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6 Tips to Leverage Influencer Marketing and Earn Trust

Influencer marketing has become a driving force for brands to expand their reach and grow their audience. Influencer marketing isn’t just about Instagram, Youtube and promoting products and services; it’s about earning people’s trust.

One of my favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar is, "I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

This marketing tactic is about giving to others in the hopes they reciprocate the favor in the future. And the first step in successful influencer marketing strategies is understanding the customer.

Where are your customers on their buying journey? What kind of promotion or communication are they looking to for credibility of your product or service?  Once you can answer these questions about your customers, you can begin talking with the right influential people.

But, you can’t just ask an influencer to help you out. You have to EARN it.

I like to think of marketing in three phases: Owned, Earned and Paid.


This is self-explanatory. These are the channels that you own like your organization’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email lists, etc. You are not reliant on anyone else to promote to these channels besides yourself as these are wholly yours.


This is where the bulk of influencer marketing takes place. And, this is the hardest to achieve as it takes time and effort to build the trust and relationship with the audience who you potentially have never met before. But it’s worth it when done correctly.


These paid channels are typically advertising or content syndication. These are the channels like AdRoll, Google Ads, Outbrain, and the like who simply ask for money if you want to promote via their resources.

As you can see, the owned and paid channels, while extremely important in reaching your objectives, take the least amount of time and effort on your end. Yes, you have to develop a plan, draft copy, launch and report on the results, but you are not reliant on others like you are for the earned channels.

So how do we optimize our influencer marketing strategy and earn the trust from influencers?

With these six tips, you can define a path for influencer marketing success:

Understand your customers.

When you place the customer at the heart of your influencer marketing efforts, you can utilize your personas and Ideal Customer Profiles (IDC) based on where they are in their own buying journey. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of content are they looking for right now?
  • Are they aware they have a problem?
  • Are they in the consideration stage and looking for validation from peers and professionals?
  • What social media platform do they frequent the most?


Set a clear objective with goals to get you there.

Once you understand who your ideal customers, especially in relation to how they are influenced, set a clear objective with respective goals.

For example, let’s say your objective is to increase awareness with net-new customers. Your goals could then be:

  • Increase net-new website traffic from referrals by 5%
  • Increase lead magnet downloads from referrals by 10%
  • Double social following by fiscal year 2020


Or something along those lines...

Choose the right influencers to meet that goal.

Once you’ve identified your customers and mapped out your goals, you can focus on connecting with the right influencers to help move the needle forward and get to the right person at the right time.

In the B2B marketing world, we are looking to identify influencers as those who are independent authorities but are also willing to engage and support marketing efforts.

Who are those people who are active on social channels? Who has a strong following of the people who fit your ideal customer? And who has an opinion and voice and isn’t afraid to share it?

Think about:

  • Analysts and academics
  • Bloggers and journalists
  • Executives and chief evangelists
  • Entrepreneurs


Just make sure you think about influencers as people, not as an organization, so you can build a working relationship.

Give as much as you can.

Understanding true reciprocity is something many people forget when it comes to influencer marketing. When you approach an influencer for a marketing opportunity, make sure you’ve done your homework and already pre-emptively done something for them without asking anything in return.

For example, you’re looking to work with a group of specific influencers. Have you continued to share their content to your social channels and engaged in conversation on the opinions and ideas they’ve shared?

If you haven’t engaged with their content yet, you’re likely not ready for the conversation.

Take a look at these influencer marketing tips from an actual influencer for more insight!

Think longer-term.

One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to influencer marketing is when people ask for a one-time hit. When I say one-time hit, I mean asking to be included in someone’s blog or featured via social, but it’s only going to happen once.

You haven’t gone through all of this effort in gaining trust to be mentioned once and thrown away. If that’s the outcome of your entire strategy, something went wrong along the way.

Remember to give and get.

Once you’ve built the relationships, don’t let them go cold. Check in regularly, even when you’re not working with them on a project.

Maybe schedule some check-ins every quarter. This could be a phone call or even as simple as a quick email to touch base so they know you’re still thinking about them. Use these check-ins to share information about what your company’s doing and ask your influencers about what they’re working on. This is a chance to add value for both parties.

AND don’t forget to continue engaging with their content or on their social channels.

Lastly, remember that content marketing and influencer marketing work hand-in-hand with a mutual understanding of respect. If you respect your influencers’ time, provide value and understand your respective objectives, you’ll live in a symbiotic state of success.

What kind of strategies or tactics have you seen work well when it comes to influencer relationships?


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About the Author: Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith

With a background in B2B marketing, Rebecca specializes in inbound marketing and sales enablement. She has organized and driven successful lead generation strategies for medium-sized business for 5+ years. Rebecca holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and French from Washington State University.