Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram and noticed that some of the accounts you follow are suddenly talking non-stop about brands like smartwater, Sperry shoes, and H&M?
This is an example of influencer marketing (IM)! You’ve probably heard of IM before, but you might not be aware of all the ways this newer form of marketing can positively impact your business.
Who are Influencers, and What Exactly is Influencer Marketing?
IM is a hybrid of older and newer marketing approaches. It takes the idea of the celebrity endorsement (a method that’s been around for decades) and meshes it with a content-driven marketing campaign. Unlike celebrities, influencers are more “real” – they’re average people who have done an excellent job building a large social media audience and have figured out how to capitalize on its benefits. A few examples of influencers include fashion bloggers, professional chefs, and respected marketing executives. While these segments are obviously different, they have something in common – they have found their niche, they’ve grown a large following, and they’re influential without having reached “celebrity” status.
IM takes the trusted voice of the influencer and uses their impact to reach a larger market.
What is the Advantage of IM?
Let’s say you follow a popular food blogger on Instagram. You’ve made a conscientious choice to follow her because you enjoy her content, you regularly engage with her account, and you trust what she has to say. Then let’s say the food blogger accepts a partnership with a national spice brand. It makes sense, because the blogger consistently uses spices in her recipes. It seems natural, because a spice isn’t a random product that has nothing to do with the blogger’s brand. It works, because a blogger can easily incorporate spices into her posts without disrupting the flow of content.
When you wisely choose an influencer to represent your brand, you are basically gaining access to the target audience jackpot. In this example, the food blogger already has already curated an audience of thousands of people who are interested in her posts, want to hear what she has to say, and value her opinion. If her followers didn’t care about her content, they wouldn’t be following her in the first place!
The key here is that influencers have the power to guide a large audience with unique, honest, and believable content.
How to Get Started
- Define Your Audience – Before you can narrow down the obvious candidates, you need to evaluate which influencers actually reach your target audience. Therefore, the first step is determining your target customer! Who do you want to impact and influence with your product? Do your research and select a few influencers who are already in contact with your target audience. Then it’s time to narrow down your choices!
- Meet Your Match – In order to be a representative of your brand, you must select an influencer who has reach, relevance, and resonance. This means they are REACHING a sizeable audience, they post content that is RELEVANT to your brand, and their message RESONATES with your target audience.
- Grab the Opportunity – Now that you’ve selected a potential influencer, monitor their posts and study what kind of content they typically produce. If you see them posting something that you want to talk about, make your move and contact them immediately!
- Be Their Friend – Follow the influencer on their various social media channels, engage with their posts, and share their content. This builds a natural relationship…plus the influencer’s audience may notice what you’re doing, too!
- Measure the Results – Keep track of the statistics and determine if the campaign has been effective (likely, you would gather this data for a few months). If the results aren’t what you’d like to see, you can reevaluate the situation and determine your next course of action.
What Else Can IM Do?
- Increase conversions
- Boost brand awareness
- Launch a new product
- Improve SEO
Stats – How Can IM Impact Your Business?
- INFLUENCE: 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by social media
- BRAND TRUST: 81% of US online consumers trust info and advice from bloggers
- RELATABILITY: 30% consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger
- AFFORDABILITY: 87% of influencers stated that they charge less than $500 for a sponsored blog post
“Influencers offer brands the ability to amplify their messages at a relatively low cost.” – The New York Times