Giving your brand a distinct voice won’t do you any good if no one takes the time to listen to it. The truth is that more than 80% of all new brands will fail and of the 20% that do survive, only a few can really be called successful. If your aim is to be among the successes, you need to tap into the strengths of existing industry leaders who are already quite vocal. Because these players have been in the industry for quite some time, they have become household names and can easily influence the actions of your target audience. That kind of influence can easily be leveraged to increase your credibility, get your message out to your target audience and most importantly, lead to sales.
The big question left to be answered now is, who are these industry leaders? An industry leader is anyone who is regarded as an authority figure within a specific industry. Do not make the mistake of thinking only of other well-established brands. An industry leader can be a blogger, consultant, an up-and-coming Photo-Journalist or even a traditional author. Whatever the case may be, carefully selecting your allies will certainly be to your advantage. These individuals are already influencing the minds of the very people you are trying to reach.
But how does one identify an industry leader? This too will require some research but thankfully, social media makes this task a little less tedious. Take a look at the number of followers or likes on the social media account of a potential ally. But as we both know, it is quite easy to ‘purchase’ followers or likes and not really benefit as a result. Some of these individuals may not even exist or may not be sure what the page is about. Your aim is to identify an individual or group who has a ‘profitable following.’ You can confirm the popularity or profitability of the page by simply examining the activity on the page instead of relying on the numbers. Examine how often the posts on that page get liked and whether the comments posted by followers are mostly positive or negative. Positive feedback on a social media page is very likely to indicate that these individuals will respond to your call to action.
Once you have identified a suitable candidate, you also need to examine what their brand represents. Once you form an alliance with this brand, people will assume that you both stand for or represent the same things. If your aim is to promote a wholesome, family atmosphere, forming an alliance with a tattoo parlor or a gothic clothing store would certainly not be to your advantage. You need to find industry leaders who are working towards similar goals and ideals. It may not be wise however to select an individual or brand that aims to sell the same kinds of products you promote as well. A more practical option would be to choose a company or blog that promote products that will compliment your own line of products. For example, a Photo-Journalist would be an excellent ally if your products or services focus on weddings and other special events. Your aim is to make your target audience trust you and this will not happen if you are sending a conflicting message.
When seeking to form this alliance, your aim should also be to find someone your audience will trust. Focus on sending a clear message that will not appear overly forceful or fake. This means you will need to avoid any individual or brand that is always doing some sort of promotion. Your audience will think your call to action is just another gimmick and you would have accomplished nothing by means of the alliance. Focus on those brands that are centered on providing useful information and improving the lives of their audience by means of their product or service. Now that you know what to look for, we need to focus on how to leverage the voice of the industry leaders you have identified.
Simple Meet and Greet
The good old-fashioned way of doing business is always best so why not start with a simple introduction. You can send the individual or group of interest an email. This email should be to the point but not too pushy. You aim is to present the alliance as win-win situation for both brands. But bear in mind that this individual has probably never heard of you or your brand before. And if they are as popular as you think, they may have been propositioned about a similar alliance before. Don’t be discouraged if you encounter some amount of resistance or skepticism. You may even have to prove to them that you are worth such an alliance. Their primary focus will be on what you bring to the table. Offering to share their content on your websites or social media pages is always an excellent way to get allies.
Form a Syndicate
Another option to leverage the voice of an industry leader is to form a group. This is often seen in the world of online marketing. It involves a group of marketers agreeing to promote each other’s product on the various platforms within their intent. That means you basically have full access to the network of every member of the group. An introduction of sorts will be required and the group should agree on the rules or guidelines regarding how they will carry out their promotions. This will require some amount of trust and very careful planning. Appearing ‘spammy’ or pushy will simply drive potential clients away. Each member of the group will have to choose a launch date for their promotions that will not conflict with the promotions of other members of the team. Also, it would have to be agreed that each member will not promote items that are too similar to other members of the group.
If each member carefully adheres to the guidelines of the team, a group can drastically boost sales for each participant. But there is a benefit to forming a group that extends beyond simply promoting each other’s work. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will push you to be better at your game. Learning how they overcame potential obstacles and keep themselves motivated will certainly prove to your advantage. This will help you create the right atmosphere to achieve success.
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey
Sponsored Ad Programs
Sponsored Ad Programs are another option to leverage the voice of industry leaders. As the name suggests, this option will require that you pay for this service. But you will make far more than you invested if you play your cards right. This option involves making use of Sponsored Tweets and other similar promotions. You basically are paying someone with a strong, loyal following to promote your product. It sounds simple enough, but it will only work to your advantage if you follow the guidelines I provided earlier. Always ensure that you carefully vet the social media pages of the individuals who are interested in promoting your brand before you make any payments. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is, because one bad decision could scar your brand permanently.
Leveraging the voice of industry leaders will do you very little good if you are not guiding potential clients to a social media page of your own. The next blog post will focus on how to design a suitable social media strategy that will help make your brand a success and of course, generate sales.