November 9, 2018 seotoronto

Influencer Marketing and SEO: 7 Ways to Build Links and Grow Your Audience

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Influencers are everywhere. From ads on the subway and commercials on TV to social media and YouTube videos, major companies are jumping at the chance to work with some popular talent.

With their massive followings, influencers can introduce your company and its products and services to all kinds of new audiences. You can capitalize on their success if you choose the right influencers for your marketing campaign.

But influencer marketing isn’t just about getting more “likes” on Instagram, it’s also a way of attracting more eyeballs and links to your website, giving a boost to your SEO campaign and helping you earn a top spot in Google’s search rankings.

Learn more about the connection between influencer marketing and SEO, so you can increase your rank and grow your audience.

The Age of Influencer Marketing

With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, people across all different industries and interests are uploading original content online and sharing it with users all over the world. They’re cultivating a powerful network of followers that tune in every time they post to these platforms.

And marketers are looking to cash in on this built-in audience by reaching to and working with influencers on different promotional projects. In fact, nearly half of marketers in the U.S. plan on adding more room for influencer marketing in their marketing budget.

Instead of a traditional advertisement where a company asks consumers to buy a particular product or service, influencer marketing uses online celebrities to generate organic interest in their company’s products and services. This may include:

  • Featuring a particular product or service on an influencer’s social media channel
  • Inviting an influencer to participate in a survey, study or interview
  • Influencers and companies working together to create original media

Consumers want to hear recommendations from people they trust, whether it’s their friends, family members, coworkers or someone they admire on social media. 74% of consumers say they use social media to guide their purchasing decisions. Traditional forms of advertising don’t seem to woo over consumers the way they used to, especially when it comes to millennials and younger consumers.

As you continue pouring money into your marketing campaign, remember that consumers may not trust your overly-promotional print ad, but they will trust a beloved online celebrity if they endorse your products and services.  

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Why Influencers Are Important for SEO

While influencer marketing can be a great way to grow your audience and effectively woo over new consumers, it’s also a fundamental part of SEO. If you create content in collaboration with an influencer, whether it’s an original video, infographic, blog post or an ebook, you’re bound to get people talking in your industry.

Backlinks

Obviously, attracting more people to your content is a good thing. But with an influencer at your side, you should also see a spike in backlinks or other web pages that link back to your website.

These backlinks give your content more authority by showing Google that other digital publishers are willing to share your content. Google wants to drive its users to reputable content and websites, so, if you want to rank at the top of Google’s search results, you’ll need a healthy portfolio of quality backlinks to back you up.

People want to hear what influencers have to say, so if you feature them on your website, people will start looking at your page and linking back to your content. It’s just that simple. If you do an in-depth interview with Justin Timberlake or the equivalent in your industry, all kinds of people will start sharing the piece.

Ranking for Additional Keywords

Try Googling one of the influencers in your industry and see what pops up in the results. You might see their Wikipedia page, an official website, and a number of related news articles and stories. If you create content around this influencer and treat their name like any other keyword, your content will also show up in the results.

If people are searching for this influencer online, you can drive more traffic to your site and hopefully convert some of these new viewers into paying customers.

Quality Content

Along with backlinks, high-quality content is currently the most important ranking factor for SEO. Google is driving its users towards content that’s considered useful and reliable. While you might think that your content is up to snuff, featuring an influencer in your content can make all the difference in the world.

Interviewing an influencer or somehow incorporating their expertise into your content are great ways to add value and authority to your content.

How to Reach Out to and Work with Influencers

Now that we’ve established the benefits of influencer marketing and how it relates to SEO, it’s time to start putting this information to good use. Keep these tips in mind when reaching out to and working with influencers in your industry.

1) Finding the Right Influencers for Your Business

The trick to influencer marketing is choosing the right people to work with. Yes, Kim Kardashian is famous, but the chances of her working with your business are slim to none. Besides, do your consumers even care about someone like Kim Kardashian? Unless you sell beauty supplies or women’s clothing, the answer is probably no.

Reaching out to movie stars and celebrities with millions of followers is probably a waste of time. They’re most likely too busy to give you or your colleagues the time of day.

Instead, try reaching out to high-profile individuals that work in or are related to your industry. This might include:

  • Prominent CEOs, marketing experts or other business professionals
  • Lifestyle and advice gurus
  • Makers of popular YouTube tutorials
  • Consultants and mentors
  • Journalists that regularly cover your industry
  • Bloggers and vloggers
  • Published authors

If you focus in on the people directly related to your industry, they’ll be much more likely to respond to your emails and get involved with your business.

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You’ll also have to choose between influencers and micro-influencers, which usually have tens of thousands of followers or less. If you’re a smaller company, you might want to start with less notable influencers and work your way up the ladder. Reaching out to the biggest fish in the sea right off the bat won’t help you get your marketing campaign off the ground.

2) Content Collaboration and Choosing the Right Topic

Now that you have your eye on a few key influencers, you’ll need to come up with a marketing strategy before you start sending out all those email pitches. It’s best to be as specific as possible when reaching out to influencers, so you should already have a few ideas in mind.

  • You could do a paid promotion and ask the person to publicly endorse your products and services, which may cost you a pretty penny or two.
  • You could write a compelling article on a topic of interest in your industry and interview the influencer to gain valuable knowledge and quotes.
  • Or you could create an original piece of media in collaboration with your influencer.

Choosing the right topic or idea all depends on what your business is trying to accomplish and what kinds of content your target audience wants to see.

If you want to wow young people on social media, creating an original video or a paid promotion might make a lot of sense. If you represent a B2B business, you may want to create an industry survey or in-depth report. Keep your target audience in mind when pitching ideas and get your ideas in order before reaching out to influencers.

3) Original Media and Creative Marketing

If you choose to go the more creative route by commissioning an original piece of media, you can come up with all kinds of interesting projects that might appeal to your target influencer. People love to see their favorite influencers in action, so it makes sense to feature them in a video, infographic, or photo reel instead just mentioning them in a blog post.

Visual content tends to be more effective when it comes to winning over B2C audiences as opposed to B2B audiences. More B2C marketers than B2B marketers say that visual content is the most important type of content. While businesses will be looking for facts and statistics, traditional consumers love to be entertained, so using an influencer as the face of your campaign can be an advantage.

Videos continue to dominate social media. In fact, videos will likely represent 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021. You can work with your influencer to create a tutorial, an eye-catching video ad, or an inspirational speech. It all depends on whom you’re trying to reach.

4) Paid Promotions and Shout-outs

Of course, you can always pay an influencer to promote your products and services on your company’s behalf. This makes a lot of sense for e-commerce websites, major retailers, and other product manufacturers. You can have an influencer verbally endorse your products, much like a regular TV ad, or have them wear or use your products in a series of social media posts or videos.

If you go this route, it’s best to find influencers whose brand aligns with that of your company’s. Some people may be skeptical to wear or use your products unless they fit with their current style.

You’ll also have to spend some money on these kinds of promotions, especially if the person has hundreds of thousands of followers, so be prepared to break out your checkbook. You can try throwing them some free swag, but that might not be enough to get them interested in your project.

5) Interviews and Surveys

If your company caters to a B2B audience, you might want to do an industry survey or a formal interview with an influencer. To find the right topic, look at trending news stories in your industry and find something that seems to get people’s attention.

Make sure your chosen influencer is considered an expert on this topic before you start putting together a questionnaire for them to fill out. This is an easy way to collaborate with an influencer considering you can quickly send off your questions via email and they can respond at their earliest convenience. While interviews don’t require any in-person collaboration, setting up an in-person meeting can be a great photo op.

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6) Coming Up with a Professional Pitch

Once you’ve settled on a marketing strategy with clear, actionable ideas, it’s time to start pitching. You can use email or a direct message on social media to get their attention.

When Pitching, Keep These Tips in Mind:

  • Be as precise as possible, including what you expect from the influencer, how you plan on achieving it, and how you found them in the first place.
  • Create a relationship between the influencer and your company, including some information about your company and why you think they’d be a good fit for your campaign.
  • Keep it brief. Some people may not have time to read large chunks of text.
  • Leave room for feedback. Some influencers might have interesting ideas of their own.

7) Making the Most of Your Collaboration

As you work on getting your project off the ground, don’t forget about coming up with a release strategy. If you’re meeting in person, take photos of the experience that you can use on social media and your website. Don’t forget to ask the influencer’s permission.

Once the content has been published, you should also post about it on social media to make sure as many people see it as possible. You can include the piece in your email newsletter, share it on LinkedIn, or write a press release in case another news organization wants to do a story on it. This helps you make the most of your efforts instead of solely relying on the influencer to spread the word.

Influencer marketing is an effective strategy that works for almost any business. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you can capitalize on an influencer’s success and turn it into a winning SEO and marketing strategy. Remember to keep your target audience in mind when coming up with ideas and reaching out to influencers. If you continually reach out to new people, your audience will only continue to grow.

If you’re looking for more information on how to incorporate influencer marketing into your SEO campaign, get in touch with SEOToronto.ca for a free SEO consultation today.

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