The world of marketing is as intricate as it is exciting. As marketers, we may have unknowingly or knowingly heard of the term “influencer marketing” before as it gets tossed around as the next big thing to hit this social media generation. However, not everyone knows for sure what it is and the kind of value if offers for brands and consumers. Modern advertisers have now shifted their strategies to involve the inescapable power of social media and another online medium to reach their customers. In the past, we would all be hard-pressed to trust any claims made by advertisers themselves. Nowadays, consumers can look up to other consumers to help validate their purchasing decisions. Product recommendations from friends, family members or online personalities we follow are seen as more credible than from the advertisements themselves. If you’re up to bringing a fresh spin to your marketing campaigns, you may want to consider influencer marketing to help increase your marketing ROI and overall bottom line.
What is Influencer Marketing? While influencer marketing may sound like a novel idea, it’s actually not that new. To put it into perspective, it is a new word-of-mouth marketing that uses influential people–that aren’t in any way working for the company–to be the brand’s voice to their target audience. So, instead of targeting a group of consumers directly, brands pay influencers to promote the brand message to their group of fans. As an example, the social media sphere were abuzz when Starbucks released the limited-time Unicorn Frappuccino sometime in April 2017. Whether or not people actually enjoyed this frozen beverage, it can’t be denied that their marketing campaign was extremely successful because it led to increased brand awareness and sales in the few weeks it was available in selected stores. Before the word was out about Unicorn Frappuccino, Starbucks reached out to a handful of Youtubers (popular content creators using the Youtube platform) to create and release videos about the said product during the campaign period. This influencer marketing campaign allowed Starbucks to shave off millions of dollars in advertising cost and garner a massive amount of organic social media coverage.
The Rise of Influencer Partnership According to a study by Nielsen, 83% of consumers said that they have more trust on recommendations from their family, friends or an influencer than from a traditional advertisement. This simply means that people trust the opinion of people they know versus those from a company or an advertising agency. This is the reason why the popularity of influencer marketing as a viable marketing strategy has grown over the years. While you may not have the capability to befriend millions of your target customers, you can approach an influencer with millions of followers. If your brand aligns with that of a specific influencer, you can promote your products or services to an influencer’s existing pool of fans and followers. Since outbound marketing is a slow decline as more marketers choose inbound marketing, influencer marketing has grown to become one of the top methods to attract customers. Keep in mind that customers today are different from those decades ago. Modern customers don’t solely trust recommendations based on what they hear on the TV and radio. They are more likely to listen and take inspiration from their friends and do their own research online before they purchase something.
Why Companies Use Influencer Marketing For marketers who want to diversify their marketing strategies, influencer marketing presents a practical solution to create trust and awareness with their target market. Once an influencer recommends or promotes your brand to their own fans, they somewhat become a de facto extension of your brand’s marketing team. They are responsible for producing and distributing content that aligns with your marketing campaign. In a way, this saves your company the marketing cost compared to doing it yourself or commissioning an advertising agency. Here are more reasons to love about influencer marketing:
Consumers Prefer It Travel back in time when TV, radio and print advertisements were the norm. Brands pour most of their marketing budget into this medium because back then, it was the only way they can reach out to their consumers. Then came along the digital power of the Internet and it has transformed the way we attract consumers. In this digital era, we are seeing fewer consumers relying traditional media and moving on their interactions and purchases online.
SEO Edge Influencer marketing is powerful enough to produce the right kind of results that help brands have a better reach to their target customers. It also boosts your rankings in search engines because it reinforces your brand message, increases the volume of high-quality inbound links, as well as your social reach.
Almost Everything is Social Have you noticed that many brands are now working to promote their social media profiles to their customers every chance they get? A link back to your site is not enough; nowadays, brands find it beneficial to actively engage with their customers through their social profiles. Consumers want brands to keep the conversation going. This is where influencer’s so-called ‘influence’ comes in. When partnering with the right influencer for your brand, you can extend the conversation to your target audience beyond your own territory.
Boost Sales One of the most effective techniques that drive more sales is through word-of-mouth marketing. For millennial subscribers who spent most of their time on Youtube, 40% of them said that their favourite Youtuber creator understands them better than their friends and 70% of teenage Youtube subscribers can relate more with their favorite Youtube creators more than TV personalities.
How to Find the Ideal Influencer Now that we have explained why more brands are turning to influencer marketing, it’s time to move on to the next step and find an influencer that fits the bill. It’s important to note that you might not find that many people who match the profile you’re looking in an influencer; but as long as you have set some standards or criteria, you can definitely align your marketing goals in the right direction. Here are some tips to remember when searching for influencers for your brand.
Target Audience One of the biggest blunders that most marketers commit is ONLY pursuing after popular influencers with a huge follower base. To start with, a massive audience reach is a good thing. However, it is crucial that the influencer’s followers align with your brand. As an example, if your business is into baby clothes and accessories, then tapping a mommy lifestyle blogger with 200,000 followers on Instagram can be a great match for you. So an influencer promoting a gothic fashion might look out of place, no matter if that person has more followers than the mommy blogger.
Wide Audience Reach Don’t get us wrong. Finding an influencer with the widest audience reach is still very important. This is because the wider the reach, the more people can view your product or service. A Twitter influencer with 150,000 active followers can deliver the message to more people than an influencer with 50,000 Twitter followers. However, bigger does not always translate to being better. What you should consider is the previous engagement, as the latter would help you gauge if the influencer’s audience is actively following and listening to what the influencer is promoting. While the influencer with the most followers will work hard to push your message, the content may not attract as much engagement. The key here is creating that balance between the right numbers and quality of engagement.
Beneficial Partnership Whether it’s business or personal, relationships work based on reciprocity. If your company is the only one benefitting from the partnership, there will come a time that no one will trust to do business with you anymore. To build a long-term trust and repeat partnership with influencers, it’s a must to compensate them adequately. There are different ways you can compensate influencers depending on how you value their contribution to your campaign. Paying in cash is still the preferred method for influencers to share their organic and positive reviews about your product or service. Another way to compensate them is paying them per sale, lead or engagement. Pay-per-lead follows the affiliate marketing model where influencers are paid a flat rate for every visitor that performs an action preferred by the advertiser. As for the pay-per-engagement method, influencers need to use a cost-per-engagement model that aligns with the advertiser’s objectives in the marketing campaign. Examples can include retweets on a Twitter update, a like on a Facebook post or views on a Youtube video. However, if you’re a small company or startup with a small budget for promotion, you can opt to offer influencers with free product/service or a discount in exchange for a mention on their social media profiles. This is a good way to start building a relationship with them; but over time, you may want to upgrade your compensation scheme. You can also offer them intangible compensation such as enhancing their image and credibility as a thought leader in the community–helping them grow their audience reach. By choosing any of these compensation arrangements, both you and the influencer can mutually benefit from your marketing campaign and may even lead to a sustainable influencer relationship in the future.
Organic Approach Influencer marketing involves two crucial partied–brands and influencers. Brands pay influencers to promote their product or service. In exchange, influencers post content that promotes the brand’s product or service to their own audience. This arrangement seems pretty common and straightforward, right? Yes, but the only problem here is when influencers take this partnership too far to a point when they churn out posts too frequently which could annoy and disengage their followers. Loyal followers may tolerate and even end up buying whatever the influencer is promoting but eventually, these people might wear them out–the same way with traditional advertisements. Keep in mind, most people don’t want to be sold something. They will consider something that gives them value. Make sure to work with influencers that understand the organic approach to influencer marketing and is not in a rush for a quick buck. Be choosy with the kind of people you work with.
Where to Find the Best Influencers Here are some ways you can find your next influencer:
Bloggers Most, if not all of the influencers may already operate at least one blog or website of their own. One of the best thing about reaching out to bloggers who are active on their social media platforms. To search for your target blogger, you can start by searching on Google blogs that align with your niche. Read their blog posts or view their social media updates and see whether they write or post things relevant to your topic. Once you have a list of all the bloggers you want to reach out, check their blog analytics and contact them regarding your proposal.
Social Media The loudest and most active influencer you can find is your brand advocates. They are the type of people who already love your brand and are willing to share their experience with your company to their audience. Monitor your social media mentions or any blog posts written about your brand because among them can be your next brand advocate that you didn’t know you have. Social media monitoring can pave the way to find people who are likely to promote your niche. As an example, someone may constantly post or share articles about dog food without mentioning or tagging any specific dog food brands. This could be someone who might want to push or engage your product or service to.
Hashtags Search for the hashtags that your target influencer might be using. Here at SingHost, we follow #webhosting and #Singaporehosting to see what people are posting using these hashtags. By monitoring any conversation that mentions these hashtags, we have zeroed in on people are actively engaged in this niche.
Google Alert You can customize alerts for certain keywords geared towards your topic which can help you target people who are actively creating content for your niche. Google Alerts lets you monitor for interesting content relating to your topic based specifications. These are then delivered straight to your inbox. This is a great tool to find posts that may have mentioned your company and locate brand advocates that are still untapped. Once you have a good list of influencers who might be suitable for your brand, follow and organize them in a specific Twitter list where you can bookmark and follow their posts.
Beginning of a Great Partnership By understanding the value that influence marketing has to offer for both brands and influencers, you are on way to creating an effective marketing campaign that boosts your brand awareness and ultimately, your bottom line. Now, we’d like to ask: Have you tried influencing marketing to push your product? If so, were you happy or frustrated with the outcome of this approach? We’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below.
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