These days, social media is one of the most far-reaching and influential platforms available for a person to get their message across. In theory, it’s an ideal way for us to communicate our ideas and promote our products and services. We don’t need to pay for advertising, it’s about as close to a personal conversation as we can have with people we don’t know, and we can reach many people at once.
However, you may have noticed that there is a downside to the social media world. The problem is that everyone has a voice, and everyone is speaking at the same time. So you have countless voices all trying to communicate with each other, and essentially what you get is information overload.
As a result, people naturally filter out what’s not perceived as important for them. If they don’t immediately identify with the product or person in their news feed, they will move on without giving it second thought.
One of the best ways around this problem is to partner with a social media influencer to help you get your message across.
What is a social media influencer (SMI)?
Essentially it’s a person or group with a relevant following who takes their opinion seriously. For example, if Joe the Guitarist is an SMI, and he says that the Seagull F6 is one of his favorite acoustic guitars, and you happen to be an acoustic guitar player, then you are naturally going to take his opinion seriously. If you happen to be in the market for a new acoustic guitar, the Seagull will likely be one you will consider buying.
That’s the magic of working with an SMI. They help you get your point across by attaching a high value to it. By having them promote your products
or services, you fix the problem of being just another self-tooting horn in a space where people are more interested in speaking than listening. By partnering up with an SMI, you are putting yourself in a position of being listened to and taken seriously;
much more so than if you were to promote yourself on your own.
How to Use an SMI to Get Clients
To do this properly, there are a few ground rules you need to follow.
1. Get their attention. SMI’s usually have people throwing stuff at them all day long, asking them to promote their ideas/products/services. There are two problems with this approach. The first problem is the same as the original issue - everyone is just another voice trying to promote himself in an overcrowded platform. The second problem is that most people don’t consider how the SMI might benefit from promoting their product. We’ll
address the second problem in a moment.
The solution to the first issue is to set yourself apart. How can you catch the attention of the SMI in the 0.04 seconds that your message pops in front of him? Let him know that you appreciate his work. That means doing your research on him. The more detail you know about his achievements, the better.
For example, Joe the Guitarist has a large fan base of potential guitar students. You’re looking to broaden your exposure to a wider client base. When writing to Joe, you could say, “Hey, Joe. I’ve been a long-time follower of your page/website/YouTube channel, and I’m really impressed by (quote something they did to show you actually consume their content. I like to quote several articles, videos, etc.) Your angle is quite unique, and I’d like to know more about how you (fill in the blank.) I’ve also noticed that much of your content is geared toward beginner or intermediate guitar players, and I think they’ll benefit from my (list your product/service.)” At this point, list what sets you apart from others in your category. Show him what makes you worth being considered over others. Now that you’ve got their attention, you can add in the second ground rule:
2. What’s in it for them? Once you’ve got their attention and shown what things you have in common, you must come up with a fair compensation that benefits the two of you. Could you offer them something one of their followers could win? For example, if you’re a teacher, could you offer them to allow one lucky follower to win several private music lessons? If you’re selling a product, then you might want to consider a free giveaway. SMI’s love to give away products and services of high value. Above all, most SMI’s want to make money from their followers. The easiest way is to offer them compensation for promoting your product or service.
If you go the compensation route, there is a better way to get your SMI to promote you than the traditional sponsorship or ad. You want an Advertorial. This is a blend of advertising and editorial. Basically it’s an ad written as an article, with the SMI talking about and recommending your product or service. Another compensation route that can be considered further down the line is a joint venture or affiliate agreement.
Assuming that you’ve been working successfully with your SMI and he trusts you, this route has tons of earning potential for the SMI. This agreement would allow you to only pay the SMI based on success, which means he would receive agreed-upon percentage for every person that buys your product/service through him.
Now here’s another great secret. If you really want to make your presence known, approach several SMI’s at the same time, and coordinate an unofficial “launch” of your service. This will create a major impact in the minds of your potential clients, because all of a sudden their favorite SMI’s are talking about you, and that gives you high status and credibility in their minds. Using an SMI is one of the best ways to overcome the three major hurdles you will face when approaching potential clients: know, like, and trust. The SMI has already done the work for you, because your potential clients know him, like him, and trust what he has to say.
How to Find the Right SMI
The big SMI’s have big followings, but the downside can be that they might not consider working with someone who doesn’t have a big following, or someone that can’t compensate them as much as they’d like. Therefore, you’re better off looking for an SMI with a small to medium following. Smaller SMI’s don’t get many offers, and they dream of making money by being paid to promote products. Your offer might be an exciting prospect for them.
If you are looking to get your band gigs, offer your music-related services for functions, etc., you need to make sure that your SMI meets the two criteria we mentioned above: he has a following that could benefit from your offering, and he’s open to a compensation plan that will make you both happy (which usually means he’s not one of the bigger SMI’s.) The true value of an SMI lies in the fact that he’s promoting your product, and you’re not. Everyone assumes that when a person promotes themselves they will say they’re the best. But when someone else promotes you, especially someone people know, like and trust, suddenly, people are listening.
DAVID RECKLES is a world renowned digital marketer and co-founder of Music Money Formula. Reckles has worked with Wal-Mart, Target, P&G, Nestle, 7-Up, American Airlines, Pfizer, The Gap and numerous others. You can learn more about Music Money Formula at musicmoneyformula.com. Contact Reckles directly at [email protected].