Marketing trends are now leaning towards Influencer Marketing. This is forming a strategic partnership with an individual, who appeals to your target market and who has a strong digital following that they can engage with, to promote your product or services. They may have tens of thousands of social media followers, a YouTube channel with hundreds of daily views, or maybe a hugely popular blog, which gets thousands of hits each week.
It is challenging to persuade consumers to make a purchasing decision. Generally consumers already have a lot, and want for very little – they tend to stick to what they know. In a world where society and perceived company and product success revolves around social media and having an online presence, consumers are steering away from more traditional methods of decision making and instead are relying on the experiences of social media stars who openly share their opinions of products or services online (think YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook).
Even though we don’t know these people personally, we feel a connection to them as they live their lives so openly through their social media accounts, and we see them every single day. This means we trust their opinions about a product and value their advice, and consider it to be genuine.
Traditional marketing and advertising methods such as print or billboard advertising can come at a significant cost, for what can be very little return on investment. They often have to be planned weeks or even months in advance, which allow no room for changing campaign content in line with current trends if required.
In light of this, it comes as no surprise that 94% of marketers would agree that influencer marketing is an effective campaign strategy and one that is significantly growing in popularity.
Word-of-mouth has always been the most successful form of referral. A potential customer is more likely to take the word of someone they know and trust, who has used a product themselves rather than relying on the ‘too good to be true’ reviews coming straight from the brand itself. Influencers generally reach thousands at a time via word-of-mouth, so it is no surprise that many businesses are willing to jump on the influencer marketing bandwagon.
Influencers can be anyone who has a strong following. Many are literally social media famous, because they are influencers. But even then, they must have more than just an impressive audience to have what it takes to drive people to make a purchasing decision.
When considering an influencer to promote your brand or product, you have to be able to say that yes; they align with your brand and strongly appeal to the same demographic – finding this person can take a considerable amount of time and research.
Their strong following needs to be combined with:
Authenticity & Reputation – Look at their past posts, do they align with your brand and your brands values, do you want these sort of posts being associated with and representing your brand? By engaging in an influencer to market your product or services, you are putting some of your perceived reputation in their hands; their followers have to believe they are promoting your product because they genuinely believe in it.
Relevance – Looking at their content, are their interests clearly in line with the product or service they are promoting for you? If not, then it may be hard to believe and appear random and irrelevant in their feed.
Frequency & Engagement – The level of engagement an influencer has with their followers can tell you how meaningful their relationship is and how loyal their followers are likely to be, and likely to take on board their opinions. Take note of how often they are responding to comments, or commenting on other posts. They need to post frequently and consistently to stay at the forefront of their followers mind and maintain their relationships with them.
Research those you think suit your brand. If your brand is food orientated for example, you want someone who clearly enjoys food, or cooks often; maybe they have a cooking blog, or social media accounts full of colourful plates of food.
Reach out to them online, through their LinkedIn, Social Media Accounts, or their email if it is in their bio, for example. Let them know about your product, and what you can offer them, as well as why you think they would make an ideal influencer for your brand. Make sure you value their time, they probably are inundated with similar messages daily, so try not to sound robotic or like you’re trying to sell them something, keep it short and simple!
So if you are considering jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon, then it’s definitely an on trend strategy that may be worth considering, as long as you take into account your objectives and align with an influencer that is meaningful and relevant to your brand. As with all marketing, it’s not a one-size fits all approach and what may be hugely successful for one business, might not work so well for another, but you don’t know until you try, and if you’ve been thinking about changing your marketing strategies, then maybe now is the time to consider influencer marketing.