Influencer marketing is a fairly new concept but it has definitely revolutionized the world of marketing- [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]67% of marketers actively use influencers to promote their content, and 75% claim they have actively put aside money influencer marketing, as a part of their brand strategy.[/perfectpullquote]
So, clearly people are sold on the idea of influencer marketing, but before you jump on board, there are a few pesky strategic questions you might have. For one- what the hell is influencer marketing? Secondly, how on earth do you adapt it to your business?
What is influencer marketing?
What is influencer marketing? Simply put, is using a person who already has access to your customers (mostly through social media channels) to market your product. This way, you don’t have to build a rapport with your customers for your brand- because you’ll be using a person who has already established a solid relationship with them.
Once you’ve established a connection with this influencer- they will use the content you have given, or co-create content with you. They will post podcasts, videos, reviews, or photos of your brand, so that their followers can engage further.
Influencers have burst into the scene quite magnificently in the past few years- especially on sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and they have made tidal changes to the world of marketing: 92% consumers read online reviews frequently: out of this, 90% would trust reviews online as much as they would trust a friend’s recommendation. According to a study by Twitter, 40% of their users reported having purchased something because of a Tweet by an influencer (and Twitter is one of the lesser popular platforms for Influencers- so you can imagine how much of a reach Instagram influencer marketing would have). The best part?
Every $1 spent by a marketer on influencer marketing is met with $6.50 of sales for the business!
As Todd Cameron, the Head of content at Tapinfluence says “Influencer marketing is…real people talking to real people. If you look back, consumers have really only had a voice for about the last 10 years. As that happened, people started to talk about things they were passionate about, building audiences and providing real valuable content to people.”
Sounds lucrative, right? Of course it is- provided you do it right. And don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through the process, step by step.
1. Is influencer marketing right for my business?
We know the pain.
We really do.
People keep changing- what they want keeps changing, and sometimes, being a marketer can feel a little bit like being Sisyphus- you’re pushing a boulder uphill forever and ever.
So when there’s a new trend in town- it’s definitely one you should opt for, right? After all, who wants to be left off the bandwagon?
But here’s the deal: depending on the industry you’re in maybe it is good to be left off the bandwagon. Influencer marketing can have a tangible impact on your sales and business, but only if it is right for your business.
There’s no strict guideline about which industries should use influencer marketing, but in a broad sense, some industries have seen more success: for example:
- Fashion and Beauty
- Travel and Leisure
- Luxury Products
- Consumer products (like clothing, food/beverages)
- DIY and crafts
Whether you’re on this list or not, there are certain questions you can ask yourself to find out if it is worth it for you to spend as much time and effort into influencer marketing.
- Do you have an online presence for your organization already- do you have an app, or an online fanbase, active social media presence, a blog?
- Are there reviewers and other experts in the field who use platforms such as social media networks, blogs, podcasts, etc. to talk about the industry?
- Are you looking for increased press coverage about your company, or looking to drive sales for a particular event or product?
If your answer is yes to at least one of the questions, a strong influencer marketing strategy will definitely be able to propel your company forward.
But before we take this forward, let’s answer a few more questions, just to see how far influencer marketing can take you, in this competitive world.
What are the goals I’m aiming for?
Answer this: what are you hoping to achieve out of influencer marketing for your company?
- Is it an increase in direct sales, so you can boost your revenue?
- Is it increased traffic to your website, so your overall organic sales improve over a period of time?
- Is it a higher ROI on your advertisement budget?
- Is it an improvement in brand equity, image, and press coverage?
This is definitely the first step towards determining how useful influencer marketing will be for you, and how you can leverage it, so we can’t emphasize enough on the importance of this step!
Who is my target audience?
Who are you trying to influence? Social media is vast- but certain audiences follow certain influencers, and to find the right influencer market, you need to identify who exactly your target audience would be! You would not try to appeal to Gen Z by using Kid Rock, after all!
You would have identified the target audience for your business/specific products or services, so you can definitely stick to that. If your target base is wide- don’t worry. Think about what is it that differentiates your product for different segments of this target base, and use a wider variety of influencers to reach your goals.
2. Creating an influencer marketing strategy
Now that you’ve gotten your goals down pat, we can move on to the next stage: strategy. You know about your goals, and your target audience: the next step is to figure out how to reach to the people you want, in order to get to your goal.
Which influencers should I work with?
First thing you need to be clear on: you can work with as many influencers as you like, so don’t try to restrict yourself to one. But don’t pick several influencers who all appeal to the exact same market: then it will look like an obvious advertisement (you have to remember that influencer marketing appeals to the newer generation, where 92% of the people would rather take personal recommendations, than rely on brands). If you push your brand too much, you’re losing out on the very USP of influencer marketing.
So, your job, now, is to identify a set of influencers (not too many, not too few), who can help you propel your brand worth. Who can these be?
- Celebrity influencers
Social media celebrities (of local or international fame) have their own set of dedicated followers, and will be a good catch for your marketing strategy. This could be regular celebrities with an active social media presence, or those who have gained popularity purely for their social presence.
- Content Creators
Who are the people who write a lot about your industry? It could be bloggers, contributors to magazines, reviewers, or more. These content creators would have been on the field for a while, and would have amassed a set of followers that have gotten to know their brand and preferences quite well, so they’ll be ideal for direct conversions for your brand.
If you’re trying to use this to improve your brand image and get your name out, you should definitely consider using promoters, who will be able to draw the kind of attention you’re looking for. Many promoters are actively on the look out for the next best thing, so they will be able to get the word out about your brand/service/product, with little collaboration!
- Brand ambassadors and advocates
Who are the people who have already reviewed your brand online (even without asking you to)? These could be bloggers, people on review sites, people posting social media posts, or more. Pay attention to those who mention you online, do a quick check of their social media follower count, and invite them to create content with you! These are natural brand ambassadors, so the collaboration would be organic, appealing to a larger set of people.
How do I find these influencers?
- Survey your customers/target audience. Who are they following? Who are they most influenced by?
- Ask your colleagues and employees: especially those who are engaged online. Who are the people who’re popular within the industry?
- Use search engines: Google can definitely help you identify influencers, particularly those who cater to the audience you’re targeting.
- Ask for referrals from influencers you already know- they might be able to point you in a lucrative direction.
- If you’ve done an online/digital campaign before, or used influencer marketing itself, track the leads from there: as you may have created some buzz about your brand that influencers might have engaged with (maybe they retweeted an article, or commented about a review).
Remember: when you’re trying to find an influencer, also think about why they would want to work with your brand. This is a two-way street after all, and you’ll have to offer something in return. This could be increased traffic to their account or site, or support on any future projects they’re working on related to your brand, or even establishing backlinks to their site, to increase their organic reach.
What platforms should you use?
We’ll be frank: the kind of influencer marketing platform you’re using for influencer marketing might depend on the influencer you’ve chosen, because they might already have a primary platform they’re dominant on (a Youtuber would have a solid Instagram presence, but most of their pizzazz would be saved for Youtube, for example). However, when developing your content strategy with the influencer, you can determine a more cross-platform strategy, depending on what sites and apps your target audience tends to use more.
If it’s a service, Youtube is still highly recommended, whereas for brand image and product sales, Instagram (especially with the feature where you can swipe up on a Story to get to a website), or Snapchat, might be a better fit.
A solid content development and distribution strategy
This is when we move on to the actual crux of the matter: what exactly are the influencers going to share? Is it going to be an image, or a review post, or a video? It could also be a combination of these. However, in order to make sure that the ROI on your investment on the influencer marketing is efficient, you have to ensure there is a content strategy and calendar in place. Why?
- It will make it clear exactly what you have to do, and what the influencer have to do, and this kind of clarity can go a long way in establishing trust.
- This will be handy in determining a longer connection with the influencer, where they post about your brand in a staggered fashion, over a period of time.
- You’ll be able to make sure that there is constant buzz about your brand- especially around the times you have planned a product or service release.
This step will be highly personalized, depending on your brand’s USP and what the influencer is themselves known for.