Studies in recent years have shown that consumers trust recommendations from individuals over brands, and that’s especially true on social media. This is where the concept of influencer marketing becomes a powerful tool for marketers: Rather than marketing to an audience directly, you engage with popular online influencers who can help to put your brand in front of a wider audience. Influencers can be anyone from celebrities to journalists and amateur bloggers to YouTube personalities. When engaged correctly, they can become vital cogs in your marketing machine. Here are a handful of tips on how to improve your influencer marketing strategy.
- Know your target audience. Before you go out seeking influencers, you need to identify your target audience and from there understand who the most prominent influencers are to your target audience. It’s also worth remembering that those with the largest number of followers aren’t necessarily the most trusted influencers in any given arena.
- Let the influencer do their thing. Successful influencer marketing involves letting the influencer spread the message in their way. They have obviously become popular, trusted and influential for a reason and, more to the point, they’re not your employee. When reaching out to an influencer, by all means, emphasize the message you want to convey and the key selling points of your product or service. But then step back and let the influencer pass on that message in their unique way. They know their audience, so don’t try to micromanage how the influencer communicates.
- Reach out to influencers to understand what motivates them. It’s easy to assume that most influencers are in it for the cash or free samples of products, but that may not always be the case. In a 2015 Augure survey on influencer marketing strategy, 55 percent of respondents said that influencers were primarily motivated by gaining visibility and reaching new audiences. The next highest source of motivation was the desire to create quality content for their audience at 45 percent, while only 24 percent believed monetary payment was a primary motivation. So when reaching out to individual influencers, try to get a feeling for what motivates them; they might be more amenable to a quid pro quo arrangement that helps them expand their audience reach, over actual financial compensation.
- You don’t always have to aim big. Getting a mention or endorsement from a top influencer with millions of followers is always a win. But the biggest influencer behemoths are in high demand, and in return can be highly demanding. Smaller influencers in the same sphere may only have a few thousand followers, but that’s still enough to spread a message. When it comes to influencer marketing, you might also find that while top names have the most followers, the followers of less prominent influencers –sometimes referred to as “micro-influencers” tend to be more loyal and provide more engagement.
There are a lot of factors that can make the difference between a successful influencer marketing strategy and an unsuccessful one. Keeping these top tips in mind can help you engage with the right influencers, and build a mutually beneficial relationship that can spread your brand message to the broadest possible audience.