You might have heard about the latest trend of celebrities online, influencers. Influencers are internet personalities that have a loyal following, usually through social media like Instagram or YouTube. But this new elite group is more than a trend, it is one of the largest growing digital marketing trends and might be a key component of your business’ strategy.
The phrase “influencer marketing” leverages top content creators in a given niche. These people can help your business by endorsing your product on their platforms with the goal to increase your brand’s awareness and sales.
We know, we weren’t quite convinced at first either. So we sat down with Kelly Doody from Social School, for a second opinion. Kelly shared that “people are tired of corporations that hide behind a curtain and businesses that don’t truly speak human to human”. Regardless, of whether you are a B2B marketer or B2C marketer, the focus should be on providing a Human2Human connection with your audience.
Should my business use influencers?
“Any company can look towards influencers—whether it’s a restaurant that’s turning to its farmers and suppliers to better tell their story of where they are getting their food or a small bake shop that is sharing the stories of their customers—different personas that come through their door and incentivizing them somehow to help share their story,” says Doody.
The traditional and more formal way of leveraging influencers is to engage them and provide opportunities for promotion in exchange for a form of agreed upon payment (sometimes alternate compensation such as a free product or special offer can work too). This often depends on your existing relationship with the influencer as well as the size (and engagement!) of their following. For small business owners, offering free products might be more cost effective than offering up a financial incentive.
While this might be a part of a campaign for one of your latest products or services, it doesn’t have to be. If you have established a more casual relationship with influencers in your business’ niche, you can continue to provide quality content that may attract eyes (and shares) of those within your niche, without a formal payment.
Building an influencer campaign
Regardless of how you choose to tell your business’ stories, it is important to start with your goals. Doody suggests that, “It’s a matter of reverse engineering what your goal is—whether that is a big Christmas campaign or some kind of huge Women’s Day activation and then just planning properly for it. Which is where most people fall short.”
Goals of your campaign might include building your brand awareness on a given platform, attracting a new market for your business or earning new leads (and hopefully) more sales.
To understand the goals of your influencer campaign, you will first need to determine what niche your business falls into and which influencers are prominent in this landscape. Do some research. Spend some time scrolling through Instagram and other social platforms. Once you have determined which brands align closely with your own goals, you can begin reaching out.
Remember, more important than the number of followers an influencer has is their engagement. Bigger name influencers often have a large following but low engagement (usually around 1.6%). This brings opportunities to the microinfluencer, those with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers but with higher engagement. These microinfluencers often see likes on their posts about 8% of the time.
We know adding another medium to your marketing strategy might be overwhelming. Continue to evaluate all of your initiatives as you go, as some platforms might be more effective for your business than others.