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Thanks to the internet and a wide spectrum of platforms to use, we have more opportunities to make our business grow than ever before.
Digital marketing has become something like fashion; new trends show up, last for a while, and then new and improved strategies arise and help us achieve even more.
One of these strategies is influencer marketing, and the chances are high you have already come across this term or considered implementing this method into your digital marketing campaign.
What is influencer marketing? How can it benefit you? You’ll find your answers below.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is defined as a form of marketing whose primary focus is to use key leaders to spread your brand’s message or products across social media websites to reach more people and generate a greater amount of leads.
It is a process that revolves around identifying, researching, engaging, and supporting individuals who create high-impact interactions with customers about your products or services and brand in general.
Although a powerful way to improve your brand’s reputation and generate more sales, influencer marketing is almost never a standalone process.
Instead, it goes hand in hand with content and social media marketing.
Why? Influencer campaigns usually feature a social media component; they are shared on these platforms.
At the same time, the success of these campaigns depends on the quality of content posted, i.e., photos, blog posts and tutorial videos.
Who are influencers?
The term “influencer” makes you think of celebrities who advertise all sorts of things on their social media, doesn’t it?
You are not alone! Most of us assume only famous people can be influencers and that is one of the most common reasons why some brands haven’t dipped their toes into influencer marketing waters just yet.
Who are influencers then? Influencers are defined as individuals who have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of their followers.
The power they have is a result of hard work to gain the confidence of people who opt to press the “Follow” button and stay up to date with their posts.
You will also come across the term micro-influencers and micro-influencer marketing, which refers to collaborating with people with a smaller number of followers than influencers, but who are still able to generate engagement and leads.
It is important to bear in mind that when you are looking for an influencer or micro-influencer for your brand, the first thing to consider is their engagement rate.
You will come across a lot of profiles with thousands of followers but insignificant engagement, which is not okay.
How to recognize influencers? It’s not that difficult and chances are high you already follow a few of them on your social media profiles.
All of them have the following characteristics:
- Thousands of followers
- Post frequently about a certain brand (or more of them) or about topics associated with it
- High engagement rate
- They post promotional codes and other special offers associated with some brand on their posts
Are influencer opinions reliable?
Some influencers post photos to Instagram and others post videos to YouTube.
Then there are also those who publish sponsored blog posts and write about some brands and their products and services.
The question is, how reliable are they? Always bear in mind that influencers worked really hard to deserve that status and they are not willing to jeopardize it for a gig.
Estimates show that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising. This means that an average consumer trusts influencers more than brands.
If we also take into consideration that 94% of marketers who tried this marketing strategy found it effective, it is safe to conclude that customers found influencers’ posts reliable, made a purchase and had a positive experience.
But make sure you don’t make a mistake here! It is not uncommon for brands that collaborate with influencers to assume they can demand the type of content that the influencer will post or what he or she will say.
Give influencers the liberty to create the content and write their own opinions. Otherwise, their posts wouldn’t be authentic or passionate.
Why is influencer marketing better than ad marketing?
Traditional marketing efforts can be too expensive and don’t give you the same benefits that you can expect with influencer campaigns.
Ad marketing doesn’t always come in handy, especially now that the Interactive Advertising Bureau discovered that 26% of desktop users and 15% of smartphone users have installed ad blockers.
That’s not all; eMarketer found that 30% of all internet users will install ad blockers by 2018.
This is happening because traditional ad marketing has become an unpleasant feature a person sees while browsing for something else.
Unlike influencer marketing, which focuses on the interpersonal relationship between influencers and their followers, ad marketing lacks social values and a personal approach.
It has become too costly, and without amazing results to match the price.
Also, ad marketing does not allow you to respond to constant changes as fast as you can with influencer marketing, which is yet another reason why people marketing is the real deal nowadays.
Every business, big or small, relies on their brand’s reputation in order to retain current and gain new customers.
Their reputation is built through brand awareness, reaching more people and ensuring they associate their brand with positive qualities.
Claiming that a brand is reliable isn’t the most effective move because the average consumer won’t fall for that easily. Every brand claims the same, after all.
This is where influencers step in! They post interesting content on their profiles and make recommendations, thus helping you build brand awareness.
When an influential person takes a photo of your product or tries out your services, people are more likely to believe them and consider your brand as truly reputable.
Reasons to try influencer marketing
As seen throughout this post, influencer marketing is a relatively novel marketing strategy and fits perfectly with the growing popularity of social media platforms.
Reasons to implement this marketing strategy are numerous, including:
- Reaching more people
- More people talk about your brand
- Increased number of customers
- More website traffic
- Increased trust in the brand
- A great way to get your website content noticed
- SEO boost
- Providing amazing value to your audience
- More engagement
Tips to get more out of influencer marketing
- Find the perfect influencer for your brand, define the goal of the campaign and the qualities that an ideal influencer should have
- Use outreach tools or services to find a perfect spokesperson
- Promote your partnership through account takeovers
- Arrange giveaways and competitions with help from influencers
- Celebrate an event or brand milestone
- Ask your influencer about a few ideas for your marketing strategy, bearing in mind that they know how typical social media users respond to different types of content
Influencer marketing is a rising trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
The number of social media users and the popularity of these websites is significantly on the rise.
And marketing campaigns that are based on a relationship between an influencer and his or her followers can generate more benefits in terms of traffic, leads, and sales.
Of course, it all comes down to choosing the right person for your brand.
Stevan McGrath is a digital marketing professional who possess expertise in brand design and development. Stevan is passionate about utilizing his diverse skill sets for new and innovative online marketing strategies. Despite having a wide influential reach, he seeks client satisfaction as his topmost priority. He also writes blog posts on recent digital marketing trends. To check out his work and for more details, you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ .