When it comes to digital strategies, one term that you’ll hear again and again is influencer marketing. Sometimes referred to as influence marketing, it’s often thought of as the secret sauce to brand success, yet many aren’t sure what it is exactly or why it matters. To understand the ins and outs of this trend, we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know.
Influencer Marketing Overview
Many marketers confuse celebrity endorsements with influencer marketing. Real influencers are experts, figures of authority, and thought leaders. Although some celebrities definitely fit into that category, that’s not what influencer marketing is about. Celebrities are more often about fame, while influencers and thought leaders are all about knowledge, experience and authenticity. This approach is really all about harnessing word-of-mouth endorsements by someone in your niche or industry to talk about your brand.
Why Influencers Are Significant
You may be wondering if integrating an industry influencer into your marketing strategy is right for you. Begin by looking at your current audiences and target audiences to understand what messaging matters to them, where and how they are spending their time online and invest your resources accordingly. The trend toward mobile, social strategies has steadily been on the rise for years and influencer marketing will likely continue to be a part of that momentum.
Today, audiences demand to be informed, engaged and moved by the organizations they support and brands they love and in response, organizations and brands are competing for the best customers often with limited bandwidth and/or resources. For that reason, social media influencers should be seriously considered to drive traffic to events, raise awareness of causes and bring new eyes to your content. When influencers understand their audiences they can practically guarantee high levels of engagement at often scalable pricing.
Building Trust One Influencer at a Time
Research shows that reviews matter to the extent that have become an integral component of Google’s online search algorithm, with organizations, brands and establishments of all kinds ranked accordingly. The value of trust and authenticity is an important aspect to influencer marketing due to its strong effect on audiences to legitimize your mission in a unique way.
Locating Your Perfect Influencer
A solid influencer is typically one that is very active on social media, has high levels of engagement and almost always generates their own traffic through content such as blogs, vlogs, podcasts, or a mix of everything. Relevant content cultivates followers, validates their authority and builds trust.
With a fairly good understanding of what your ideal influencer is, the next step is to find one! As you may have guessed, any social media platform is a great place to start. You can begin by looking to see if your brand has been mentioned by doing a simple audit. Explore what hashtags are being used. What topics are being discussed? Once you have found your ideal influencer, follow them and engage with them. From there, ask to offer them a product sample or propose content for a feature. Remember to slowly build a relationship with influencers before simply asking for them to try your product or become familiar with your brand. That will come, but with time.
Making Influencer Marketing Work for You
Although influencer marketing is still fairly new, hopefully this quick guide helped to clear up any questions you may have had on the subject. As you begin to integrate influencer thinking into your overall marketing mix consider the story you want your influencer to tell about your brand or mission, why its important and the value it brings to the community. The best results are often a result of equal parts careful planning, tough questions, a collaborative spirit and a mutually beneficial partnership.