Over the past few years, influencers have steadily taken over the internet marketing landscape, making ordinary individuals celebrities in their own right. Bloggers and social media influencers are powerful, often coming with an army of loyal followers, all of which are curious as to the places they are going and the products they are using.

For modern retailers, building relationships with key influencers is therefore indispensable, and can certainly help in providing valuable business growth opportunities.

Assosia, a UK-based retail and consumer research specialist, discusses four prominent strategies that retailers can use in order to effectively partner with influencers, as well as the best ways to find them.

1. Product gifting
This is a straightforward but highly effective strategy. All you have to do is find the right influencers within your niche and approach them to offer your products, in exchange for an honest review on their blog, a product post on their socials or a Vlog on their YouTube channel. Instead of making a monetary payment, you are rewarding them with the free gifting of your products, in the hope of them writing a glowing review which sends their followers to your website to make purchases of their own.

2. Exclusive events
Another effective way of working with influencers is to invite them to your exclusive brand events, such as a store opening or the launch of a new product. Remember that medium-sized influencers get invited to events all the time, so if you are targeting those at that level, your event will need to stand out from the crowd.

Think outside-the-box in terms of catering, entertainment and goodie bags and you’ll find that the VIP guests attending are much more likely to share their experiences of your brand’s event on their social feeds.

3. Competitions
Influencer-led competitions are one of the simplest methods to help spread the word about your products or services. They can be carried out via a competition entry form on a blog, through email marketing, or in the form of a social media post in which followers must like, share or comment in order to be selected to win. These work well in terms of generating publicity quickly and easily, without too much effort required of any of the involved parties.

4. Sponsored posts
Sponsored posts typically work best with bloggers, and normally involve producing a blog post with a specific mention of the brand or product within the piece and a link to the website. The benefits of this type of partnership include an increase in keyword visibility for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes, brand awareness, and the potential to drive traffic to your company’s website.

Over the past few years, influencers have steadily taken over the internet marketing landscape, making ordinary individuals celebrities in their own right.

How do I find the right influencers?
Influencer-brand partnerships work best when their core audience is the same as your target market. For instance, there is simply no point contacting a health and fitness blogger when you sell artisan chocolates – a food and drink influencer would be better suited.

As such, finding the right influencers to outreach to should always be your first step in the process. This is now easier than ever, with a wide-range of tools available, including large influencer databases which help match the right people to your niche, as well as highlighting their key stats, like follower counts and website domain authority. You can also monitor and post within the #bloggerrequest hashtag on Twitter, which is awash with influencers who are actively seeking specific brand partnerships.

Remember though, that when working with influencers, it is best to allow them to create their own unique content, in the specific tone of voice that their followers have grown familiar with. Tech-savvy millennials and generation Z consumers, in particular, are becoming more and more aware of when and how they are being advertised to.

The younger generations are looking for authenticity in the content they consume, rather than feeling heavily marketed to. Consequently, choosing the right influencers whose values, generated content and audience all align with your brand, is the most effective path to take.