“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” (Seth Godin, American author)
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing leverages the reach of a person, “influencer,” with an existing following, or sphere of influence, to support your brand and endorse your product or service. The goal of this tactic is to connect with established communities to increase awareness around your brand and grow market share as a result.
Referrals are one of the most effective marketing strategies. Think about it this way: If you have a problem and a friend tells you about a great solution for it, chances are that you’ll go buy it, right? Well, the same principle applies for influencer marketing – only at scale. When the right influencer spreads the word about your brand to their audience, there is a much higher chance that this audience will convert. This is simply because they trust the person who has introduced them to what you’re selling and they can now identify with it.
How to Find the Right Influencer for Your Brand?
Invest in someone who is aligned with your brand’s vision, mission and identity, as this person will be seen as an advocate/ally to your brand. After that, your primary goal should be finding influencers based on their subject matter and audience demographics. It is also important that they can deliver on the engagement metrics that are most important to your business.
When speaking of influencer marketing, there is a misconception that Instagram and YouTube are always the *best* platforms to run your influencer marketing campaigns. While it is true that these are very popular platforms, they are not necessarily the best for your brand at this time. A much safer strategy is to investigate who your ideal customers are and invest only in the channels where you know your audiences are the most active. By doing so, you’ll be more likely to reach the right targets, generating qualified leads and growing your audience.
Lastly, as the competition for influencer attention is growing, you’ll see a greater range of influencer levels – from high-follower elites all the way to low-follower up-and-comers. This represents many opportunities for brands to tap into micro-influencers who can cater to more specific niches and market segments. Therefore, before getting caught up on only tracking follower numbers, make sure to monitor the types of followers, the quality of the relationships and just overall engagement before deciding who’s the most qualified influencer to endorse your brand. You can use HypeAuditor or a similar service to gain insights into important statistics that will allow you to pick the correct influencer.
Once you get that down, the next step is to decide which actions and influencer campaigns you’ll pursue. From discount codes, affiliate marketing, competitions, giveaways… The sky’s the limit! The secret is knowing what works best for your audience.
Could Influencer Marketing Actually Work for My Brand?
Of course! The power that propels this type of marketing action is that today more than ever, consumers are choosing to listen to each other over brands – making word-of-mouth the most trustworthy source of recommendations. According to a Nielsen study, 68% of people have claimed to trust online opinions, placing word-of-mouth as the third most trusted source of product information. Influencers, more than anything, are conversation starters, introducing brands to their loyal followers across digital platforms.
This type of marketing channel could prove to be very fruitful, especially if your business falls in the B2C category. However, if you are still not sure how/if you should jump on the bandwagon, try taking a look to see if other brands in your industry are already running ads with influencers. You’ll probably notice that a lot of them are, and if any of them have been doing it for several months or even years – that’s a great sign, it’s working! Even if you don’t see others in your industry following this path, it does not mean that it is not worth it for you to find a highly compatible influencer and test it out.