Influencer marketing, what is it?
Influencer marketing, is a new way of marketing – or is it really? There are so many approaches to marketing your business but could this type be right for you?
The answer is maybe. However, the statistics demonstrate that yes, it could help you. However, as you and well… just about anyone who has had any amount of success marketing their business can tell you – success isn’t guaranteed.
Before we start getting into the nitty-gritty of how it works, you need to understand what it is; influencer marketing is defined as:
Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers. (Wikipedia).
Is it worth your time to consider?
Influencer marketing is showing some signs that it could be the right investment for you if you are willing to take a few risks and lose a little money upfront. However, I should note that losing money upfront when it comes to marketing is part of the process of growing; on the reverse, a good marketing campaign, regardless of the type you implement, will always make you money in the end.
Here are a few statistics to help you decide if this is right for you:
- Over 80% of marketing and communication professionals expect to begin an influencer marketing campaign within the year. (eMarketer).
- Influencer campaigns have proven effective for over 80% of marketers who have tried them (eMarketer).
- Customers acquired through word-of-mouth (such as influencer marketing) are retained at a 37% higher rate than those acquired through other means (Deloitte).
How does it work?
The first rule of influencer marketing is that it uses the influence of people who have a greater reach than yourself to reach your target market. There are three sources you gain when you practice influencer marketing:
- SOCIAL: you are able to reach millions of consumers through your influencer’s social channels and blogs.
- ORIGINALITY: when you produce original content, you build value with your influencer’s audience (the audience you are looking to target).
- TRUST: the influencers you choose (who are the right fit for you) maintain long-term, value-driven relationships with their audience; because they trust your influencer, they by extension will trust you.
If you decide that influencer marketing is right for you, here are the steps to getting started:
- STEP 1: identify the influencers talking to your target audience and rank them; I like to use a 1-10 scale, 1 as least important, 10 as most important.
- STEP 2: reach out to your influencers by participating in their communities (forums, webinars, social media, etc.) This will increase their awareness of you.
- STEP 3: after establishing a connection, reach out via email or their preferred method of communication and pitch them on what you’d like to market for them. Make sure you create individualized emails to each one because a canned email is easy to spot and thus will likely be ignored or simply deleted.
- STEP 4: once you get on-board with your influencer, take it seriously. Make sure that the content you are writing (blog posts, Facebook posts, tweets, images, etc.) are unique but clearly tied to the message they are sending; this will create awareness about you in their target market.
- STEP 5: approach this method like a marathon, not a sprint. This will take time, focus, and energy – not to mention research.