behaviors, such as making purchases. Also assess your internal capabilities, to determine whether you have the support and resources you need to support continued influencer marketing.

The Onalytica graph below shows some of the questions that are worth asking.

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Perhaps one of the most fundamental aspects to any influencer marketing endeavor is the need to define what success should look like for a brand. To do that, you will need to define your S.M.A.R.T campaign goals. In other words, you need to know from the beginning how you will track, measure, and judge campaign effectiveness.

While sales are the primary goal of most businesses, influencer marketing campaigns can have other goals such as visibility, engagement, content production and brand awareness.

  • With visibility, for example, the objective would be to increase the number of potential customers who become aware of the brand through the campaign.
  • With engagement, the objective is to increase the number of engagements. CPE or cost per engagement is used as a metric. Other metrics typically used include likes, shares, comments, and click-throughs. Why is this an important measure? Because it focuses on a potential customer’s interest in the brand.
  • With content, the idea is again to measure engagement and gain social proof through influencers and possibly consumers as well.
  • With brand awareness metrics such as strength, sentiment, passion and reach can be measured with tools like SocialMention or Trackur.

How to identify influencers

A critical part of your influencer marketing campaigns is to find and follow as many experts as you can in your niche or industry.

This is where tools like Buzzsumo, Followerwonk or Brand 24 can help.

While these tools can help to identify potential candidates, you will still have to sort through them to find people with a voice and online presence that is somewhat aligned to your brands.

You go about that by determining their relevance, engagement, and quality of content.

In other words, determine their:

  • relevance by determining whether the content they share is in some way related to the issues that your brand addresses.
  • engagement by examining their posts and the kind of engagement they attract from their audience. The frequency of interaction and the shares will give you an idea of how engaged the audience is, and how likely they will be to act on a call to action made by the influencer.
  • quality and reach by examining their content and site to see how visible they are and what sort of influence they have on social media and the search engines.

Philip Brown says: Analyze an influencer’s engaged audience and make it an important criterion within your influencer selection process.

Where to look for the right type of influencers

Now that you have identified the kind of influencers you would like to work with, it becomes easier to find such individuals. Here are a few ways to do that.

Social media monitoring

Social media monitoring allows you to find influencers who are already talking about your brand or industry. These are people that you would want to engage with and potentially expose your brand to. Buzzsumo is a tool that can help to identify such influencers and provide some insight into how effective their engagement is on their content.

If you were to look for influencers in the dog training space, for example, you would see a list like the one in the image below. Use it to follow each of the influencers and gather more information.

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Monitor hashtags

One of the easiest ways to identify influencers is to look for conversations that include hashtags relevant to your brand and industry. This is also a great way to identify topics worth producing content around, as well as active communicators who could be considered as influencers.

Tools like Brand 24 and Mention can help.

Google Alerts

You can set alerts for keywords related to your brand or industry, so as to identify people talking about such topics.

On the Alerts page you can enter the terms you wish to monitor, enter the frequency of alerts, sources you wish to monitor, as well as the region. You will then receive the alerts via email.

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Blogger outreach

Having identified influencers, you might want to scale your outreach efforts via email and/or social media. This is where tools like Buzzstream, Mailshake, Nimble and Outreach.io can help.

Watch the video below for a review of Mailshake.

How to reach out and be memorable

Which school of thought do you belong to?

  • Outreach to influencers is a numbers game. If you throw out enough requests, a few will stick.
  • A strategic personalized approach to selected influencers would be better, and would allow you to engage the influencers who are best aligned to your brand.

If you belong to the first school, you are unlikely to get much of a response for the effort you put in. If you belong to the second, then the following will be useful to you in building genuine, deep relationships.

Here are what a few experts recommend as a process to follow when approaching influencers:

Tony Wood
Tony Wood
Tony Wood (@xfactorcomms) is a long-time Virgin Marketing Director. Now helping B2Bs achieve success in Social Media Marketing & Influencer Relations. Specialising in #BPO #Digital Tech, F/S.
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For anyone looking to piggy back on influencers to make the transition from ‘nobody’ to ‘somebody’ via social media, I recommend deploying the following ‘3 Cs’ on Twitter:

Step 1 – Curate: If you’re new to Twitter with hardly any followers, the best way to get yourself established is to become a curator of other people’s great content. Choose your area of specialism, then set about sharing interesting articles, research and commentary from thought leaders within that field. Be sure to use relevant hashtags in your posts and don’t forget to reference (via ‘@mentions’) other users to grab their attention.

Step 2 – Commentate: Curation is a great way to get started but can only take you so far. Once you’ve built your confidence, it’s time to start expressing opinions of your own rather than just relying on others. The ‘quoted tweet’ is the perfect vehicle for this, allowing you to add a brief personal perspective on content you share. Some of the influencers who might not have taken any interest in your posts when you were a ‘mere’ curator, will take more notice when you demonstrate views of your own.

Step 3 – Create: For many people, pursuing Steps 1 and 2 systematically within their chosen area of specialism will often be enough to get you established as a social media ‘somebody’. To really be taken seriously though, you should consider becoming a content creator. Starting your own blog, in which you can share more in-depth opinions and ideas, can be huge step in gaining respect as a thought leader in your own right. And there’s no better way of catching the eye of influencers than when you start displaying influence of your own!

Shane Barker
Shane Barker
Shane Barker (@shane_barker) is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions.
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It’s possible to get promoted by influencers even if your brand is just starting out or is fairly unknown. Look at brands like Daniel Wellington and MVMT, who built their brands through influencer marketing. Here are some ideas:

  • You could start out by working with a small community of micro-influencers as they are more likely to endorse smaller brands.
  • Invest in one highly-relevant macro-influencer so micro-influencers may feel even more compelled to promote your brand. You’ll likely need to set a budget to pay this influencer.
  • You need to look for influencers who are highly relevant to your industry so you can make sure they’ll be interested in your product.
  • Don’t just assume the influencers will promote your product and send it to them. Approach them via email first, let them know how much you love their content, and introduce them to your product. Your email should clearly state the benefits of the product. And you can ask the influencers if they’d be interested in trying it out.
Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula (@MikeKawula) is an Author, Inc 500 Alumni, Top 100 Marketing Influencer, CEO of Social Quant and Co-Founder of Dinner Table MBA
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Getting promoted by influencers doesn’t have to be as difficult as some make it out to be, provided you truly know your niche well and can set yourself apart.

Let me share with you five ways to get started and please realize, like anything, the greater effort you put in, the greater success you’ll have.

First: Start building your social media presence immediately.

As the Chinese proverb goes:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Build an online following before you’re even ready to utilize it.

For instance, my 15-year-old son has visions of doing something with photography or video when he graduates High School, but he’s building a following both on YouTube and Twitter today!

Second: Learn who the influencers are in your niche.

To do this you can use two free tools:

Once you learn who those influencers are, begin connecting with them and sharing their content. Make sure that you do this authentically and tag the influencer.

As your social profile grows from step one, they’ll begin to recognize who you are.

Third: Find the reporters who cover your niche and put them on a Twitter list. Check in daily and share their content, reply to their Tweets and authentically comment on their articles.

Reporters love getting shared and they’ll possibly cover you, when you have something newsworthy to share.

Fourth: Sign up for HARO for free and for the next three months, three times a day Monday-Friday, begin answering reporters’ questions.

This will take being consistent and persistent, but after a while, you’ll get some hits and be published by several.

Remember when you’re published to share that with your audience frequently and highlight in your bio’s and social media covers the publications that have mentioned you.

If you’re not comfortable with sharing your content remember this quote from the father of advertising, David Ogilvy:

“Gentle reader, if you are shocked by these confessions of self-advertisement, I can only plead that if I had behaved in a more professional way, it would have taken me twenty years to arrive. I had neither the time nor the money to wait. I was poor, unknown, and in a hurry.”

Fifth: Engage with your audience, whether you believe they’re an influencer or not. Do this from day one.

Doing this, you’ll build your own tribe of followers who will be there to support you along the way and, as a bonus, you’ll make some amazing friends. Take a look at great influencers like Sam Hurley, Rebekah Radice, Gary Vaynerchuk and countless others. They’re mentioned countless times a day on social media, and they still do their best to engage with their audience daily.

Follow this strategy and I guarantee you’ll see results.

Jeff Sheehan
Jeff Sheehan
Jeff Sheehan (@jeffsheehan) #ATL #SocialSelling #Marketing Pro #Speaker #Author #Podcaster #Toastmaster Luv Travel |Photog | 13.1
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To get promoted by influencers when you are a nobody (new brand), I would do the following:

1). Define your goals and objectives.

  • Why do you want to be promoted?
  • By whom? Develop of list of targeted influencers.
  • Why should they promote you? Does what you represent align with their brand or activities? Can the engagement with you help them? It needs to be focused around what is in it for them.
  • What are the metrics you’re going to use to quantify your performance.

2). Know who you are, what you represent, and all of your content and messaging reflects this and is aligned with it.

3). Make sure that you have a stellar, AUTHENTIC, social footprint, as a starting point. Your LinkedIn profile needs to be complete and accurately reflect who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and your experience.

4). Start following and, engaging with influencers on Twitter. Promote their books, speaking gigs, etc. Look for those who have following/follower ratios of 50%+, as these with less than this could generally care less to engage with you.

Brand yourself

Before approaching influencers you need an online presence, especially on social media channels. In order for people to quickly get to know your brand and what it is that you do, branding each of your social channels is essential. Make sure that you are communicating the same message across all channels.

Build a reputation

One of the most valuable things you can invest in is your reputation. So ask yourself: Do people know who you are, and do they want to spend time with you and your content?

Often, reputations are established with content and then maintained with relationships. If you are known to publish good content and known to be honorable, the chances are that your reputation will grow.

Here is what a few experts recommend:

Josh Steimle
Josh Steimle
Josh Steimle (@joshsteimle) turns CMOs into influencers. Author Chief Marketing Officers at Work, 300+ articles on Mashable, TechCrunch, Forbes, Time. Agency CEO, @TEDx speaker, dad.
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Everybody and every new brand has a story to tell that can help others. If I were starting out and I wanted other influencers to promote me, then I would start a blog or podcast focused on my audience. Then I would go interview the influencers or thought leaders the people in my audience pay attention to. By publishing those interviews I would gain credibility and begin to build my own personal brand until I could become an influencer in my own right.
Tamara McCleary
Tamara McCleary
Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary) is #CEO @ThuliumCo | Top 25 #Social #CMO #CIO #AI #ML #AR #IoT #BigData #Cloud #MarTech Influencer | #Leadership #Marketing #DigitalTransformation Speaker
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To get promoted by influencers you must provide something of value. You will never be promoted or get attention in an overcrowded marketplace through self-serving promotion or advertisement. You must add value, be relevant, tell compelling stories, and have social proof to be recognized.

How have you helped, supported or promoted someone else? This is about you creating solid content that is positively contributing and adding to the conversation already in-play. Cite others doing it well (your target influencers), give them credit, highlight them.

Are your posts addressing the issues your targeted influencers are interested in? Also, “like”, share and comment on your target influencer’s posts. Give first before you expect to receive. Understand before seeking to be understood. Always be thinking, “what is of interest to them, what would they enjoy sharing?”

Quite honestly, if you’re a “nobody” (new brand), you need to work on becoming a “somebody” by investing in building your own brand. Do you engage and are you a part of the conversations going on in your chosen specialty? Begin by establishing your own thought leadership by acknowledging those whom you respect, admire and whom inspire you. If you’re thoughtful, genuine, passionate, inspired, authentic, sharing and caring, you’ll get promoted.

In the end, the reality is, the only difference between a “somebody” and a “nobody” is our perception. I know a lot of “somebody’s” who have very little followings, and I know a lot of “nobody’s” with massive followings. Be mindful of what you label as influential. Things aren’t always as they appear. I think if you’re reading this, you are already a “somebody”, it just may be that you’re a “somebody” that other people need to meet. Work on your brand. You can do it. I believe in you.

Linda J. Popky
Linda Popky
Linda J. Popky (@popky) is the founder and president of Silicon Valley-based Leverage2Market Associates, helps organizations be heard above the noise. She is the author of the recently released book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters.
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If your problem is you are unknown, then the solution is to get known. You do that by building credibility.

If you really don’t have anything interesting to say or to share, there’s no reason for anyone to ever want to promote you.

Develop a strong online presence–with a website, blog, Medium postings, and relevant posts on FaceBook, LinkedIn and other social media. Start speaking before relevant groups, record short videos and podcasts. Google yourself and see what comes up. If you don’t like what you see, change it by creating the type of content that you want people to find about you.

Take a clear point of view, and be able to back it up when asked. But be different–say something that catches attention, something controversial or contrarian.

Then act like a thought leader. Associate with other thought leaders–both online and off. Ask questions, be willing to learn from them, then follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn. Reference their works in your presentations or posts so people begin to see the two of you mentioned together.

Rinse and repeat. Multiple times.

Be genuine

Here is what a few experts recommend:

Glen Gilmore
Glen Gilmore
Glen Gilmore (@GlenGilmore)was called by TIME magazine as a “man of action” http://goo.gl/KlSPW FORBES Top 20 Social Media http://bit.ly/1O4O5Mx Speaker | Author | ⚖️ | Rutgers Adj | Top ? #SMM #IoT #AI #AR #VR #VoiceFirst
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A real influencer knows that everybody is somebody. If you share great content – or have an exemplary product or service – you could find your content or brand or product or services promoted by an influencer without even asking. Quality counts. Offering a complimentary sample, service or stay would also be likely to increase your prospects of being promoted by an influencer.

You’re also more likely to have your content shared by an influencer if you invest in developing a relationship: being genuine, respectful and supportive of the influencer. Good influencers are good listeners and may just surprise you with an unsolicited shout out.

By contrast, spamming an influencer or introducing yourself with a one-way request is likely to backfire.

Mark W. Schaefer
Mark Schaefer
Mark W. Schaefer (@markwschaefer) extracts the signal from the social media noise. Keynote speaker, executive branding coach, marketing strategist. Podcaster, author of 6 books including KNOWN.
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There is no such thing as a “nobody”. Everybody and new brand is worthy. However, there are people and brands that are not known, and that’s the challenge. If a stranger approaches me for a favor I’m not likely to respond — there has been no value exchange and I get bombarded with requests. But if somebody makes a genuine opportunity to connect with me and befriend me, I will try my best to connect and help people.
Pieter Groenewald
Pieter Groenewald
Pieter Groenewald (@pieterg100) is CEO and founder of @theSALT_za, which specializes in influencer marketing……differently. Family man with 2 boys and an awesome wife. ????‍?‍?‍??
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At theSALT, we don’t believe there are nobody’s (new brands) out there. Every person is connected in some way or other and hold real influence over others, depending on their relationship. These relationships are very precious for the connected parties and normally demands mutual respect.

It starts off with your immediate family connections, from there extends to friends, colleagues or people from your community. These could be fellow parents from your children’s school, your gym buddies or perhaps the people from your book club or churchgoers.

So the trick is not to get promoted and artificially increase your followers, but rather to leverage and nurture these existing relationships in an authentic manner. So I guess, it is not about the promotion of yourself by others, but rather leveraging and focusing on those existing relationships. Once you’ve put those glasses on, the way you look at the world changes.

Zoe Linda
Zoe Linda
Zoe Linda (@ZoeLinda_) Ready to make meaningful connections to grow your brand? I’m your resident influencer marketing wizard! ✨ zoelinda.co.uk
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One of the best ways to build relationships with influencers (whatever your social media stats) is to spend time warming up your connection. Take the time to engage with them on their largest social platform and on their blog. This will help you become a familiar face to them, and to their audience, as well as getting to know them better so you can craft that oh-so-important initial outreach email in a personalised and authentic way.

Warming up the connection can take some time so be patient!

Falk Sieghard Gruner
Falk Sieghard Gruner
Falk Sieghard Gruner (@FalkGruner) ist ein influencer in ganz Chemnitz Nord. Social Media und Content Marketing. Mastermind hinter den Passwörtern von @medienspinnerei, @KreativesC & @zammwerk.
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A “nobody” (new brand) is usually excited about any promotion by an influencer. Whether it’s a mention in a tweet or a retweet, a link to her or his blog or something like that.

But a sustainable promotion would be more frequent at the certain platform the “nobody” want’s to rise in. For example – you could look at entering into a 6-month-twitter-partnership around topics of common interest. During this half year, the influencer could share interesting tweets and thoughts of the “new brand”, include them in ongoing discussions, mention their account, ask for their opinion and so on. The idea being to add value to the influencer’s audience while introducing the audience to the brand.

Establish contact and provide value

One the best ways to make influencers aware of you is to follow them on social media and keep an eye out for opportunities to engage them. For example, they might ask for an opinion, or ask about a tool. Or they might ask for a referral, like Mari Smith did with this Facebook post:

Follow all your target influencers on all their active social media channels.

Keep track of your social media influencers by creating a list – “a notice me list” as Alexis Grant puts it. This is essentially a private Twitter list of people with whom you would like to engage, and who can help to get you where you would like to be. Facebook interest lists can also be used for similar purposes.

Chances are that your target influencers will publish content on platforms such as LinkedIn or on their blogs. Be sure to subscribe to their updates or follow them on platforms like LinkedIn.

Why? So that whenever they publish, you always know about it. This gives you the opportunity to interact with them on topics which are of interest to both of you.

Some influencers and brands value their subscribers and will invite new subscribers to interact with them upon signing up. Like the one below.

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Here is what a few experts say on the topic:

Ian Cleary
Ian Cleary
Ian Cleary (@IanCleary) is the founder of RazorSocial, online marketer with passion for marketing tech! writer Forbes, Entrepreneur…Kick boxer!
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If you are starting out you need to:

  • Investing in building relationships with influencers gains traction when following a process.
  • Building a relationship often starts with listening effectively and engaging influencers in conversation with their content.
  • Trust is a critical part of the relationship and can be built when you provide value to them in ways that are important to them as a person or their business.
  • Engaging influencers yields dividends when it is part of a long term strategy, not one that just looks for short term gains.

For more details on the above read the 6 Stages for Social Media Influencer Engagement.

Hazel Bernadette Gapuz
Hazel Bernadette Gapuz
Ace Gapuz (@AceGapuz) is the Chief Executive Officer of Blogapalooza Inc., the Philippines’ premier influencer marketing company.
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Do your research. Follow and get to know which influencers are genuinely interested in products/services that you offer, then reach out to them to try and use your product if they are open. You may have to start with micro-influencers, as this is the fastest and most effective way to get promoted when you are just starting to create awareness about what you offer. Ensure that influencer endorsements are authentic; the only influencer marketing strategy that has real staying power is authenticity.
Julie Joyce
Julie Joyce
Julie Joyce (@JulieJoyce) is the Owner of and Director of Operations for the link building company Link Fish Media, Inc. and co-founder of SEO Chicks. Monthly columnist for Search Engine Land.
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I am a big believer in reaching out to people that you admire, in a very sincere way, and starting a conversation with them. Give them feedback on an article they wrote when someone tweets it. Ask them a question. Just say hi, I’m a big fan. The key is to not ASK them for anything. Most influencers are incredibly busy and can’t respond to every single person immediately, but if you’re genuine and you don’t expect anything, you’ll stand out more than the others.
Holly Pavlika
Holly Pavlika
Holly Pavlika (@HollyPavlika) is SVP, Marketing and Content for Collective Bias, an Inmar influencer marketing company. She is an award-winning creative marketing and social media veteran and who has written numerous white papers and contributed content on influencer marketing for publications such as Mashable, Media Post, Social Times and more.
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First, you must start by developing a value exchange. What’s in it for the influencer you are trying to connect with?

Once you’ve figured that out, you then need to make it personal. I typically like to reach out on social, but invite a call or if they work/live near me I like to invite them for coffee, lunch or a drink. People tend to forget that social media is all about building relationships and getting to know each other. So a call or face-to-face meeting gives you the ability to really get to know the influencer. And you need to remember it’s not just one conversation and then you’re done. This is a relationship you will have to nurture over time. It’s an investment I’ve found that will pay back tenfold.

Deb Lee
Deb Lee
Deb Lee (@DAllisonLee) is passionate about productivity, coffee, apps, WordPress, blogging, & social media. Not necessarily in that order. Evernote Certified Consultant.
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First, I think the “nobody” status is what you make it … it’s all about mindset. Are you really a “nobody” or someone who’s not as well known who has great value to share? Do you know what that is?

And, more importantly, how you can bring value to the influencers you’re reaching out to? How well you communicate that will be key.

Finally, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” yes? You still need to forge a relationship. Get to know them, follow and interact them on social, read their articles, find out what resonates with them. Think marathon instead of sprint.

Cynthia Johnson
Cynthia Johnson
Cynthia Johnson (@CynthiaLIVE) is an entrepreneur, speaker and columnist focused on personal branding and digital marketing. I’ve got 5 minutes, let’s connect cynthia@cynthialive.com
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You are not a “nobody” (new brand) and the person you are reaching out to will see as much value in connecting with you as you portray to them. Reach out and say “I would love to connect when we can both find time on our calendars. Let me know and I can have my assistant work on scheduling something. Then, create a second email that you manage as if you were your own assistant. That’s what I used to do. 😉

Influencers, like everyone else, cannot possibly be experts on everything. So, chances are that from time to time you will be able to contribute or add value, to help make their strategies more complete or comprehensive. To start with, you might provide your tips by email, social media comment, blog post comment, etc.

For example, in this post by Aaron Orendorff I mentioned a strategy that he hadn’t covered but which would be useful to his readers.

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Here is what a few experts recommend doing:

Tara Hunt
Tara Hunt
Tara Hunt (@missrogue) is a digital marketing “native” (working in digital since 1992) with over 18 years of experience, the author of one of the first books on how the social web is changing business, and the President of Truly Social Inc, a digital agency that focuses on helping brands build relationships through content.
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One of the first mistakes that people make is to just approach an influencer with a request out of the blue. Anyone who is influential will have dozens, if not hundreds of inquiries like this every single day. Your tweet or PM or email will go into the same bin as all of the others: “Thanks but no thanks.” The key is to build relationships LONG before you ever need to ask for anything. AND you need to build those relationships altruistically: not with the intent to ask them for a favor someday, but with the intent to get to know everyone as humans (and how you can add value to their lives without wanting anything in return). Listen, contribute, and give. Build those relationships and you will never need to ask to be promoted. It will happen organically.
Werner Geyser
Werner Geyser
Werner Geyser (@WernerGeyser) #InfluencerMarketing @influencermh first Influencer Marketing Conference in Europe Nov 2017. SaaS Growth Marketing lead @rainmakers
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Everyone, and every brand, has to start somewhere. When you’re a nobody (new brand) you probably wont have the budget, reputation and resource to run huge marketing campaigns so influencer marketing might be just the tactic you need.

If you understand the value of an equal exchange partnership you can get your brand promoted by influencers – you just need to find a way to offer an influencer something of equal value to their post. That could be a product, a service, a voucher, an invite to something exclusive, the options are as wide as you can think.

If you can find a smart way to exchange equal value you’ll more than likely succeed in getting a few influencers to promote your brand. Remember that you want to build long-term influencer partnerships if possible. So it’s important to value the influencer’s audience fairly.

One of our most popular resources over on Influencer Marketing Hub helps brands do just this – the Instagram Money Calculator will give you a fair estimation on how to value an influencers Instagram post. From there you can create a package, and reach out to the influencer to start negotiating.

Nadya Khoja
Nadya Khoja
Nadya Khoja (@NadyaKhoja) is head of marketing at @Venngage and creator of https://drinkwithnadya.com. Speaker. Feminist. As seen on @HuffingtonPost @Entrepreneur @TheNextWeb @Forbes
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I recommend trying to attend conferences where the influencers you want to meet are speaking. Before attending the conference, maybe a couple of weeks before, put together a list of the top influencers you want to connect with and ask them if you can grab a coffee with them at some point during the event.

This has been a great way for me to personally connect with individuals who I follow and would like to learn from. Knowing how to network is an important skill, but it can be hard for some people to feel comfortable opening up.

Another strategy is to work on some type of content round up like visuals or posters and use that as a means to engage with influencers.

Leonard Kim
Leonard Kim
Leonard Kim (@MrLeonardKim) I make and market industry leaders | ❤️✒️?⛱⛵️ #TEDx ➡https://youtu.be/MrIWL17KHS0Ys Interviews: Hello@LeonardKim.com
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Provide a win-win situation. Want an influencer to promote you? Think to yourself… “What can I do to bring value to them?”

Everyone, even influencers, have areas that they need help with. Like for me, I depend on Rachel Pedersen to run our business funnel and I depend on Adam Fairhead to make sure our business site at InfluenceTree is operational. If you can provide immense value to where the influencer depends on you for a certain area, they will gladly promote you throughout their channels, networks and outlets.

Sam Hurley
Sam Hurley
Sam Hurley (@Sam___Hurley) is the guy who went from ‘nobody’ to #1 marketing influencer in 15 Months (without a website) ? Featured in: @entrepreneur @inc @fastcompany @Forbes @TheNextWeb
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Firstly, it’s important to remember that everybody is a somebody.

Including you…

#1) Discover an influencer who genuinely cares for people, not just their own ego

#2) Provide value to them

#3) Build a gradual relationship

#4) Never ask for anything

#5) Keep providing value to them

If they truly appreciate your time, they will help you out in future — without any encouragement!

Be in it for the long game; not simply retweeting then expecting an immediate share in return…

Remember: Before anything else, ensure your own personal brand is up to scratch. People will take you seriously.

Justin Matthew
Justin Matthew
Justin Matthew (@JMHHACKER) helps entrepreneurs generate ROI from social media. Author, Marketing Influencer, Top 25 Social Media Influencer. Founder @iboommedia
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Here are a few things I have done that resulted in success:

Seek out and contact influencers with the audience you’re trying to reach. This will help get your product in front of people who are more likely to be interested in it, and is also more likely to get that influencers attention.

Check for contact info through all social channels or try reaching out to one of their assistants or managers 1st. They’re sometimes easier to reach than the influencer right off the bat.

Give them a good reason for working with you. In my case I told an influencer I would promote the piece on my blog that was averaging 40k unique hits a month and was in that influencers target audience. So we both won!

Having a few posts that you have written or having your stuff featured/reviewed on other smaller blogs gives you some credibility and shows you’ve worked with people before.

Mentioning a few posts you really like shows you’ve taken the time to get familiar with that influencers work and will also help you figure out what kind of post ideas and offers appeal to them.

Display expertise

The first step in positioning yourself to pitch an influencer is to create value for them. To help you to see how to do this, put yourself in their shoes and think about what would be valuable to them.

Assuming monetary compensation is not an option, here are a few options.

  • Create a downloadable resource. Just one example: a guide that the influencer’s audience would appreciate and that would encourage more sign-ups to the influencer’s email list.
  • Consider providing a free consultation to help them improve their online presence. For example, Derek Halpern carried out a few website reviews, for people such as Amy Porterfield.
  • People are generally open to connecting with others whom it might be beneficial for them to know. You could act as a networker and connect two or more influencers together.
  • Highlight a community or a promotional angle that they haven’t yet touched upon. Offer to help them get it started.

Here is what a few experts have to say:

Ivana S Taylor
Ivana Taylor
Ivana S Taylor (@diymarketers) simplifies small business marketing with tools, tips and strategies on a budget. Host #BizapaloozaChat Mon 2pm ET. /Thu 8pm ET. A @dnbus top Influencer.
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There’s no such thing as a “nobody” (new brand). No matter who you are, you are an expert at SOMETHING.

The key to get an influencer to promote you is to build relationships with influencers who share your passion for a topic, industry or expertise.

The next step is to develop a clear point of view or “tilt” about this area; one that allows you to engage with influencers and add to the conversation.

Finally, become an engaged member of the influencer’s community; visit and comment on their articles, promote their events, help them be successful and in return, they will help you.

Scott Guthrie
Scott Guthrie
Scott Guthrie (@sabguthrie) specializes in digital strategy & execution – #influencermarketing. Progressive #PR advocate. Helping business thrive in the social age
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The root of influence lies in a person’s ability to alter perceptions and change behaviours. Online influencers achieve this by consistently creating compelling content which resonates with their following.

How are influencers able to consistently create compelling content which resonates with their audience? By listening to and engaging with them. By paying attention to content which performs well in terms of engagement and creating more of it.

To get promoted by influencers when you are a nobody stand out by being useful. If an influencer asks a question. Be sure to answer it. Further the discussion raised in the content by adding your point-of-view. Share the content you enjoyed.

Once you have formed a bond with the influencer though being helpful and useful to them ask to be promoted.

Do something special

To get the attention of influencers, consider doing something that not many others do.

For example, Ana Hoffman lists those who acknowledge her weekly marketing skinnies, like she does in this edition. This has caught the attention of a number of influencers and has helped her to grow her audience over time.

image9

Here is what a couple of experts recommend:

Madalyn Sklar
Madalyn Sklar
Madalyn Sklar (@madalynsklar) is ranked #1 Houston Social Media. Podcaster ? Host #TwitterSmarter chat Thurs 1pm ET. Host #SocialROI chat.
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The best way to get promoted by influencers when you’re a nobody (new brand) is to go against the tide. Be different so you’ll stand out.

I launched a podcast and Twitter chat in 2015 focusing on Twitter marketing. I reached out to top social media marketing experts on Twitter and invited them to join. They said yes. Over time I got known as the “Twitter Gal.”

Another method is to be highly visible on social media, delivering a one-two punch. Focus on conversing with influencers on Twitter and Facebook every day. Consistency pays off.

Andrew Hickey
Andrew Hickey
Andrew Hickey (@andrewmhickey) is a dad first. Marketing monkey at Scott’s Cheap Flights (@scottsflights). I’m probably about to go make myself an espresso. ☕️
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One of the easiest ways to get noticed by influencers is to offer a quality product that matches their brand/niche and offer a sample to test out and enjoy. If they like it/love it they will wind up mentioning it on their social media channels and elsewhere.
Chad Politt
Chad Politt
Chad Politt (@ChadPollitt) is on the faculty Indy @KelleySchool, Adjunct @RutgersU, Top 20 CMO Influencer, @HuffPost & @Guardian contributor, Co-Founder @Relevance & former @USArmy Commander
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The best way to get an influencer to promote something is to get them to coordinate on some type of writing project. The influencer has a vested interest in the success of that writing project and will share it, and perhaps link to it. The key to gain their coordination is to make it as easy as possible for the influencer. The less work they have to do the better.
Joe Fields
Joe Fields
Joe Fields (@joefields_) is the digital marketing manager @Onalytica, Influencer Marketing, Content Creation, Community Management, https://uk.linkedin.com/in/joefields1
Spoiler title
The key to a successful influencer campaign is working out the basis of your partnership with your target influencers to understand what value you as a brand can deliver to the influencers. In order to incentivise your influencers to more effectively communicate your messages to your target audience, you need to form an equal value partnership, rather than selling directly to the influencers. Incentives can come in the form of early access to information, content or a product, invitations to networking events, access to your audience or increased traffic to their website.

Seek to connect in meaningful ways

Commenting on influencers’ blog posts or social media posts is a great way to get on their radar. This works especially well if you can respond quickly. The longer you take to make a comment, the less likely the author will notice it.

Influencers, like everyone else, are keen to gauge the response of their content and to connect with others.

Consider for example, this Facebook post by Dennis Yu.

Dennis Yu Facebook post

Here is what a few experts have to say about connecting in meaningful ways:

Aaron Agius
Aaron Agius
Aaron Agius (@iamaaronagius) is a speaker, #SEO & #contentmarketer. Co-founder @IAmLouderOnline and help some of the world’s largest brands build their online presence.
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Too many people I’ve seen think of influencers as these walled-off, mythical beings. They’re not. They’re people who, just like you, face many of the same challenges in terms of finding interesting content to promote and maintaining engaging online presences. They’re just doing it at a much larger scale.

So if you want to get their attention and get promoted by them, you need to provide value first, whether by sharing or engaging with their content. You have to really try to connect with people, to challenge their ideas and to involve yourself in their communities. You have to build a relationship – not a promotional opportunity. Too many people jump to the ask before they have enough relationship equity to ask a favour.

Bonnie Harris
Bonnie Harris
Bonnie Harris (@waxgirl333) is the founder of Wax Marketing, an integrated marketing communications firm.
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Too many people go for the ask without creating a bond first. Like any relationship, you have to focus on giving before you can expect any “getting.” Comment thoughtfully on their blog posts, share and retweet their posts, and build a connection patiently. It can take months to create that connection but once you have it, it’s priceless. In many cases they will offer before you ever need to ask. Plus, you’ll not only have created a new virtual colleague but likely a friend as well.
John Paul Aguiar
John Paul Aguiar
John Paul Aguiar (@JohnAguiar) helps bloggers, entrepreneurs with blog marketing, Twitter marketing, social media. Kidney Transplant Rec – #2 Top Influencers in Marketing 2016 by BuzzSumo
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There are 2 ways you can get influencers to work and promote you.

1. Pay them, find the influencers that are targeted to what you want promoted and pay them to promote you on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.

2. Spend time following and connecting and sharing things that the influencers you want to work with are sharing. Build that relationship at least 2 months before you ask for help. You need to think, give, give, give WAY BEFORE you ask.

Once the relationship has been nourished, you then send then a simple and straight o the point email asking for some help.

If you are genuinely helpful for a period of time, that influencer will see you as a supportive connection and in time will be happy to help you in return.

Warren Whitlock
Warren Whitlock
Warren Whitlock (@WarrenWhitlock) I help businesses grow. Influencer in health, martech, blockchain, ico, solar, lead generation, social media, marketing. Futurist, Advisor, Author and friend.
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Influence is not measured in how many followers you have or how many people you reach. It’s a factor of what you can get done and how much people trust you.

To become an influencer, you need to do something. Make something happen and give people a reason to trust that you will continue to act in their interests.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to find other influencers in the same space and support them. In the old days, we’d do this by volunteering to help their causes, promote their issues and provide services.

Today, with the internet, we can do it much more. A comment on a blog will be read by those that read the post. Especially the blog owner. Sharing a podcast will be seen by those that like the podcaster and guests. Answering questions on a topic through social media will establish you as one who cares.

In a short time, people will come to depend on you for this, recommend you and you’ll be an influencer.

Andy Crestodina
Andy Crestodina
Andy Crestodina (@crestodina) is a speaker, content marketer, co-founder of Orbit Media (@orbiteers) and author of Content Chemistry
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Go slow. Build relationships gradually over time. Make a list of influencers you’d like to work with, and start building trust. Share their content and comment on their articles. Then ask if they would contribute a quote to something you’re working on.

Eventually, you’ll both feel perfectly comfortable when you make the ask for a bit of help. It’s natural to help and get help from friends!

The amount of time it takes depends on how much more famous they are than you. If they’re superstars, it’s going to take a while…

fame-to-speed

Source: Collaborative Content Marketing

Adel de Meyer
Adel de Meyer
Adel de Meyer (@AdeldMeyer) is a New Media Specialist | Speaker | Mentor | Author @TheNextWeb | Brand Influencer | Event Reporting #PR | Enjoy Fashion and Travel | ? Coffee and #Tech.
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The first step is your presence. Make sure you have a professional presence online using social media and a basic website where people can find out who and what you are. Nobody takes anyone serious that can’t be found online or has an egg for their Twitter profile picture. Secondly, start networking and engaging with your target influencers. Reach out to them, join their webinars or Twitter chats and find a way that you can provide some value to building a relationship. If you have a value proposition don’t be scared to reach out in a Tweet or email. Tell the influencer exactly what your mission is, how they could help and what you offer in return for their time or input. Easy!

Influencers get asked the whole day to do free shoutouts and free posts, my advice – don’t approach expecting any good influencer to do stuff for you for free, you will probably get ignored – offer something of value in return.

Show ’em you love ’em

You may already be sharing your target influencers’ content on social media, but doing so from the shadows won’t get you noticed. So how do you promote yourself?

Simply add mentions of them and namedrop, like Brittany Berger does in this tweet, in which she mentions Jason Miller.

Link to your influencers’ posts from your own blog posts. Then be sure to tag or mention them when you promote your posts on social media. After all, you linked to them because they inspired you, right?

They might take notice and thank you. Better yet, they might notice the traffic from your blog in their analytics.

A very natural way to be genuine and get on an influencer’s radar is to compliment them. Saying thank you or complimenting someone is such a simple thing to do, yet it is often overlooked. A word of thanks or a compliment encourages the recipient and lets them know that what they are doing is worthwhile.

For example, Pat Flynn mentions in Ask Pat #413 that he keeps the handwritten thank-you notes and emails he receives.

Here are some more ways to express your thanks.

  • Buy their products or services.
  • Spread the word, either in person or via social media.
  • Tweet out your appreciation.

The most important thing is to be specific. When thanking anybody, mention the resource, post, podcast or book that you benefited from.

Here is what a few experts recommend:

Ian Anderson Gray
Ian Anderson Gray
Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme) is founder of Seriously Social; a blog focused on social media tools. He’s an international speaker, trainer, teacher, web developer and consultant. He has a passion for making the techno-babble of social media marketing easy to understand. Ian is co-founder of Select Performers – a family run web agency.
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It’s all about building a relationship, and you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t fill up an influencer’s love tank! So let’s look at how you can fill up their love tank and help them love you! This can’t be fabricated or not genuine, influencers can spot fake-love and flattery a mile off! You need to be respectful of influencers’ time – most are incredibly busy and you can’t just expect them to drop everything to promote your next thing. In my experience, you need to be patient to form a relationship with the influencer. Follow them. Comment on their posts and share them when it makes sense. Be totally giving and don’t expect anything in return. And prepare to not be heard for a while. Dare to be different and have some fun. Produce content that includes these influencers, not just blog posts, but maybe videos, images, gifs and more. It can seem weird, but the less you bombard influencers about your stuff and be more giving to them – the more visible you will become and the more likely they will love you and then end up promoting you.
Robert Rose
Robert Rose
Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose) Helping marketers create remarkable experiences. Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory, Author http://KillingMarketing.com . Startup Advisor. Mapmaker. Troublemaker
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The key is in knowing your subject and what it is you want. It doesn’t matter who you are, because frankly even if you’re “somebody” the influencer doesn’t know you. So, you have to start with making sure that you’re delivering value before you ask value in return.

So, start by demonstrating that you’ve done the research. Reference their work, demonstrate that you haven’t just read it, but appreciate it and contextualize it with what your ask is.

Then, succinctly, demonstrate that for their participation, you are ready to provide some value back. It doesn’t have to be commensurate with what you’re asking for – it just has to indicate that you recognize that there’s a commitment there. For example, if I’m reaching out to a top executive at a company and I want 15 minutes of their time, I’ll offer to donate to one of the causes that I know means something to them. How do I know? I do the research. Put in the work, and influencers become just ordinary people who can help you.

Dylan Conroy
Dylan Conroy
Dylan Conroy (@DylanConroy) is SVP Sales @ The Social Standard. Influencer Marketing revenue leader on SnapChat, Instagram, FB Live and Periscope. Dad of 2 girls, cigar lover, golfer.
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The reality is there is an influencer for any brand. All brands have a built in audience. You just need to find the influencers that align with your brand. Influencers also like to be the first to talk about something and discover a new brand. Give them a first to market opportunity. Also, you can pay. You can work with smaller influencers for hundreds of dollars rather than thousands. Start small, measure impact and grow.
Ryan Foland
Ryan Foland
Ryan Foland (@ryanfoland) is a ‘craftsman of communication’ and a ‘black belt of branding.’ He coaches leaders worldwide on the art of simplifying spoken messaging with his 3-1-3 Method.
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If I was a nobody and wanted to get the attention of an influencer to help promote something, the most effective (and expensive option) would be to pay them a pile of money. But not everyone has a pile of money to throw into the wind. So, to get attention at no cost, I would get creative and do these three things:

  • Provide value well ahead of when I needed help, like sharing, commenting and promoting the influencer’s content to get on their radar.
  • Then I would write a hand written note, take a picture of it, share on social with a specific ask.
  • Finally, I would try to find their home or work mailing address and send the original hand written letter via FedEx. If someone took those 3 steps to get my attention, I would likely help them out.
Kevan Lee
Kevan Lee
Kevan Lee (@kevanlee) is the director of marketing at @buffer, the social media management tool for brands, agencies, and marketers.
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One of my favorite strategies is creating a roundup posts that includes input from influencers (like this post you’re reading). Ask influencers for their opinion on something — best marketing tip of 2018, favorite social media tool, etc. — combine it all into a blog post, publish, and make it easy for the influencer to share the content with their audience.

How to work with them

Make a plan

You have now identified potential influencers to work with you to engage new audiences and generate leads for you. But before you engage any potential influencer, you should have a plan with sufficient detail to help you and your influencer to achieve the objectives of any campaign.

What details should a plan include?

Content creation

One of the best ways to engage your target audiences is via content creation. A true influencer for your brand is passionate about it and can convey that passion via the content they produce. This in turn engages their audience and generates leads. One the best ways an influencer can help is to encourage content from happy clients.

How do you do that? Here are a few ways.

  • Ask clients to upload videos or photos of themselves using your product or service.
  • Run a competition on submissions of user-generated content, with a free giveaway or a discount on your products or services.
  • Ask people to take part in interviews which can be used as case studies. As an incentive, consider rewarding them for their time.
  • Ask the influencer to join you in activity on social media platforms and discussion forums, to encourage and engage with their audience.
  • Consider sending free samples or trials to influencers and micro-influencers, without any expectations. They might review and recommend your product if they like it enough.
  • Consider exchanging guest content with one or more channels.

Set the right expectations

Having identified the right influencers for your campaigns, you need to set expectations. Draw up a brief that includes all relevant information, including goals, copy suggestions, and proposed schedules.

While you need to communicate expectations clearly and concisely, avoid controlling the specifics of the campaign. Leave the influencer to decide how best to incorporate your product or service into their content. After all, they have spent a lot of time engaging their audience and will know better than you what will work with their audience.

Negotiation and contracts

Once agreement has been reached, and to keep all parties on the same page, you can draw up and sign a legal contract that includes deliverables, compensation, publishing schedule, and other relevant details.

Checking campaign content

Before launching a campaign, you may want to review and approve content, to ensure it touches on essential copy points or the brand messaging, as well as with any local laws.

You may also want to ensure that you have tracking measures in place before launch.

Once the campaign is given the go-ahead you will want to keep an eye on its performance, engagement, and other metrics worth noting.

Boost reach

In addition to campaigning across your brand social media channels, you can also ask the influencer to share the content across other platforms, and invest in paid options to boost the reach of the campaign.

To take the campaign still further you can invest in options such as publishing related content around the campaign and testing calls to action.

Analyze results

To determine the success of your campaign you will want to collect as much data as possible and compare the metrics against your KPIs or goals.
This will allow for an objective analysis of how well such content performed compared to an influencer’s non-sponsored content.

Over to you

Regardless of the kind of product or service you offer, your brand will need the support of an audience that is usually influenced by people outside your business. Tapping into this sphere of influence, like Daniel Wellington, can only help to accelerate your marketing efforts.

At the heart of any paid or earned influencer campaign, what matters is the building of long-term relationships. It is therefore worth investing the time and effort to nurture long-term, mutually beneficial outcomes.

Influencer marketing benefits and impacts are best measured over time, but in the short term, influencer marketing can bring about mass awareness very quickly. This awareness, combined with a compelling product and experience, can drive sustainable promotion growth by influencers for a new brand.