The way people consume and interact with media has transformed over the last couple of years, with social media changing the way we connect on a fundamental level. Today's customers now can decide when, where, and if they're going to interact with brands, and that means that big companies are being forced to spend more time building "relationships" with their target markets.
In a world where consumers can simply tune your advertisements out, or block them from appearing on their favorite websites, it can be argued that some blunt-force advertising no longer has the impact it once had. Instead, today's brands need to think about how they can approach their customers where they spend the most time, and offer them experiences that they can appreciate, and trust.
Enter the age of the influencer.
What is Influencer Marketing?
In simple terms, influencer marketing is your chance to piggyback on the reputation that someone else in your industry has already built. It's a lot like getting the most popular kid in school to tell the rest of your class that you're "cool". It gives you the reputation you need, without you having to do very much groundwork.
While influencer marketing, just like any other advertising strategy, requires significant strategy and planning, research has found that it has huge potential when it's used correctly. In fact, one company analyzed the performance of more than 300 influencer campaigns and found that influencer marketing performs better in the digital world than any other type of media advertising.
The same research indicates that influencer marketing campaigns can fundamentally transform the way that people feel about a business - leading to higher positive sentiment scores, and greater affinity with your target audience.
The question is, how do you start using influencer marketing in your campaigns?
Step 1: Know Your Brand
The first thing you need to do before you even begin looking for influencers, is think about how you want customers to perceive your brand. After all, a beauty company isn't going to get a huge increase in followers if they spend all their money on shout-outs from an influencer in the technology world. The more you know about how you want your image to come across, the easier it will be for you to track down the right support for your campaign.
Step 2: Find the Perfect Influencer
Once you've decided what kind of brand you want to be, you'll need to start tracking down the right person for the job. Unfortunately, this is one of the toughest parts of influencer marketing. Once you've found someone with the capacity to share your products and marketing campaigns with the world, you're committed to your choice.
One message from an influencer and you and that person are linked forever. The wrong choice now could continue to damage your reputation for months, or even years to come. With that in mind, make sure you do your research. Learn about the previous posts an influencer has made and make sure they're going to have a good impact on your brand image.
3. Look Beyond the A-List Influencers
While it might be nice to invest in a celebrity to share your messages on social media, the truth is that most brands won't be able to afford that level of marketing. However, you don't necessarily need a celebrity to enjoy the benefits of influencer advertising. About 72% of people say that an influencer's relevancy is more important than their reach, so keep that in mind when you're looking for someone to highlight your company.
4. Give Influencers A Reason to Work with You
As influencer marketing becomes more of an attractive solution for many businesses in the competitive marketplace, it's worth noting that you probably won't be the only company to approach your preferred influencer. If you want them to choose you over your competitors, then you need to give them a reason. Consider showing off some of the happy testimonials you've got from customers or share a story about your values that your influencer could resonate with.
5. Track Your Metrics
Finally, remember that the only way to ensure your campaigns are working is to track their success. It's impossible to make positive changes unless you know exactly what's working for your brand and what isn't. Solutions like Google analytics, and even the analytical platforms on social media will help you to see how your influencer campaign is affecting your bottom line.