When it comes to your company’s digital marketing strategy, it can seem as though your brand’s voice is getting lost in a sea of competitor campaigns in an oversaturated online universe. In order to grow your business and reach your company’s goals, it’s vital to establish trust with your potential customers, and with the constant noise online, connecting with the people who keep your business afloat is an ever-evolving challenge.
Enter: influencers. With the birth of social media came universal access to personal brand creation, and some users are far more successful than others due to their keen understanding of marketing fundamentals. Influencers are powerful tastemakers and trendsetters, and occupying space on their feed means an opportunity to connect with their established, trusting audience.
Is influencer marketing worth it? How certain can you be that it will pay off for your company? Let’s take a closer look at influencer marketing and explore why it may be the best choice for your business.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Before the internet, wealthy companies would vie for a shot at a celebrity endorsement to promote their product, but such a marketing strategy was out of reach for most business owners in their market. Influencer marketing involves connecting with popular social media accounts to push their products. Influencer marketing provides an opportunity for brands to connect with prominent names online, whose followings represent your own ideal demographic or niche.
Through influencer marketing, like a brand ambassador program, brands are able to join forces with influencers to promote their product to their loyal audience. Companies of all kinds can find and work with an influencer relevant in every field. Influencers' audiences regularly interact with their posts, increasing the likelihood their audience will engage with your brand, too.
Why Influencer Marketing Is a Powerful Tool
One major benefit of influencer marketing, as opposed to celebrity endorsements, is their personal connection with their followers. Influencers spend a great deal of time interacting with followers and creating a reliable, connected community in their own corner of the internet. Consumers are far more likely to trust influencers, as they invest themselves directly in the online community they’ve helped to build.
Influencers meticulously curate their own individual brand, and when their target audience aligns with yours, their recommendation is more compelling and effective than simply purchasing digital ad space that could be obscured by ad-blockers. Maintaining your company’s presence on social media platforms is one thing, but creating conduits from an influencer’s account to your own can result in more conversions for your business.
Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy
Ready to get in with influencers but don’t know where to begin? Take note of these tips to connect successfully with some of the internet’s most popular users.
1. Know Your Audience
Before reaching out to a popular influencer, it’s important to take a look at what you have to offer. You’re more likely to be successful with influencer marketing if your company’s ideal customer is clear and defined. Check up on your business's engagement statistics, investment return metrics and cost-per-click data. Finding influencers who are marketing within your statistical brackets starts with knowing what those brackets look like to begin with.
Companies wanting to expand their audience or dive deeper into a specific demographic can reach out to influencers whose audience represents both a known customer category and one ripe with potential. It helps to have a product with mass appeal, too, but it isn’t a requisite for a successful influencer collaboration. Many popular social media tastemakers have attracted their audience through specialized, distinct content, and your products may fit right in on their feed.
2. Find the Right Influencer
The most popular influencers have large audiences that turn to their content for consistency and inspiring dependability, connecting users from many walks of life through a shared interest. Other influencers, however, hold the attention of narrower, yet still very loyal, audiences. If your product is more likely to resonate with a niche audience, influencers with a concentrated focus could be your ideal route.
The right influencer personifies your brand’s image. Your product should be relevant to their brand, and theirs to yours as well. A fitness blogger with 10k followers is more likely to increase traffic to a protein shake company’s site than a popular interior decorator’s account with 100k followers.
Several influencers appear to have a large following, but many accounts use paid sites to inflate their numbers to appeal to companies searching for influencers. Inauthentic influencers have less sway on their audience, as they’re largely composed of users who aren’t likely to engage with their content.
Some influencers may be represented by an agency, so do some thorough research before reaching out to connect. Managed accounts tend to be more finicky about which brands they choose to partner with, and they often request larger sums in trade than independent influencers.
3. Start the Conversation
After you’ve found potential influencers, it’s time to reach out to them with a proposal. Not all influencers will be receptive to messages from companies, so knowing you may have a few digital doors slammed in your face can help you start your approach confidently and with clear expectations. Influencers understand the power of their platform, and many have earned the right to be choosy about which companies to partner with.
First, define what your objective is. Whether you’re looking to direct traffic to your brand or simply increase awareness, proposals should provide a directive while also leaving room for influencers to create content that is parallel to their personal brand as well. Companies that approach influencers with a creative campaign likely to increase engagement with their own brand are more likely to hit it home with internet personalities than a generic, uninspired campaign.
4. Define the Deal
From the initial message, it should be clear what you’re offering the influencer with your proposition. There are many ways of partnering with influencers, but there are two primary ways influencer marketing takes shape.
Sponsorships: This method of influencer marketing involves compensating an influencer with a fee in exchange for space on his or her popular feed. Many companies also choose to include an incentive, such as a giveaway or discount code for the audience to increase the likelihood of conversions.
Collaborations: These partnerships focus on finding mutually beneficial methods of trade between companies and influencers. Through collaborations, influencers may agree to promote a product in exchange for free merchandise, or they may act as a guest poster on a blog or social media account to promote your products.
In order to make a fair deal, research the current rates for influencer marketing contracts and offer adequate compensation for what you’re requesting. Both forms of partnership can be ongoing or simply a one-time gig, so be sure to spell out your intentions in your initial proposal.
Holding a prominent space in trending internet chatter is incredibly valuable for your brand in today’s digital landscape. Influencer marketing is a strong, effective way to get people talking about your business online, and the potential returns are far more likely to be profitable because of the nature of influencers and their relationship to their audiences. There is absolutely a right and a wrong way to approach influencer marketing, but with these tips, you and your company are sure to find success.