Ten years ago, who would have believed that we would be buying something based on the recommendation of a 20-something with mad makeup skills whose entire job is to post on social media? When you think about it like that, it does seem kinda crazy but social media influencers are a massive trend in today’s marketing world. Influencer marketing is one of the quickest ways to reach an audience that is both very broad and highly specific — important in a world of micro-niche opportunities where you can target your message to the nth degree. Without the help of these digital-savvy individuals, it would be difficult if not impossible to reach the same audience of interested buyers. See how you can leverage the power of these individuals and transform it into sales for your brand.
Identifying the Right Fit
When you see the millions of Instagram followers that a mega influencer has on their account, you may feel your finger twitching towards the messenger, but resist that pull! Individuals with a following that large are a) unlikely to be interested in working with any but the largest brands who can pay big bucks and b) may not have an audience that’s targeted enough to what you’re offering. Sure, if you’re repping Pepsi or Coke, feel free to get in touch! However, “normal brands” would be well-served to look for mid-tier influencers, those with thousands or tens of thousands of loyal followers who are constantly liking, commenting and sharing posts — and purchasing items that their idol is wearing or recommending.
Creating a relationship with any influencers is something that you can’t possibly start too soon. If you’re considering starting a new marketing push in a year — look for influencers now! Start a productive conversation, which can start by being active on their feed and those of their followers. Social media moguls know that interaction is an important aspect of what they offer. If you’re willing to take the time and effort to engage, influencers are much more likely to listen to your pitch when the time is right. Social media gurus are looking for ways to expand on their authentic conversation with users, and if your brand is a good fit (and the deal is good enough!) they will be very interested in working with you.
You can’t ask social influencers to go completely off-brand when they make a recommendation. Be sure that what you’re asking these gurus to offer to their audience is something that fits well with their brand identity as well as yours. Not only will messaging that isn’t relatable to their audience fall flat, but it is likely to turn off the influencer if they see that your messaging isn’t getting a high level of engagement with their audience. Content creators often want to be able to more tightly control their messaging, which can cause a sensitive point for conversation between brands and influencers.
As ad blockers become more prevalent, and traditional social media advertising rising in cost, influencer marketing is set to be a key trend for 2018 according to Forbes. Influencers are showing their star power in a variety of ways, even competing with traditional media in terms of buyer activation. Top influencers are seeing brands of all sizes provide incrementally more budget to influencer marketing campaigns. The important takeaway is creating a way to activate buyers, and track this activation back to the influencer so you’re able to judge campaign effectiveness. This could be anything from targeted links promoted by specific influencers to discount coupon codes only available to a select audience.