The advent of social media has introduced so many things that were not here about a decade ago. For instance, “selfie” is a word that came to be because of social media. But apart from influencing pop culture, social media has also introduced certain job descriptions, especially as it relates to PR, advertising, marketing and branding. Influencer marketing is one such job that has come to be with the advent of social media.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is an aspect of social media marketing that involves taking advantage of the social influence of certain people on social media. In essence, brands acknowledge individuals – who have a huge following as a result of social influence or based on expert knowledge in certain fields – and employ them to endorse their products.
What is Social Influencer Marketing?
Social influencer marketing is basically influencer marketing. Social media influencers are also called social influencers because their influence is largely based on their social currency; their ability to gather a crowd. The influencers serve as ambassadors for brands but instead of the traditional advertisement or marketing, the influencers are expected to persuade their followers to use the products marketed.
How to Create Influencer Marketing Strategies?
Brands are taking their business to social media because they have recognised the number of people that surf social media every day. So, as a brand, employing influencer marketing to your general marketing campaign is a very good idea. However, like everything, you have to apply an effective influencer marketing strategy to achieve your goal. How do you create effective influencer marketing strategies?
• The first thing you need to do is define your goals and KPI. For every marketing strategy to be created, the goal that the strategy hopes to achieve has to be determined. The reason this is important is that the goals you are trying to achieve will inform the type of campaign to employ? Are you trying to create brand awareness? Product awareness? Generate traffic to your website? Increase engagement on social media? Sell a product? Whatever it is, write it down and outline what you would consider a successful campaign.
• The next thing will be to find influencers. There are so many influencers on social media and some of them have quite a number brands they run campaigns for. So, if you don’t want your campaign to be lost in the multitude, you have to find influencers based on your type of campaign, your brand values and the type of audience you are trying to reach. Different influencers have their personal values that are reflected on their page; do you want your brand associated with that? Are their followers your target audience? Those are some of the things you should consider in choosing the right influencer. In case you are wondering where to start, luckily, there are apps that help such as Buzzsumo, Social Bond and Upfluence that can assist in finding influencers based on topics, followings, engagements as well as content.
• You have to reach out to influencers. But before then, you have to decide what kind of campaign you want so you can pitch it to the influencers. Are you going for a sponsored post, collaboration, guest posting, gifts for post, contests and giveaways or brand ambassadorship? Once you have decided that, you can reach out to them through email to pitch the idea. However, it is important to listen to their ideas as well because they also know their followers and know what will appeal to them. Basically, it is advisable to work with influencers on the type of campaign, even though you have an idea in mind already.
• Once the ball is rolling, the onus is on you to track the campaign so you can see what is working and what is not even before the campaign is over. It will help you keep stock and learn for future campaigns.
How do you get Influencers to Promote Your Brand?
Although influencer marketing is largely a business and many brands see it as a hired service, which is paid for, it is important to note that that is not all there is to it. While it is true there is a service rendered for payment, one of the major reasons for ensuring success is the heart the influencer puts into leveraging their social currency for your brand. There is a lot to do on your part as well.
• Networking: Many brands erroneously expect to get influencers to market their product by reaching out to them without any form of an earlier relationship. While it is not realistic to have had a prior relationship with every social influencer you work with, you should make an effort to build a network of influencers. You might not have a relationship with an influencer you will end up using but one of your networks just might. There are different ways to make an impression on influencers; inspire, gifting and collaborations.
• Get them involved: This works, especially, for new products. Get the influencers involved very early on in all the processes related to creating the product. Let them have input before and after the product. But if the product is already out, invite their opinion on the type of campaign to run. This unconsciously gives them a sense of ownership of your product and they will likely give their all to promoting your brand.
• Give them an experience that they won’t forget in a hurry. You can do that by organising an event or a running campaign that they are a part of. This way, they will go the extra mile to promote your brand because they will share this experience with their followers.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
In this age of the growth of social media, there are so many benefits to employing influencer marketing;
• Influencers are influential on a large number of their followers. Using influencer marketing will give you leverage to the influence they have on their followers.
• Their followers trust their words; they have been able to build credibility over time with their fans and getting an endorsement from them will automatically translate to getting trust and credibility from their followers as well. The time spent trying to gain credibility would have been sorted out.
• Influencer marketing gives you access to millennials and gen z consumers who are likely to constitute a large number of your consumers. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be on social media. You get to have access to this part of the population that probably wouldn’t see your traditional advert because they spend more time on social media.
• You get a wider reach by using social influencer marketing. The world has gone global due to social media and your consumers do not necessarily have to be confined to your geographical location. If you have an online business, especially, getting a global reach will help your business and you can create that awareness with influencer marketing.
• Another benefit is that you don’t have to break the bank to use an influencer. There are different levels of influencers based on their following and engagement and some are more affordable than others, but you should find one that is ready to work with your budget.
• Influencer marketing doesn’t appear forced. In most cases, it appears natural and is even more effective on the target audience.
• Based on reports, there is a guaranteed return on using influencer marketing. Many brands have keyed into it and you shouldn’t be left out of getting returns from investing in influencer marketing.
How to Leverage an Influencer Marketing Platform to Grow Your Brand
Knowing all these benefits of influencer marketing, how do you leverage an influencer marketing platform to grow your brand?
• Be clear about your goal. Make sure you know what you want to achieve with the campaign, but it will inform the kind of influencer you will use in the first place and the type of campaign to run.
• Understand your target audience: It is important that your campaign gets to the target audience to ensure a successful campaign. What kind of campaign will capture the minds of your target audience and what influencers is that target audience following?
• Give them an unforgettable experience. You have access to the audience through the influencer marketer. If you want to get your target audience talking, give them a brand experience that will keep them talking through the content you decide to share.
• Remember to be honest and not pretend it isn’t paid content when it is. Audiences will be more attracted to honesty than they would if they feel their intelligence is being played with.
• Use an influencer whose values align with the values of your brand. Most people follow influencers whose values align with theirs. So, if your brand values don’t align with that of the influencer, their followers might not be your target audience. Also, you do not want to lose your present consumers as well, if you use someone who they don’t relate with as a brand ambassador.
Influencer marketing can get you the reach, awareness or sales you are looking for as long as you understand effective influencer marketing strategy.