Influencer Marketing has become one of the most buzzed about terms in the industry, in recent years. So what exactly is influencer marketing? In a nutshell, it’s focusing some of your marketing and promotional activities around key individuals who have significant influence over potential buyers. In other words, it is more or less “word of mouth” marketing and it’s really not that different from what public relations practitioners have been doing for years in cultivating relationships with key industry opinion leaders for earned media purposes.
However, the concept has become more ubiquitous in recent years in large part due to the internet and specifically, social media. The popularity of social media and by extension specific individual social media accounts has created a renewed interest and importance on the power of influencers. And the reality is there are really no downsides to implementing an effective influencer marketing strategy into your business plans as the benefits are numerous. Here are just a few of these benefits.
- High ROI – According to a study conducted by Nielsen Catalina Solutions in conjunction with TapInfluence, Influencer Marketing can, in some cases, yield 16x higher ROI than an average digital marketing campaign.
- Increased Trust & Credibility – Much like the use of thought leaders, the use of the right influencers can increase your credibility to your target audience, as well as increase their trust in your brand.
- Increased Brand Awareness – This is obvious of course but still needs to be stressed that the successful implementation of influencer marketing increases your brand awareness, which of course can lead to an increase in leads, sales and ultimately your business bottom line.
- Expand Brand Reach – Influencer Marketing also affords the opportunity to expand your brand reach, sometimes to an audience you may not have even previously been aware of.
- Improve SEO – It’s very simple really. A sound influencer marketing strategy means greater opportunities and avenues for your brand to be mentioned and referenced on various platforms and online locations, which also means greater opportunities for showing up in organic search results.
- Save Money – The return on investment, in some cases, from an effective influencer marketing strategy is far greater than the use of paid advertising and of course, a lot cheaper. According to a study from MDG Advertising, 70 percent of consumers want to learn about products through content as opposed to traditional advertising methods.
Of course, an effective influencer marketing strategy requires taking smart and specific steps. Here are a few tips for developing an effective influencer marketing strategy.
- Define Goals & Objectives – It can never be stated enough. You should always have a road map for whatever type of campaign or project your business is implementing, which means there should also be clearly defined goals and objectives.
- Define Your Audience – Along with defined goals and objectives, there must also be a clear identification of your audience and their needs.
- Categorize Different Influencers – As with most things, there are different types and categories of influencers. SmartInsights have identified ten and they all came with their unique voice and influence. To develop an effective influencer marketing strategy it is imperative to identify which type of influencer or influencers would be most appropriate and valuable for your brand.
- Build Influencer Relationships Organically – Most people do not take too kindly to feeling like they are being used – more importantly that someone only interacts with them because of what they can get out of them. And influencers are no different. Of course, there are some influencers who don’t really care, especially if they are being paid but typically, most influencers are put off by a request to promote a brand when they have had no previous interaction at all with the company. It’s best to start by building relationships with influencers, not unlike relationship building with your target audience. This will significantly increase the credibility and genuineness of said influencer promoting your brand.
- Consider More Than Just Follower Count – Yes, of course, an influencer’s follower count is important. It does suggest the power of their reach and more importantly, their voice. That being said, we know that follower counts don’t always accurately tell the tale. After all, followers can be bought and manipulated in other ways. Therefore, it is important to consider other factors such as an influencer’s engagement rate. How many comments are they getting for their posts, how many re-tweets, likes, etc? That is a far more accurate measure of just influential they are.