If you’ve been working in the digital world for a while, you’ve likely heard the term “influencer marketing.” Gaining steam as one of the hottest and most efficient forms of marketing, influencer marketing is a fantastic tool for any company looking to expand its audience or earn more site traffic. Experts in various industries consistently report this.
But what is influencer marketing, exactly, and how can you use it to boost your business?
We’re going to break that down for you today.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is an interesting form of marketing because it’s very subtle. Forbes calls influencer marketing “the gray territory between an official testimonial and a subtle product mention.”
Today, influencer marketing is a common practice, but you might not necessarily know it when you see it. The value of influencer marketing is that you almost don’t know it’s happening. It provides an intimate glimpse into the life or preferences of the influencer. People viewing these updates think to themselves, “Wow, now I know what he drinks! I’m going to drink that, too.” or “That’s how she stays in such great shape!” Then they go out and buy the product.
When done correctly, influencer marketing can be a major boon for brands in all industries, so it’s well worth exploring.
The Growth of Influencer Marketing
According to a recent Inc. survey, a whopping 84% of marketers plan to spearhead at least a single influencer marketing campaign in the coming year. The primary driver behind the growth of influencer marketing is social media. In the last several years, the popularity of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat has exploded. The behavior of consumers has also shifted and, today, more people are looking to testimonials and reviews by other customers (or, in this case, celebrities and influencers) to inform their purchasing decisions.
Today, public figures and celebrities have major impacts on how and when people decide to purchase products. Consider the screenshot of the Tim Ferriss email above, for example. Ferriss is known to his followers as a wine aficionado. He’s close friends with some of the most famous sommeliers in the world, and discusses wine frequently in his podcasts and books. So when Tim Ferriss tells his millions of followers exactly what he’s drinking that night, you can bet that many of them will go out and purchase it and that the brand he mentioned will benefit massively.
For brands, these influencer mentions can be critical. Personalities like Ferriss often cause the items they mention to sell out within a matter of days or, sometimes, hours, so it’s in a brand’s best interest to connect with influencers such as these.
4 Tips to Start Using Influencer Marketing for Your Brand
Interested in starting influencer marketing for your brand? While you might not go straight to shout-outs from Khloe Kardashian, here are a few actionable tips to help you get started:
Identify Realistic Influencers
For a new brand or small business, celebrities and famous lifestyle personalities might not be practical influencers to attempt a connection with. With this in mind, the first step is to identify realistic influencers. These might include notable residents in your physical area or local celebrities who have broad reach within your given industry.
To locate your influencers, consider who you take advice from. Is there a radio personality or blogger you like? If you’re listening to this person, that’s a good indication that your target audience is, as well. As you start to collect ideas for influencers, write them down for later reference.
Evaluate Your Portfolio
You can’t head to an influencer empty-handed and ask them to mention you or your product. Remember, influencer marketing involves the influencer attaching his or her name to your offering, so it had better be good. To enhance your chances of being mentioned by your top influencers, take a moment to build your portfolio. If you have a website, run through it and ensure that it looks great, navigates easily, and features the best of your content. Then, head to your social profiles and make sure everything on them is valuable and representative of you and your brand. Consider taking a few weeks to develop and add more relevant content if you need to. While this may seem like wasted time, it can spell the difference between a rejection and a shout-out down the road.
Provide Value to Your Influencer
Imagine this: someone walks up to you on the street and says, “Hi. Will you mention my product online? I want to take advantage of your audience, but I don’t have anything to offer you in return.” Would you say yes? Probably not!
Unfortunately, going in empty-handed is one big mistake many marketers make. For influencer marketing to work, you have to offer something to the influencer in return. With this in mind, share their blog posts, retweet their content, write a post about an influencer’s new book or product. Whatever you do, be sure you’re finding a way to return some of the value to the influencer. In addition to building a relationship, this will also make the prospect of mentioning you much more attractive.
The final step in influencer marketing is to reach out to the influencer. One great way to do this is to write an exhaustive post where you mention the influencer as a primary source, and then reach out to said influencer and tell them you’ve mentioned them, and ask if they’d be willing to share the post with their audience.
More likely than not, they’ll say “yes,” and you’ll be well on your way to collaboration. No matter what you do, be sure to always thank the influencer and continue to provide value down the road.
Influencer Marketing Made Simple
While influencer marketing can seem intimidating, these simple steps can help you incorporate it into your business without many of the pitfalls the process could otherwise entail. Remember: when you connect with the right influencers, everyone wins.
To learn more about influencer marketing and how it can benefit your company, or to connect with a team who can provide the internet marketing service you need to meet your marketing goals, contact Thrive Internet Marketing today.