In our previous article, we discussed how to find influencers in your industry. In this article we’re going to look at how to use Influencer marketing to boost your brand’s awareness and sales. There are many types of influencers on social media: users with large followings and voices in the industry, such as renowned writers, celebrities or business leaders, who can give your profile a significant boost. Having a single influencer endorse your company or share your content could produce an Oprah effect. In the past, companies could use their influence to convert potential consumers through paid ads or some other marketing strategy. Social networks have changed all of that, which is best evident by the recent emergence of influencer marketing.
It has been observed that people no longer turn to companies to inform them about what they want or need. They look to other people, people whose influence and expertise regarding a certain industry is valued among the users. Take for example, YouTube vloggers. They have millions of followers, their videos have hundreds of millions of views, and companies are lining up to collaborate with them. And it’s not just YouTube. It’s pretty much the same story when it comes to Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. With such power over consumer behavior, it is impossible for companies to not take this force of influence seriously. It’s evident that the focus has shifted to individuals, and people respond better to being addressed directly, as opposed to being served some marketing strategy by a faceless company. This is definitely the era of influencers.
Here are some tips to keep in mind about influencer marketing:
1) Start with what you know
First, ask coworkers at your business, and friends and family, which influencers they follow in your industry. Look for content creators who don’t just have large followings, but whose followings are engaged. That means you seek out influencers with lots of comments on their stories and social media posts, as well as social shares of their content. A celebrity influencer whose posts may reach thousands of followers is less effective than one whose post gets more comments and shares, and thus more organic reach. Also, keep in mind that people can also purchase fake followers which are almost absolutely useless. So, don’t necessarily go by the numbers.
2) Put your audience front and center
Since the ultimate goal is to convert all visitors into paying customers, it’s only logical to build your marketing strategy around them. This means you should literally focus all of your efforts into getting to know your audience first and anticipate how they would react. It will also help you figure out which influencers they would follow and the type of content they prefer. That would also include checking out appropriate blogs, articles, tweets, YouTube channels, or forums. People are more inclined to value the opinions of actual people, in this case influencers, instead of those of a company, because they are more likely to be genuine. They are independent third parties, unlike the companies trying to sell them their products.
3) Decide what type of influencer you need
Once you’ve figured out your target audience, it is time to decide what sort of influencer would best serve your campaign. There are numerous aspects to consider when doing this, such as the tone with which the influencer addresses the readers/viewers. Depending on your niche, you may need someone who’s efficient at getting them to take action, or a thought leader, or perhaps even an industry insider.Aside from choosing the niche, the topics, and the number of influencers you want to get on your side, you also need to decide on what sort of reach you are after. Is your goal to use influencer marketing to drive traffic to your website or blog, or do you want to strengthen your social media presence and increase your reach?
4) Establish a connection with the influencers
You know how many people find cold calling annoying? They often feel the same way about a cold email where you dive into what you want from someone without giving them context. The influencer might be a stranger who lives thousands of miles away, but think about commonalities you have and why you approached them. Have you been an avid fan of their blog for years? Have they recently written a review that you enjoyed reading? Is their video channel one of the most-watched ones among your coworkers? Let them know immediately why you’re a fan of their content to keep their attention. Give a clear and concrete example of how their work relates to your brand’s goals.
5) State what’s in it for them
Influencers want to provide valuable content to their followers. If your brand is off-message for their own brand, or if there’s no motivation in sharing, they won’t put forth the effort. Also, given how precious the influencer’s time is, they won’t want to waste it if your offer isn’t great. Even if you’re doing influencer marketing on a budget, you should still provide them with something of worth in return for their work with your brand.
6) Provide them with resources, be available, follow up
Send influencers brand guidelines, photography, videos and anything else you think may help them get to know your brand. These types of materials are especially vital for journalists. If an influencer has a question about the way a product works or about a certain feature, provide them with the information they need quickly. This not only provides a better view of your product or service, it also alleviates any frustration that might taint their coverage of your brand. An influencer marketing campaign doesn’t have to be limited to a single post. By following up and showing gratitude after a campaign, you may inspire the influencer to post about you again in the future or link to you in a relevant post. Continue to check in with influencers you’ve formed relationships with. As their followings grow, so can coverage for your brand through new influencer marketing campaigns.
Influencers can be a strong source of public relations for businesses. When you treat how you find, approach and work with influencers the same way you would any business partnership, influencer marketing campaigns become more effective. Find the right influencers for your brand, maintain good relationships with them, give them everything they need to know about your campaigns and you’re set for a boost in your sales and brand awareness.