What is Influencer Marketing?
You may have heard of influencer marketing and its increasing popularity, but what is it, and will it be of benefit to your brand and/or your SME business?
Influencer Marketing defined
Put simply, influencer marketing is a type of marketing which focuses on utilising key leaders to drive your message to a wider market. So, rather than marketing directly to your target audience, you instead collaborate, inspire, hire, pay influencers with the same target audience to get the word out there for you.
An influencers influence can stem from their expertise, their popularity or their reputation. While similar to word-of-mouth marketing, influencer marketing doesn’t rely strictly on explicit recommendations. For example, having a celebrity (often highly visible, highly social and highly respected) to wear your product and send out images via social media platforms provides you with exposure and the respect that accompanies a ‘celebrity endorsement’.
But think further afield than celebrities (they may not be the right fit for your target audience anyway). Bloggers are often important influencers seen as more authentic and with a loyal following. Blogger recommendations are often deemed more trustworthy than traditional advertising and you can avoid much of the scepticism and cynicism that comes with more traditional marketing messages.
Influencer marketing offers a unique marketing opportunity since it must appeal to the needs of the influencer rather than your customers. You will need to create a relationship of open communication and mutual respect to ensure that the collaborate is successful. You may need to provide them access to a not-yet-released product or have them as your guest at events. Each influencer marketing relationship is different so ensure you have a clear strategy before engaging an influencer, especially if you are paying; in money or product.
Influencer marketing is not a controlled as traditional marketing. Consider what make happen to your brand or your business if your influencer runs foul of public sentiment or has problems with the law. And, you must be prepared for the instance that the influencer misrepresents your brand/product, doesn’t like your product, or rejects your product.
Some effective influencer marketing strategies
Identify the most relevant influencers -this could be based on geography, industry, demographics or a combination of factors.
Form a relationship with influencers – develop a relationship before asking them to advocate for your product or business. It’s nicer and it’s a great way to determine if they would be a good fit.
Determine your influencer’s preferences -provide content and marketing material to your influencer in the format that best suits them and their audience – it could be audio, video, print or a combination of formats.
Ensure content is easy to access – influencers are much more likely to share content if it’s easy for them to do so. Make it easy for them to integrate your content into their blogs, websites and social media offering.
Stick to the rules – depending on where you are there are disclosure regulations you may need to adhere to.
Top 10 reasons that influencer marketing is growing in popularity and effectiveness
- It’s social
- It’s powerful
- It’s sexy
- Everyone is talking about it
- It’s an arbitrage
- Prices are rising fast
- Audiences have tired of paid advertising
- It’s native advertising
- It’s good for SEO
- It’s targetable and trackable
But a word of warning; be careful who you engage to both undertake your influencer marketing strategy and to be your influencer/s. Sadly, as influencer marketing has increased in popularity and become a viable, sustainable income stream the fakes and scammers have crawled out of the woodwork. Ensure that those you work with are real and the possible outcomes are sustainable, achievable, measurable and timely. The last thing you want is to engage an ‘influencer’ that who’s outcomes are based on bots.
Ready to learn more, or get started on creating an influencer marketing strategy for your business? Just sing out at firstname.lastname@example.org.