Influencer marketing is one of those terms that has really taken off in the marketing world. It has become a crucial element of many digital marketing strategies. Influence marketing involves identifying and working with individuals who have the potential to influence your target market.
Who is an influencer?
Who should you be trusting and even paying to promote your brand? Essentially, influencers are people that have the potential to reach people in your target market through their own channels such as social media.
There are two main types of influencers; earned and paid. Earned influencers are people of influence who promote your brand or product because they have a genuine affiliation with it. They may be customers who have purchased your product, brand ambassadors you have sent a free sample or discount to, or simply someone who has taken an interest in your brand or product and mentioned something about it. Your brand has done something right in these influencers eyes. Why else are personally promoting your product without monetary incentive?
Paid influencers, on the other hand, are usually people with large followings. They have a particular influence or authority in the industry or an extremely strong relationship with their followers. As a general rule, influence can be calculated as: Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers. Whilst celebrities and people with huge followings may seem like an obvious choice for influencer marketing, you must not forget who your target market is. Are they even interested in the same things as a celebrity influencer? It is imperative to ensure that you chose influencers that make sense and are actually going to provide you with a return on your investment.
What does influencer marketing entail?
Once you have tracked down suitable influencers for your brand, influence marketing sees them promote your brand. Where you would normally focus your own marketing directly to a large group of specific consumers, the influencers spread the word for you.
Consumers, now more than ever, are dismissive of obvious and mainstream advertising and marketing campaigns. They can spot them a mile away. Think about how many people have ad block installed on their computers. However, these consumers, especially millennials, put high amounts of trust into influencers. They go to them for inspirations, advice and reviews. They want to know every little detail about their lives, including what brands they are using.
When is influencer marketing the best solution?
Influence marketing works best when it is a natural and organic progression. The aim of the game is to seamlessly and subtly weave your brand into these influencers lives. This way it genuinely looks like they are your brands biggest fan, whether they are being paid to be or not. When you can afford the time and money to invest in finding and collaborating with appropriate influencers, it can be an incredibly rewarding way to cut through the noise and stand out from your competitors.
Where to use influencers
Influencer marketing is largely carried out on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube & Twitter are the most common places for influencer marketing. It is also a huge part of blogging. Paid influencers in particular, will use their own blogs or feature as guest bloggers to promote brands. Blogging and YouTube are effective platforms as the influencer can provide more extensive details, opinions and reviews. Whilst platforms such as Instagram and Facebook allow them to more seamlessly inject the brands into their own personal brand, or profile. These are extremely common platforms for both earned and paid influencers.
Where to find influencers
The best way to find influencers is to look for them. Who is naturally talking about your brand or industry. Research hashtags, social mentions, blog topics, active talkers and keywords that identify your brand or industry. It??s all about research. The more careful you are with your research; the better return on investment (ROI) you are likely to receive from your influencer marketing.
Why use influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is an extension on the age old technique?? word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth has always and will always play a huge role in the purchasing process. Influencer marketing allows customers to make decisions based on people who they genuinely believe in. In the increasingly digital world, consumers are smarter than ever. They expect brands to talk to them and entertain them rather than sell to them. Influencer marketing gives brands the opportunity to do just this whilst expanding their reach and ROI.