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Influencer marketing is all the rage in today’s digital world. It is seen as a viable method of connecting with your company’s target audience. It is different from social media marketing or content marketing, but that does not mean it is going to replace them, because influencer marketing is nothing without them.
What is Influencer Marketing?
At its core, influencer marketing can be considered a hybrid of old and new marketing tools. It involves taking the idea of celebrity endorsements to promote your product or service and placing it into a modern day content-driven marketing campaign.
The biggest difference between the two is that the results of the campaign are usually collaborations between brands and influencers instead of advertisements.
Influencers are different from celebrities in the sense that they can be anywhere or anyone. They usually have a large following on their online media platforms. Anyone could be an influencer, be it a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, or a well-read financial analyst blogger who tweets, or even a respected cybersecurity professional on LinkedIn. Influencers can be found within any industry because there are influential people in each one of them. You just have to find them. It is easy to spot them by looking at their followers. It can vary from hundreds of thousands to even millions of followers.
They can be converted into key brand advocates. Influencer marketing means using these advocates to help you in driving your message to the larger market in an organic way.
Influencer marketing pinpoints people who have large social followings and have pull over your ideal target audience. After which you can focus your marketing endeavors featuring these key influencers.
Instead of directly marketing to a large group of consumers, companies pay the influencers to spread the word out for you instead.
The Growth of Influencer Marketing
People trust other people more than they do corporate organizations or advertisements. This is the essential core of why influencer marketing works and how it has become such a powerful and effective marketing strategy.
Even though your company cannot befriend hundreds of thousands of people for your marketing campaign, it helps if you collaborate with just one influencer who does have access to those hundreds of thousands of people. Once you align your brand with an influencer, you end up positioning your product or service for display to their already-established large network of individuals. The followers trust what that influencer has to say.
Inbound marketing is only growing in popularity, and outbound marketing has reached its decline. Influencer marketing has become one of the key ways of inbound marketing used to attract customers.
The thought process of the consumers has changed over time. They are not the same as consumers of the past. It was easy to convince them that everything they heard on television or read on billboards was true and that they should take it to heart. This has changed. The consumer of today also does not trust large companies till they know what the company is and what it stands for and it has earned the consumer’s trust. But consumers today do however, listen to what other people have to say.
Influencer marketing can account for a large chunk of any inbound marketing campaign. Here is how: influencers are employed with the responsibility of generating and distributing unique content about your brand. When the influencer recommends your brand to their followers, they automatically act as an extension of your company’s marketing department.
Why Does Influencer Marketing Work?
Even though influencer marketing is quite new, it has managed to become a viable solution for all marketers who are willing to think outside the box and want to build trust with their target market.
This is why:
Influencers Hold Real Power
92% percent of consumers say that they trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than any other type of advertising. This proves that word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to promote your brand, product or service. Especially when it comes to today’s generation, because they can easily relate themselves with the influencers; this is essentially why influencers gain popularity.
There is a noticeable shift in the way companies have started to prioritize word-of-mouth information over paid television, magazine and newspaper ads because of the change in the consumers’ behavior. It then becomes difficult to ignore the power that these unofficial brand ambassadors hold.
Influencer marketing gives companies the opportunity to leverage the power of social media while they rely on those who already have a large following.
The Power of Social Media
It is becoming more and more important to interact with social channels. Companies have noticed that just having a well made website is not enough.
Consumers have this expectation of brands. They want them to bring the conversation to them instead of the other way round, which makes influencers more powerful than ever before. Companies can create conversations that wholly relate to their target audience simply by partnering with the right influencers.
Key Components of Influencer Marketing
Planning Your Company’s Influencer Marketing Strategy
There is a lot of careful thought and planning that goes into developing a successful influencer marketing strategy. Marketing teams have the option to consult externally to be able to create a steady and fixed plan that will guarantee success.
Identifying and Selecting Your Influencers
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to selecting your influencers for your marketing campaigns such as the budgets and scope of the campaign. There are four main ways brands can identify influencers to work on campaigns.
Google used to be the main way brands and agencies found influencers. Companies would conduct individual searches, after which they would scan webpages and collect contact information. Then they would create spreadsheets to keep track of it all.
Databases help to do site scraping for you, and they pull all publicly available data. Going through databases is a good place to start but it takes up a lot of time to vet each and every influencer and communicate with them individually and directly.
A marketplace give the best of databases. This is done by pulling in real-time information. It also helps companies avoid the middleman like one would get with a network.
This method influencers is considered to be somewhere in the middle of a database and a marketplace. A network consists of relationships with the influencers, but companies will have to go through them to reach out.
Influencers come with varying levels of influence. We can categorize them based on the purpose they serve and the motivations behind their presence. Some of them are:
These are social media stars and they charge quite a lot, but they come with their own brand name and a long list of followers. They can deliver on a very large scale. They also serve very well as the face of a campaign.
High-Quality Content Creators
The high quality content creators come have a large volume of curated content that their sizeable audience follows. The followers are loyal because they have been a part of their journey. They know how to create content for a certain niche of audience and they come with abundant data that helps them understand what works and what doesn’t.
Buzz Builders and Promoters
Promoters are known for getting the word out. They have audiences that differ in size. Some are large deal focused bloggers. The others are known for spreading the word on popular trends and that can help get your brand the attention you are looking for. They will help you scale your outreach efforts with little collaboration.
Advocates and Employees
Advocates and employees naturally love your brand. They can be found online talking about you already. You can find them if you pay attention to your social channels. The next step would be to invite them to share and create content for your brand. They already love your brand and are more than willing to talk about what you are doing.
Content Collaboration and Campaign Workflow
The main factor that goes into creating any great influencer marketing campaign is to create great content. The content should be compelling to your target audience. It should also be authentic to the storyteller’s voice. It also helps in delivering your brand’s objectives.
The bedrock of any influencer marketing strategy is using influencers to create content that will attract the right audience. The process doesn’t stop once the content is posted on their site or their social channels.
You have to build a content strategy that will help you extend its usefulness over your whole marketing strategy. It is possible to use influencer content in quotes and testimonials as well. You can also feature top tier celebrity influencers in your TV or print ads. One more thing that can be done is share your content in a dedicated section of your brand newsletter.
Monitor & Analytics
There are many different metrics and methods for measurement which can be used to that will help you measure the success of your influencer marketing campaign as it grows. Once you collect data, you can use it to optimize your influencer marketing efforts. Now it is possible to rank your influencers based on their output and what content resonates with your audience. You can also keep track of which of their social channels are best for distribution of your product or service.
SEE ALSO: Top Social Media Trends of 2019
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