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Engaging influencers to be your brand advocates

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We recently posted an article looking at how to make customers into brand advocates. Consumers take purchase advice from strangers. This was due to recent research which points to UK and European consumers increasingly taking purchase advice from brand advocates.

In this post, we are going to take a look at how to get another kind of brand advocate ‘influencers’ on your side. Brand advocates are people that like your company, product or service so much that they are happy to tell everybody about it. An influencer can be a well-known industry person, a celebrity or a popular online social media personality.

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Get to know your influencers

The first thing to do is identify who they are. Which bloggers are relevant to your product or service? Which have the most followers? Whose twitter has thousands of engaged followers? These guys need to become your friends and with social media there is a great opportunity to contact influencers that simply did not exist before. It is great living in the future! The best thing to do is get in touch and introduce yourself, engage with them on social media, comment on their blog posts, retweet, like their posts, then start a conversation.

Gain copy with product

Why not offer some of your products to the influencers so they can review it on their blog? If they run competitions offer some of your product as a prize. You can also offer them discount codes for their readers and one for them. If this does not work and it is a high traffic blog offer to pay to take out an advert on the understanding that you will get lots of articles, mentions and social interactions.

Two way street

It goes without saying that if you are looking for influencers to feature you, it would be a good idea to feature them on your blog and anywhere else you can. It is a great way to engage with industry influencers and will make them much more receptive to feature you in return.

Not just digitally - try real life

If you can and they are nearby try and meet them in person. Taking an influencer to lunch is a great way to build a real and long term relationship. Don't treat it as a sales pitch but as relationship building.

Dont forget to thank them

If you do engage an influencer as brand advocate, do not forget to thank them. Send a gift, a card or phone. Let them know that their help is important to you. People like to help people and if they are properly thanked they are likely to do it again.

Building and maintaining good relationships with influencers is a very cost effective strategy for the SME retailer. It is often more effective than paid for editorial and advertising. Start small and you can grow the number of engaged influencers as you grow.

Please feel free to contact us for further business advice.

June 20th, 2014 by Hannah Newman

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