Methods To Incentivize Social Media Influencers To Promote Your Products
Updated: Feb 20
I believe that one of the greatest studies ever created is philosophy. That’s because the thing that makes philosophy such an intriguing study is the depth of its simplicity. Some of the simplest statements uttered by thought leaders thousands of years ago could still perfectly describe present-day life.
In fact, many statements made by philosophers centuries ago actually describes present-day life more accurately than that of their time.
One of those statements in particular was made by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who made one of the simplest, yet most profound statements that describes mankind when he said, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Just think, Aristotle made that statement back in the third century B.C.—way before the days of telephones and social media (so just imagine what he’d say today).
If Aristotle is correct about man being a social animal, I think it’s safe to say that social media is the equivalent of its watering hole. That’s due to the fact that social media is where herds gather to bond, bicker, and barter. And in every herd—there’s a hierarchy.
On social media, that hierarchy consists of social media influencers. They’re the ones that can convince the masses to follow their lead and cross the perilous rivers to safety.
Besides those that live totally isolated in the wilderness—we’re all part of a herd in one way or another. Which is a good thing. The cool part about a herd is that you don’t have to be the leader of the herd to direct where it goes. All you have to do is convince the leader of theherd to go in a desired direction. As a marketer, one way to do that is by incentivizing social media influencers.
Here’s a few ways that you can do that.
Lead with your product
Besides being social, we all have another thing in common. That thing is that we all love to receive free things! In fact, according to psychologist Eva Kruckow, “A positive charge is experienced when offered an unexpected gift, and this sensation of joy is likely to impact heavily on the subsequent choice.”
Let’s focus on the aspect of the subsequent choice of an unexpected gift.
By offering an influencer some of your products for free, the law of reciprocity (which is one of the basic laws of social psychology) states that they’re more likely to do a favor for you in return for that unexpected offering.
Diving deeper into the law of reciprocity; In his bestselling book, Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, author and Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, Dr. Robert Cialdini, stated, “If people feel they owe you a favor, they’re more likely to comply whether they like you or not. They’ll feel an obligation to repay you.”
So, whatever your product or service is, reach out to influencers and offer it to them for free. If they ask you if there’s anything that they can do for you in return (and they likely will), simply ask them if they could wear, mention, feature, or share information about on of your your products on their social media accounts.
Wear their shoes
One of the most useful keys on the marketing keychain is the key of empathy. By putting yourself in other people’s shoes—you can understand them so much better. This also allows you to take a more comprehensive approach to incentivizing people to take a desired action.
If you want to convince an influencer to promote your product—ask yourself, “If I was this person, what would move me to promote this product?”
In his book, One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following In 30 Days, author and social media marketing expert Brendan Kane, writes, "Once you’ve selected the people who you want to create an alliance with; put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about what you’d like to receive.”
Regardless of how big an influencer is on social media, everyone has something that you may be able to provide that could help make their lives better. As Kane said, “Even if someone seems way above your level of influence, you probably still have something useful to offer. Think about what makes you unique.”
If you’ve noticed, the bulk of this article has been about philosophy and psychology. That’s because as marketers, our job is to analyze human behaviors and test our theories in hopes of achieving a desired action from other human beings. And psychology is a great way of understanding what makes people tick.
So, with that being said—another one of the things that makes people tick is having affinity towards people that are like them. The reason for that is because psychologically, we assume that people that are similar to us—are more likely to like us. And since man is a social animal, man yearns to be liked.
The way you can utilize psychology in your brand’s favor is by simply reaching out to influencers that you identify as having a similar personality or a commonality of interest as yourself, and sparking and partaking in conversations with them around that interest.
Think about it, have you ever gone to a sporting event where your team won a close game? You probably high-fived and hugged every stranger in your vicinity as long as they were wearing your team’s colors. That’s because sports brings people together through tribalism. And tribalism is a part of being in the herd.
Social media influencers are no different than you are. They’re part of the tribe. And even if they’re the ones that appear to be leading it—they still have a need for attention and to be liked.
In the best-selling book, This Is Marketing, author and marketing guru Seth Godin, perfectly articulated tribalism in regards to marketing when he stated, “Your opportunity as a marketer is the chance to connect the members of the tribe. They’re lonely and disconnected, they fear being unseen, and you—as the agent of change, can make a connection happen.”
You can make the connection happen by reaching out to like-minded influencers and simply befriending them. And good friendships are always mutually beneficial.
Despite what many other marketers believe, my sentiments are that social media influencers are very valuable to a brand. That’s because they’re the ones that gather the herd digitally. And that’s a very tough thing to do. Your job as a marketer is to utilize their leadership by directing them to take a desired action. Which in turn, will direct the herd.
Here’s one last gem on psychology from the book, Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion. Dr. Robert Cialdini says that a great way to get someone to comply with a request is to, “Isolate one individual from the crowd and tell them what you need. Be precise as possible. Do not allow bystanders to come to their own conclusions. Pick out one person to assign compliance with a request.”
So, take Dr. Cialdini’s advice and pick out an influencer from the herd and make your request for them to promote your products. But of course, make sure that your request is mutually beneficial.