“Yesterday, when I was returning from office, the belt of my laptop bag came of. I tried to fix it, but only to realize later that it was beyond repair and then was the time to purchase a new one. So after having dinner, I browsed over the Internet. Searched on my favorite online shopping portal and shortlisted some laptop bags which were in my budget. Next I searched for reviews. Many bloggers had written good reviews for two of these bags. Then I saw the video review from my favorite YouTuber who posts about laptop and laptop accessories. I watch his videos regularly and trust his verdict. So, I purchased the one bag that he favored. My order will be delivered tomorrow and I am confident it will be good.”
Does this story sounds familiar? Isn’t it the same routine you follow before buying anything? Most of us can relate with that. Roughly 92 percent of the world’s consumers trust recommendations from friends and social media (may be in the form of advertisements). Brand influencers (hope the name says it all) are the need of the hour. They can amplify your sales, increase brand visibility over the Internet and drive more traffic to your website giving you booming sales. In this article, we have tried to provide you all the information and benefits of using a brand influencer. You do not even know what you are missing out on, if you are still not into influence marketing.
Brand Influencers (Not Brand Ambassadors or Brand Advocates)
A successful business is not one man’s task. It is a team effort. Apart from employees, who are the people that can help you with the business? They are business promoters or we can say ‘influencers.’ In the digital era, people are more dependent upon social media reviews rather than personal experiences. This allows you to connect with people far away and be benefited by their experiences. It is a smart idea to rely on a popular blogger or vlogger. Advertising on print media or digital media is good but using a brand influencer is totally ‘In’ today.
Do you watch videos on YouTube? Of course, you do. So what do you like to watch? Let us assume you like watching the latest mobile review videos. If the YouTuber mentions that he purchased a phone from ‘that’ online site and he got ‘some’ offer, wouldn’t you want to explore the site, and possibly make a purchase, as well? See what the YouTuber did? Yes, he is brand influencer for the mobile device being sold on the website.
Often the three terms: influencer, advocates and ambassadors are used interchangeably. But there is a technical difference among three.
Brand Ambassadors are paid for promoting business. They are usually a celebrity with a huge audiences hired on contract. They are used in advertising for the brand or can be spokesperson in media campaigns.
Brand Influencers are usually not paid money but are given favors or goodies in exchange for the promotion. They are those people who like your products and are happy to recommend them. They may be journalist, review writer, blogger, YouTuber or any person who has a lot of follower on social media. No contract exists. They simply promote a product or service as long as they wish to do so.
Brand Advocates are fans. They love your products and are happy to spread the good word even if they are not paid for it. For instance, suppose your mom has been using a coconut oil for years and recommends you, too, use the same brand. Isn’t this influencing? The circle of influence of advocates may not be large but it counts. Advocates are brand loyalists and happy customers. So the actual business sometimes does not end after selling products to customers — it is just beginning.
Which kind of influence you need for your business, completely depends on you. Sometimes deploying all three tactics together works.
Reasons to Use Influencers
1. Promotion — The foremost argument in favour of influence marketing is that your product could be praised on a global platform. Sometimes the quality of product is good but you do not have the credibility to sell your product to a wide audience. You need to build that credibility and brand influencers help you with that. When they praise your product, the audience wants to give it a try. Influencers have faster access to potential buyers via their blog or social media account, thus the process is faster too (but only if your influencer is credible enough too).
2. Reach — You may connect with some people through social media, but your reach is limited. When you use a brand influencer you can reach beyond your current customer base. Having one influencer is great, but more is better.
3. Budget friendly — If you do not have enough budget to have a brand ambassador, go for an influencer. As mentioned before, they take no/ little money to promote your business.
Who Should be Your Brand Influencer?
There are many such people who would be happy to be your influencer, but finding the best takes a little effort. Ask yourself these questions to find the perfect influencer.
• What is his niche? It is very important there be an effortless connection between the influencer and your business. If you are a gadget seller, he should love gadgets and his blog should be about new technologies in the market; if you sell cosmetics, your influencer must be a beauty reviewer who reviews such products. Thus there must be a connection between his interests and your niche.
• What is the Influence radius? Sometimes a person has a lot of followers but if he has bought them, it won’t help your business on bit. Your influencer should both legitimate followers and an in-depth knowledge about the product you want him to promote. The audience today is wise enough to know whether the person truly is knowledgeable about the product.
Is he a fan? It is utterly important that the influencer should be a user and appreciator of your product. He should know your product inside out. If your product has some flaw, he should mention it in reviews. True and honest marketing is necessary.
What will he gain in relationship? A relationship goes both ways, so offer him some of your goodies to review and for his personal use. A business relationship on mutual interest goes long way.
Four Elements Essential to a Successful Influence Marketing
1. Transparency — You should be completely honest about your product with your influencer. Tell him all about your other marketing strategies, your upcoming products and future planning. Now your influencer’s credibility is also associated with your product. If your product has some flaws that your influencer is unaware of, the audience may lose trust in him thus damaging both of your images. Own the flaws and tell it to your buyers. Let them decide on their own.
2. Frequent Chat — Influencers are the backbone of your business. Converse with them at regular intervals. Ask for feedback and how they are liking working with you. Good and active conversations are the foundation of good relationships.
3. Insight — It is very important to know the view your influencer has on your product. He is one of your target audience, so he is already in their shoes. In any business, voice of the customer is very important because that is how you can continually work to improve your product.
4. A long relationship — Brand credibility is not established in a day. Influential marketing is a rather long process, so foster a long relationship. Keep your influencer happy and stick with him whether your sales or great or small.
Influence marketing is not a new concept. Some business owners have been using it unknowingly for a long time. In the digital world where everything you do and don’t is affected by the social media, brand influencers seem to have a strong connection with your target audience. Using their bond with buyer as a path to your product promotion is a good opportunity to earn sales.