Influencer marketing is a relatively new term for one of the oldest marketing tactics in the world. In simple terms, you are leveraging the influence of someone else that has already gained a positive reputation within your niche to recommend your products.
Have you ever seen a celebrity advertising a particular brand of shampoo? Or perhaps you have bought an individual drink because it was endorsed by your favorite baseball player. That is the essence of influencer marketing, but don’t worry, you can still utilize it within your business, even if you don’t have a huge pot of cash to pay for a celebrity endorsement.
As with all things in marketing, your job is to come up with a twist or an idea that intrigues and interests the person with the influence. Finding a way to motivate them to endorse your brand can be a challenge, but it is far from impossible.
What are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?
Brad Paisley may be one of the best guitar players in the world today. He has millions of fans worldwide, who listen to his songs, and in the vast majority of cases will look to him when it comes to certain subjects. If he was to exclusively use a specific brand of guitar, there is a high probability that a lot of his fans would be more likely to purchase that same brand if they were buying a guitar. That is the sort of influence the right person can generate with relatively little effort. Don’t worry though, not all influencers are world famous music or sports stars, so how do you identify an influencer in your niche?
Finding the Perfect Influencer
Since the advent of social media, it is now a lot easier to identify and eventually make contact with the person whose influence you want to take advantage of. You can easily visit any one’s social media pages, and gain a lot of information about them very quickly. There are three key things you need to take into consideration –
- Credibility within your niche – Let’s imagine you are a small business that designs clothes. The ideal person for your marketing push would be someone who maybe has a significant following on social media, whose sole focus is on fashion, and whose fashion ideas and concepts blend with yours. It is reasonable to assume that if that person is very forceful in their thoughts and style choices, individuals who follow them will be of a similar viewpoint. If they have 10,000 followers, and they recommend a product made by you on their blog, for instance, then how many of their fans are likely to at least visit your site, or look at your products online? Your first challenge is to identify the correct persons of influence in your niche.
- Which platform will the influencer be on? Check Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram using your industry keywords, as they will typically feature more influencers than any other social media network. If your niche is better suited to video, then you may need a YouTube blogger. For fashion, perhaps someone with a large Instagram following may be the better option to develop a cult following. By investing time and research, you are identifying your target market, and increasing the likelihood of a successful campaign.
- How good is their reach? – The number of followers a person has on social media might seem like the perfect metric to help you decide on the influence that person wields. But as with most things in life, quality is much more important than quantity. Look at those followers in detail, are they real fans, or just robots? Many followers on the social media platform Twitter, for instance, might be following 3000 people, and only have a handful of followers themselves. Can anyone follow that amount of people and give them the focus and attention you are looking for?
- Do they enjoy high levels of user engagement? – This is perhaps the most important of all the factors you should consider. The best way to check whether the audience is legitimate is whether they are actually engaging with the influencer, as opposed to a series of automated responses. The best person for you to target will ask questions and respond to their followers, understanding their subject matter and how to get people more excited.
- Are they knowledgeable? There is no point in getting an influencer for show- they need to actually believe and comprehend the lessons they preach. Benchmark the influencer’s content with other, similar influencers. Is his content as strong?
Your aim should be to identify a person in your niche, who has a lot of genuine, enthusiastic followers. Those followers need to be real people, not fake followers, and the person needs to engage with them regularly. This might seem quite complicated, but the results will quickly make all the effort seem worthwhile.
How to get Your Influencer to Participate
Now that you have identified the right person, the next step is to convince them to help you. Always highlight the benefit for both sides. For the influencer, he can be compensated with money, a free product, or even more publicity. For the brand, it can be a more value-based approach to marketing than advertising or email campaigns.
The final step, the holy grail, is to find an influencer who genuinely loves your product. They are much more likely to be happy to help, their enthusiasm, passion, and belief in the product will shine through, and that kind of endorsement is priceless.
Each influencer will have to be dealt with on an individual basis, and only you can decide how valuable their influence would be to your brand.
Influencer marketing is not a guarantee of success, but when executed properly it can have a hugely positive effect on your brand awareness and sales. The crucial aspect is to identify the right people for the job, that actually have the influence you desperately need.
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