The marketers of this era are relentlessly battling for praise, sales, approval and attention from millennials.
This demographic of young adults and teenage consumers not only have the power to influence consumer decisions effectively, they also have a staggering $200 million stake in annual spending power.
Keeping that in mind, the brands that capture the greatest market share in their industry successfully are those that deeply comprehend and acknowledge what their consumers want to make an informed decision, and make sure to fully execute on it.
The voice of the customer has always garnered a paramount position in marketing, and the burgeoning social media platforms have become one unanimous, giant megaphone for that voice.
In fact, social media has rapidly turned the tables over the balance of power between brands and customers, since it allows peer recommendations to play a significant role in purchasing decisions.
According to a McKinsey study, “word of mouth” inspired marketing generates more than double the sales of paid advertising, and such customers promise a 37 percent higher retention rate.
Given the vitality of peer recommendations and their augmentation through social media, influencer marketing is ruffling feathers amongst marketers. The prevalence of influencers in the budding “mom” and “Millennial” demographics, the role of online influencers can no longer be ignored.
For savvy business owners staying abreast of the most contemporary social media tactics, it may appear that all anyone is talking about in 2016 is “influencers”, and with good reason. A recent study found evidence that influencer marketing pays a median of $11.20 in earned media value for every dollar of paid media expended.
When given a say, your consumers are more prone to heed the endorsement of someone they trust and see as an expert niche, and less vulnerable to succumb to fake, paid media.
This someone can be a family member, friend, or more generally someone with a dominant "authority", whom they follow on their myriad social media networks. Fostering a lasting relationship with these online influencers, also called thought leaders, might be the smartest brand building and marketing action that your budding business needs to make it to the surface. It works in four easy breezy steps:
- You identify the big fish or the influential people in your industry or niche.
- You shortlist the influencers most complementary to your business in terms of tone, reach, and audience.
- You nurture a mutually lucrative connection with them.
- You partner with them to promote content, create content, or to endorse your services or products.
And not surprisingly, it’s not only the fortune 500 brands working with the most conspicuous influencers who can tout success with this marketing medium. Since each industry niche has its own audience and set of influencers, influencer marketing can work wonders for you, despite the size of your business. Here are our top six tips to get you started:
1. Have Influencers Share Your Content
Forrester Research recently published a study, which predicts that social media spending in the United States is projected to reach $27.4 billion by 2020, in contrast from $12.3 billion in 2015, escalating at a five-year annual growth rate of 17.4 percent. The way that marketers are slicing their pie is getting ever more complicated, with more offerings by the day. This is where influencer marketing can help by checking a number of boxes for your brand.
As such, When, How and Which Content you share is the biggest aspect of marketing for most brands, and one of the simplest influencer marketing strategies you can implement as part of your content marketing strategy. Learn from the Clothing Brands who have mastered the art of creating compelling copies that help them reach a wide array of consumers and influencers. A great example of leveraging from the real content came from the Plus Size revolutionary bloggers who broke the stereotypes and have set some of the most refined examples of meaningful content in the history of marketing.
As a matter of fact, all brands can ask influencers for a little help. Remember to check the credibility of an influencer before asking them to share pieces of your content on their blog, podcast, or news feed. Make sure your content is worth their time and efforts and conveys a meaningful message to your consumers.
2. Request Them to Contribute on Your Blog
This is a remarkable strategy if you manage to get your hands on prominent influencers who regularly write on a plethora of authoritative sources and have carved a niche for themselves. According to Sarah Brennan, Community Manager at ClothingRIC: “Guest bloggers especially look for an opportunity to publish their content on ever greater sources to bolster their visibility and network. It’s not such an arduous task to find an influencer and convince them to write an engaging post for the benefit of your audience. “
Highlight that your influencer will garner diversity and greater audience exposure from posting on your blog. When the influencer spreads the word of the newly published article with their followers, you’ll benefit greatly by tapping into a new audience base. If all goes well, you can cement your relationship for a regular occurrence.
3. Ask Them to Post a Testimonial
If you are seeking to boost the credibility of your service or product overnight, request your influencer for a meaningful testimonial. This is a viable and tested way to lure in new business leads. There are myriad types of testimonials, each touting its own value to your business. Written testimonials are much easier to distribute, while video testimonials are shared more often. Both offer equal optimization benefits.
To maximize the effect of your influencer testimonial, be sure to place it on your own site to gain authority. It’s also a smart move to post it offsite on your influencer’s blog as well to generate new traffic and external links. One way to coax your influencer into a testimonial is to send them a free sample of your product, for them to try and post about the results.
4. Have Them Drive Conversations About Your Brand
This is a massive big business growth strategy that even budding businesses can leverage. Instead of exclusively honing in on exchanging content, you can also reap the rewards of implementing influencer marketing by organizing online discussions. LinkedIn and Twitter are platforms that permit this.
Twitter enables all Tweeters to jump in and make their voice and opinion heard easily. You might not have reached the point where you are noticed much, but if you can keep a conversation flowing with your target influencers, you can garner massive attention for your brand, and may even end up being seen as an authoritative presence in your niche.
Whether you are a struggling startup, a thriving Fortune 500 company or somewhere in the midst, brand building is the key to success. This is where influencers help your business; they act as a trusted voice of honesty that communicates your brand message to an audience who already has faith in them. This organic and effective exposure is what your business is craving to receive.
5. Let Them Solve Your Native Advertising and Content Marketing Needs
No matter the nature and size of your brand, continually creating content that is well marketed, talked about, shared, and well-liked isn’t always turnkey. Luckily, collaborating with the right online influencers can assist brands in unraveling this marketing dilemma.
Oftentimes, content created by leading social media stars performs well on multiple touch points, such as cross-platform marketing or multi-channel marketing, with myriad companies repositioning or repurposing original influencer-generated, high-performing content onto other social media channels.
With the trend of ad blocking precluding a projected 22 billion dollars of ad inventory in 2015, brands and advertisers are constantly seeking out new ways to reach an audience where they seem to hang out the most, such as social apps, mobile, and digitally, sans ad blocking. For brands looking to circumvent the nuisance of ad blocker technology successfully, marketing with social media influencers promotes a reliable strategy and channel.
Akin to certain native advertising options open on social apps and platforms, for instance, Instagram Shopping Ads and YouTube Shoppable Ads, marketing with social media influencers on their pages and channels is immune to ad blockers. Furthermore, diligently prepared brand sponsored content with social media stars lets you tap into a new audience with each influencer's social endorsement.
Related Article: How to Approach Social Media Influencers
6. Make Them Ambassadors
Just like the all popular celebrity endorsements, long-term ambassador roles can transform the image of your brand. If you have ventured a foot forward into influencer marketing and discovered a viable influencer who truly resonates with your brand, you can consider engaging them in a long-term campaign, and watch the momentum build from the original engagement.
A great benefit of partnering with long-term Ambassadors is that they won’t be able to promote competing brands during the collaboration period. It also appears more genuine and authentic when an influencer supports a brand that they have come to love over time, rather than a week or two of the one-off campaign.