[Action plan]: How to find and work with influencers

[Action plan]: How to find and work with influencers

Everything in marketing is loud from mentioning influencers (if it is not about chatbots or video). Influencers – mostly in Social media have a direct access to their loyal audience who take their word more credible than that of a business organisation. It seems to be obvious, on the other hand, however, many wannabes popped up just with the aim of being paid for posting.

Let alone the fact that followers, likes and fans can be bought, influencers with a real audience will not necessarily deliver the results and publicity you are looking for. How to pick the right ones? How to approach them? Do you have to pay them and if yes, how much? You will get the answers here.

In this action plan, you receive tips on

  • how to identify the right influencers
  • which channels to find them
  • template for the contact message
  • Forms of partnership with them

Click here to see the action plan, and act after reading.

ActionPlan-influencer

Here is a transcript of the action plan if you find it easier:

Background info:

Everything in marketing is loud from mentioning influencers (if it is not about chatbots or video). Influencers – mostly in Social media have a direct access to their loyal audience who take their word more credible than that of a business organisation. It seems to be obvious, on the other hand, however, many wannabes popped up just with the aim of being paid for posting.

Let alone the fact that followers, likes and fans can be bought, influencers with a real audience will not necessarily deliver the results and publicity you are looking for. How to pick the right ones? How to approach them? Do you have to pay them and if yes, how much? You will get the answers here.

In this action plan, you receive tips on

  • how to identify the right influencers
  • which channels to find them
  • template for the contact message
  • Forms of partnership with them

Identify the right influencers

– An influencer can be anyone talking to an audience who are you – or part of your – target audience. (Therefore it is inevitable to know your specific target audience on the first place.)

– They don’t have to have hundred thousands of followers and don’t have to be famous. It is more important how engaged their fans are. A blogger, or Instagrammer with a few thousand followers who react with real comments (NOT only “Fab pic”).  

– But it can even be a regular guest who is active on social media and has friends with similar profiles (like a mum will be in touch with several other mums via school, clubs, and social media, and they will definitely talk about travel and where to stay.)

– Instead of (or apart from) checking google and the aggregator sites people often tend to ask their friends on their social media profile, or in groups.

Steps to follow to find them

  1. Create a spreadsheet with a list of each of the following categories on a separate tab.(A junior or intern colleague should be able to do these.)
  2. Add the following figures for each entry: list of social media they are present on, number of followers, average likes, comments, shares on posts, the frequency of posting, the profile of their major followers – they are the people you would like to get your message out to. What do they post, how often. This way you can also identify those influencers who have more of a ‘dream travel’ audience, who themselves are less likely to travel.

– First of all, check out those people who are the closest to you: your own followers who regularly comment and like your content. Plus regular guests on your database.

– Next look at those who use hashtags relating to your hotel’s profile, location, brand. Hashtags could be considered keywords of your activity. Be specific and skip too broad ones like traveladdict, or beautifulhotel, but be not too specific. A list of ideas: familyhotel, travelwithkids, romantichotel, hotelwithaview, hotelwithpool, poolwithaview more of these location, guesthouse

– To facilitate the above, you can use platforms like www.tintup.com, www.stackla.com, www.buzzandgo.com or http://hashtagio.com. With these it is enough to type in the hashtags and keywords once, and you can see a dashboard of all the posts that were posted using these tags. These are not cheap though, but provide other features, like continuously showing user generated content related to your hotel on a dedicated page. Ask for a demo, or a trial.

– Check www.bloggersrequired.com and post an ad to find the right influencers. In the assignment you have to describe what you want from the influencers, who can apply and what you give in return. You can also ask them to give you the number of their social media fans. One assignment is £30 + VAT, and you will have the contact of all influencers who apply.

– You have a list of people posting in your topic, who can be potential influencers.

– There might be some influencers you already follow and know, even some big ones, add them also to the list in a separate tab.

(There will be a separate action plan on how to use platforms like www.tintup.com to show credible user generated content.)

Once you have this list, you can identify those you would like to work. Again, prioritize according to the engagement rather than the size of their audience.

  1. In case of big influencers start engaging with them on their social channel via comments, likes etc – if you haven’t done that so far.
  2. Approach the influencers with a direct message. In many cases it is cold contact so make sure it is short and to the point. Alternatively turn to an agency who deal with influencers, more about that later in this action plan.

In this email list a few options you are open to and see what they want or how they work. The big names might require to be paid, but smaller ones are happy to stay in your hotel for coverage in exchange, depending on where they live (in some cases the travel expenses might be vast.)

You can follow the below template.

Dear NAME!

You have an awesome Instagram thread, I especially like the mood photos like the ones you took on PLACE. We are a purposedly small, family-led hotel in PLACE specializing in USP/SPECIALITY. This is just a short message to find out if you’d be interested to work with us in one of the following ways:

LIST HERE THE OPTIONS YOU CAN OFFER (see recommendations below at Forms of partnership.)

If they don’t answer but you find them crucial for you social media strategy, you can do a follow up contact to see if the first one has just sunk in the pile of messages.

  1. Aim at a few long-lasting relationship rather than a lot of one time postings. The best is to have influencer-ambassadors who regularly mention and recommend you when they have to recommend a hotel in your theme.
  2. An other nice aspect of having an influencer stay with you is to have awesome photos and fresh blog posts for your website so always
  3. When you have influencer partnerships, keep track of them, what they post of your hotel, how many times, and what the reactions are. It will be helpful to decide about renewing the relationship or not.

Forms of partnership:

It is important that you know in advance what you can and want to offer to the influencer. You can still be flexible as the negotiations go on.

It is worth to make some calculations, how much money you would like to spend on this (money could be actual money, or just the occupancy of the room and the cost of other services if you invite them). In the negotiations ask about the usual impact they have with other assignments, it also helps you to calculate. But normally an you will not necessarily have an immediate and measurable impact of such a coverage.

A very important note: you can talk about the possible versions of coverage, but never tell them what to do or write exactly. This is the point of working with influencers that they know what and how to present to their audience.

– The most obvious is that you invite the influencer to stay in your hotel and write about their experiences. Some of them have a lot of invitations and prefer to travel with a partner or family, and if you have a big name, travel costs could also be covered. In this case always ask if you can use the photos and videos created by them, as it is also a great plus.

– You can pay for the coverage, do this if you have a proven, good influencer (see above who a good influencer is) and if you get an extensive coverage (Instagram posts, blog posts with link etc). Prices vary from £50 to more hundred pounds.

– Ask PR agencies in the are, if they need a venue for a PR event, you can join their client and enjoy the publicity plus the new press and influencer contacts.

– If you already have good contacts with influencers organise ‘study tours’, where you invite more bloggers and build the trip on a theme (like spa treatments, gastro or any other niche.)

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