Special guest post about Influencers and Authors by Matt Aird, CMO at Koru House Media

They’re the modern-day celebrities. They’re internet stars who have built loyal followings around every niche imaginable. They’re influencers, and you if you’re an indie author, you need to start working with them.

There has been a monumental shift in the media landscape away from the traditional avenues of TV, print, and radio. I doubt there are many people alive today that would argue this point of view. All you have to do is look at the trend in time spent watching TV shows and compare that to the time people now spend on social media networks.

So as an author how does this affect me? Well, it comes back to the concept of marketing and promotion. If I was to offer you the choice between a book review on the leading prime time news show in America or the chance for a review from the top bookstagramer in your genre which would you choose? I’ll get back to this in a minute.

What a lot of people fail to grasp is that this transition away from traditional media has created an entirely new set of celebrities. And therefore, an entirely new set of people capable of promoting products effectively. It’s an age old truth. Celebrities sell. Sit down during prime time TV in any country, and you’ll see famous faces promoting products, whether it’s L’Oreal and their latest cover girl or Wheaties and the athlete of the moment, celebrities sell products. Why? Because people trust them and put weight in their opinions. We can’t help but strive to be like those we elevate to the level of celebrity. None of that has changed.

There’s new celebrities in town and they’re on social media, not TV.

Social media channels have democratized fame. There is no longer a requirement for people to appeal to the mainstream or the masses to become famous. Anyone can create their own tv show, newspaper, magazine or radio show using the internet and social media. What this creates is an opportunity for like minded people to cluster together in groups. Are you a fan of makeup, beauty and skincare routines? You can follow Zoella on Youtube along with 12,000,000 other people. Interested in healthy eating and the benefits of a raw food diet? Why not follow FullyRawKristina along with 900,000 other people.Or perhaps you’re expecting a child and want to know how to keep yourself and your baby healthy through your pregnancy Hailey Paige has you covered along with 80,000 other people.

These are significant targeted followings that would at best be marginal products if they were restricted to traditional media channels.

It’s no different in the literary world. We have Sasha Alsberg with 350,000 followers we have Librarycutie with 83,000 followers and we have Eviebookish with 70,000 followers, the list goes on and on and on. All of these followings are built predominantly through social media, and all of them have large, engaged fan bases hanging off their every word.

The beauty of this marketing channel is that influencers have laser-targeted audiences whereas traditional media pulls from such wide demographic and interest areas.  Let’s go back to our earlier question and do some math.

Let’s say 1,000,000 people, tune into prime-time news. Of those 1,000,000 people, 45% of them will read more than five books per year according to Pew Research.

Let’s say you write Romance and 20% of that 45% actually read your genre.

That leaves a total viewership that could potentially be considered your target audience at 90,000 people.

Therefore the impact influencers can have on book sales, and an author’s platform is immense.

So Influencers are effective but how do I find them?

To find influencers all you need is an internet connection, social media profiles and little effort. There are two types of influencers you’ll want to target. 1) authors that have the same target audience as you and 2) book reviewers/bloggers/bookstagramers that post about books within your genre.

To find these people you can run a search on either your Twitter or Instagram profile for the following hashtags:

  • #bookblogger
  • #books
  • #bookstagram
  • #amwriting
  • #amediting
  • #amwriting(insert genre i.e #amwritingromance)
  • #bookreview

When you run these searches you want to identify the following things:

  1. The person is posting/talking about books within your genre
  2. They have a follower base of at least 2,000 people
  3. They have high levels of engagement on their posts (at least 2% engagement rate meaning a blogger with 10,000 followers should get 200 interactions per post)

Once you confirm that the influencer ticks all of these boxes, follow them and then put their details in a spreadsheet for easy reference later. This will allow you to access their contact details when you need them.

The synergistic relationship between content and exposure

If an author’s lifeblood is exposure, an influencer’s is content. They need lots of it to keep their audiences engaged. This relationship is perfect for indie-authors. All you have to do is provide the influencer with content that they can then pass on to their audience. This content could be a book to review and take photos of, a short story they can giveaway, a gift/parcel that they can show off to their followers. Anything that is going to make their job of content creation easier. When you’re considering what to send the influencer have a look at their previous posts, find out what has worked well for them in the past, and see if you can replicate it or even improve on it.

It may not happen overnight, but it will happen

Influencer marketing is here to stay. The indie authors that start to develop relationships with influencers now will stand to benefit significantly in years to come. That’s because the increasing importance of social media is not going away anytime soon. This medium, and the influencers who dominate it will be the celebrities of the future.

Matt Aird is the CMO of Koru House Media, a digital agency focused on helping self-published authors achieve success through better marketing. Access more of their free book marketing resources here.