The year 2017 is all about marketing, whether it is as out there as video marketing or as indirect as influencer marketing, the latter becoming a vital part of brands’ marketing strategy and one of the most influential in 2017. That’s why businesses are not shying away paying high amounts to influencers. We have already talked about video marketing in our last blog. However today we are going to focus on what’s influencing the social media the most.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing which directs a brand’s message to a larger target group using some key people/leaders known as “influencers”, rather than approaching them directly.
We have tapped into an era where most of our target audience is online, going through pages of their favourite stars and liking their posts. This is where influencer marketing comes in, silently and circuitously. Most of the time we don’t even know it! That’s the beauty of it & that’s how its scope is undying. Your favourite star says something, and you obviously believe it! There is no denying, no second thoughts, and no double checks required! If they say they love their XYZ brand jeans, you obviously would want to buy a pair for yourself. That’s how it is done! That’s how it has changed the way brands are marketing their product.
How it’s Connected to other Ways of Marketing
Influencer marketing comes together with content marketing and social media marketing, wherein social media is the agent and content is the matter, while the influencer merely plays a role of a force that has the capacity of discursively kicking off the product. Most influencers use their social media channels to spread the word through relevant content, but here it must be kept in mind that both social media marketing and content marketing are separate altogether.
The method used in this kind of marketing is word-of-mouth, but not all word-of-mouth marketing campaigns are driven by key individuals. These key individuals may not necessarily be advocates for the brand. Advocate marketing focuses on encouraging loyal customers, while influencer marketing aims at engaging the interest of the masses and turning them into target audience. This is how it is separate from both word-of-mouth marketing as well as advocate marketing.
Key Components of Influencer Marketing
What we are talking about can be as easy as hosting a tasting for magazine editors who then create a buzz about the restaurant brand, allowing people to use cameras at a social event and upload on their social media as they talk up your camera brand online, or even using a homegrown hashtag to promote a nonprofit cause that shares an emotional message. Some of the key components of this type of marketing are as follows:
- Identify influencers relevant to your brand or product.
- Engage the influencers through a marketing campaign directed at them.
- Create a secondary campaign to help influencers drive a larger target group towards your brand/product.
- Track reach and sales obtained through the secondary campaign.
Getting Influencers for your Campaign
It’s is all about choosing a small target group, creating awareness amongst them, and following the rippling effect of word-of-mouth which the campaign has created to focus on a larger target group. However, it is important to be aware of the problems, the attitudes, and the emotions of your customers. So, the first and foremost question is what’s important to your customers and how are they influenced by friends, acquaintances, and by the social media. The biggest mistake is – not understanding the needs of your customers. Once you have figured it out, there are three approaches to finding a good influencer.
- Understand the personal values of the influencer. If the values of the influencer don’t align with those of yours, there’s a great chance of damage to the brand’s reputation.
- Don’t just follow big names and celebrities. Reach out to bloggers and vloggers, and on micro influencers who have followers anywhere from in thousands, instead of millions. You don’t need to focus on a larger audience at once. Hyper-targeted marketing could gather more buzz.
- Internet-famous influencers may not always work. Go to local magazine editors, famous leaders and experts whose words are valued.
How to Use Influencers for Marketing
Today’s generation can easily be convinced with anything that doesn’t look like an advertisement. No one wants to see advertisements as they scroll through social media. Around half of the internet users, use ad-blockers. This is how influential marketing has got all the attention. However, a well-defined strategy can help you get benefit even more. Here are three things to keep in mind when approaching this method of marketing and creating effective campaigns:
#1. Don’t forget the purpose!
Your strategy can take you to the goal, only if you had the goal in mind while making it. Determining the budget of the campaign is important. Apart from this, you need to know the criteria and indicators against which you would measure the performance of the campaign. This means you need to keep an eye on the reach, the audience engagement, views, followers increase, as well as sales. Only these can help you find out the success rate of your campaign.
#2. Focus on long-term relationships
Influencers who switch brands often lose credibility. Consider forming long term relationships with influencers as it can help you get loyalty from the influencer’s followers. However, on the other hand, changing influencers often may confuse people, and wouldn’t serve the purpose. Shelling out money for a celebrity to mention your product on social media once won’t create as much effect as engaging them for a year or two would. People start to associate the brand or the product as the celebrity’s personal choice, and are influenced to buy it, placing their trust in the product just as they think the celebrity did.
#3. Use your Influencers’ Creativity
Instead of giving all the content yourself, you can allow the influencers to use their creativity to create something unique. Taking away the creativity and voice for which your influencers are known for, may leave you with just an advertisement, which the masses detest. Let the influencers merge your brand into their attention grabbing personality and this will automatically attract their followers, the audience you are focusing on through them.
So, in this blog we understood the concept of influential marketing, how it is different and yet connected with other ways of marketing, what to keep in mind while looking out for an influencer for your brand and finally how to execute the campaigns with key influencers.
Share with us your campaign strategy or your thoughts on influencer marketing in the comments below.