Influencer marketing is a term most marketers and businesspeople will hear these days. In this post, we talk about what influencer marketing is and how you can leverage it to reach your target audience. Read on to learn more.
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In this article:
- What Is Influencer Marketing?
- What Type of People are Influencers?
- The Limitations of Social Media and Content Marketing
- What Makes Influencer Marketing Effective
- Wrong Perceptions of Influencer Marketing
- Best Practices in Influencer Marketing Strategy
- What to Avoid
How Influencer Marketing Works
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a mix of old and new marketing techniques. It takes the idea of celebrity endorsements and integrates it with modern-day content marketing.
It’s safe to say that it won’t replace social media and content marketing, as it can’t work without them. An influencer marketing campaign is a collaboration between a brand and an influencer.
What Type of People are Influencers?
What makes influencers different from celebrities is that they can be anyone and anywhere. Their large number of followers within the social networking space are telltale signs of their popularity and influence.
Influencers range from bloggers to content creators, and from industry professionals to thought leaders. Any industry can have its own set of influential people, its own influencers.
The challenge is to find those whom you share brand values and target audience with. These are the kind of influencers you should work with.
The Limitations of Social Media and Content Marketing
Influencer marketing can’t work without social media and content marketing. To understand this better, let’s take a closer look at these marketing strategies.
Typically, social media marketing for brands means building up their presence on social media platforms. As their community and engagement grow, they’ll also see who their brand champions are.
These are fans and customers who engage with and share their content in a positive way. These advocates are then nurtured by the brand by directing marketing efforts towards them so they can keep spreading the word.
The problem with this marketing strategy is that most of these advocates don’t have enough social media followers to make a big impact. Their network also often consists of people who have different preferences.
Meanwhile, in an effort to engage these advocates and their followers, brands try out different types of content. They go through all these with the hope of producing content that will resonate with their advocates’ own followers.
This is the kind of scattershot approach that yields erratic results.
What Makes Influencer Marketing Effective
Instead of wasting time and effort in trial and error, go for influencer marketing. This strategy is more efficient as you are marketing directly to influencers whose values align with your own.
This involves engaging with these influencers in social media. You can do this by following them, liking their content, and engaging with them to show your brand personality and knowledge.
You can also curate and create your content in a way that will grab these influencers’ attention. Your ultimate goal as a brand is to reach the influencers’ audience, but don’t forget that the influencers are part of your target market!
When you invest in influencer marketing, the first thing you achieve is introducing your presence to their followers. While you aren’t promoting to them yet, you’re showing that you are part of their community — and that adds to your credibility.
Second, when you do propose a collaboration with the influencer, you’ll be able to cut through the clutter easier. Influencers also receive a lot of messages and requests from fans and other brands.
As the master of their own brand, they need to sift through everything and pick only those that are a good fit for them. If you let them know early on that you share their values and interests, you’ll have a better chance of partnering with them.
Wrong Perceptions of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is more than just finding influencers and offering them a branded content deal. Remember that they invested their time to build their own brand and followers, so they are naturally protective of these.
Since they’re the ones in control of their own brand, they have their reputation and loyal followers to protect. They worked hard to earn the status they currently have, so they’re not in it for the quick payout.
Influencer marketing also requires a slow and steady approach, much like content and social media marketing. You’re not directly selling your products and services, but rather you’re building up your reputation, credibility, and authority.
It’s all about establishing a powerful brand awareness that your target market starts to associate you with the product or service that you offer.
If you think it’s easy to partner with influencers and thrust your brand within their followers’ radar, think again. Before you can team up with influencers and reach their audience, you need to earn their respect and trust first.
Best Practices in Influencer Marketing Strategy
Follow these best practices to execute an effective influencer marketing strategy:
- Research and Prepare — Get to know the influencers you want to work with. Remember that your collaboration can only yield effective results if you’re working towards the same goals. Then, prepare your content plan and budget accordingly.
- Reach out and Coordinate — Aside from reaching out to them via social media or email, set aside time to meet with influencers personally. Use this time to align your goals, plans, schedule, and budget with them.
- Show the Human Side of Your Brand — Influencers are self-made, so you will often deal with them directly, not through a company. Exercise assertiveness, but show patience and consideration towards them as well.
- Set a Timeline for the Campaign — Set a campaign timeline that integrates with your brand’s schedule. This way, the influencers will also know when they should deliver the output or result you agreed upon.
What to Avoid
It’s also worth knowing what you should avoid when planning an influencer campaign:
- Using a Generalized Approach — Even if they’re from the same niche, each influencer has unique style and preferences. You need to tailor your approach for each influencer you will tap.
- Focusing on Popularity — A large number of followers does not guarantee maximum engagement and exposure for your brand. Choose influencers who can really help you achieve your goals, even if they are micro influencers.
When done right, influencer marketing is effective in helping you reach your target audience and gaining brand advocates. Remember to choose influencers based on how well their values and audience fit with your brand.
Apply these best practices so you can reap the benefits of the influencer marketing strategy.
How will you utilize influencer marketing to improve your brand? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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