People are over-saturated by advertisement these days and marketers are forced to try new ways of getting consumer attention. Influencer marketing isn’t a new idea, but it is a refreshing take on an old staples of marketing- advocacy and social proof.
Influencer marketing focuses on individuals who themselves have great influence over the buying habits of their followers, thereby creating an authoritative middleman between the company and the public. Influencers are typically experts or professionals in their field, bloggers or people on social media with strong followings.
Why Influencer Marketing?
The fact is, consumers are suspicious of claims made by businesses, and especially by the same companies trying to sell them something in an ad. The first step in any marketing strategy should be to overcome your audience’s suspicions by building trust. Influencer marketing is a superb way to build this trust, as it uses individuals who your audience already find trustworthy to talk about your product or to your company.
When people talk about influencer marketing, they’re usually referring to internet communications, since many influencers already have large followings there and content can be freely or affordably shared instantly. In real-life influencer marketing, you have to vie for print space or air time to get your message out.
Typically, influencers are used to make content which appeals to your audience and shows your product or your relationship with that influencer in a good light. The idea is to use the influencer’s existing qualities to boost your own by association.
In addition to building trust, influencer marketing can open you up to new, targeted audiences. Those who respect or follow your influencer will be more likely to find you and even share an interest in your brand once your name is attached to an authority figure.
Much of your influencer marketing strategy will be hinged on who you pick as an influencer. The right person can really boost your exposure, while the wrong influencer could flop a whole project.
Do research to see who your subscribers and followers follow, and search for keywords related to your business on social media networks and search engines. Ideal influencers have a large fanbase or popular website, have a lot of feedback from their followers and update their site regularly.
John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, is a perfect example of an ideal influencer. His professional qualifications mean he is experienced, while his extensive online network means plenty of new eyes will see your business.
You want to pick someone who closely shares your company’s values, and whose followers would be greatly interested in your products or services. It’s usually better to start with more targeted influencers whose fans are specialized, rather than choosing the person with the most followers.
It’s important to remember that whether your influencer is a CEO or a blogger, they have busy professional lives and should be approached as if they are already doing you a favor. Remember, you’re asking them to organically promote your product, so not only do they deserve compensation, but respect as well. Influencer marketing is often cheaper and quicker than traditional marketing tactics, but it requires finesse dealing with influential individuals.
Start by sending non-business related communications, like a comment on their social media post or an introduction mail. Never begin a correspondence with an influencer by “making them an offer they can’t refuse” or other hard sell tactics.
Once you have developed a relationship with the influencer, you are more likely to be successful in gaining their endorsement and earning their content. Here are some examples of content ideas (it helps to already have an idea or even a draft of the content you’d like the influencer to use):
- Blog posts
- Content exchanges
- Photos or video of the influencer using or trying the product
- Guest spots
Discuss compensation early so the influencer knows your respect their time.
Engaging Your Audience
Your customers want to trust you, but sometimes you have to help build that trust with the voices of other people. Influencer marketing is just one way you can engage your audience and build more customers of your own.