Break through to new audiences and boost your brand by seeking out the right influencers.
According to a report released by TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions, influencer marketing campaigns can generate up to 11 times the return on investment (ROI) of traditional digital marketing strategies. And 71 percent of influencers believe that an honest and authentic voice is necessary for keeping their audience engaged. And an authentic voice is equally important for marketing since viewers are looking for authentic storytelling they can relate to.
This authenticity is why people follow influencers. Other than our real friends, the people we follow on social media sites are often the people we wish we were friends with or the people we want to be like. And when they showcase products or services they use or like, we want to use those products and services too.
This relationship is something brands have been capitalizing on, and based on this report, they're seeing results. For entrepreneurs, working with influencers is an important method for marketing and growing their business. It expands their reach to audiences they might never be able to interact with and by partnering with bloggers, brands can present a relatable image of their product or service.
Forget chasing after big-name celebrities with millions of Instagram followers. If you're a smaller brand, you can utilize the growing pool of bloggers that have built a following just by being themselves. If you're in the parenting industry, there are a plethora of "mommy blogger" influencers. There are thousands of blogs dedicated to pets, or gamers, the list goes on and on.
These are spaces brands need to be marketing themselves in order to get noticed. Here are four effective ways brands can partner with bloggers to expand their reach.
1. Authenticity drives results.
As previously mentioned, consumers prize authenticity above all else when it comes to choosing influencers to follow and engage with. That's why it's so important to choose the bloggers and social media personalities you're working with carefully. While using authentic and relatable influencers is a better way to engage with consumers, it's also more ethical.
This year the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on YouTube personalities for failing to disclose their partnerships with certain brands. The FTC also cautioned a number of Instagram influencers who were operating under similar practices. As influencer marketing has grown in popularity, many opportunists have rushed into the industry to make a quick buck. These people often inflate their reach and use a number of inauthentic methods to portray a higher number of followers than they actually have.
When choosing which bloggers to work with, brands have to do their due diligence to make sure they are working with honest and reliable influencers. This is the only way they have the kind of access to consumers that translates to real engagement.
2. Stay on top of customer engagement by working with influencer marketing companies.
Entrepreneurs have a lot to deal with. Between the everyday tasks that keep their businesses afloat and trying to be innovative in a constantly changing world, marketing and advertising can fall by the wayside. When it comes to influencer marketing, there are a number of companies that do the heavy lifting. Especially for small businesses, mastering the nuances of consumer engagement can be difficult, and it can be hard to figure out which bloggers and social media personalities will give you the most ROI.
TapInfluence is an influencer marketplace that takes care of this for you. The company connects brands with social media influencers, allowing them to tap into the power and reach of influencers and content creators who have authentic voices their audiences trust. But most importantly, the company uses benchmarks to help brands compare the performance of their influencer marketing campaigns and to examine engagement rates. The company has obtained more than eight years of repository campaign and transaction data on over 2,000 influencer marketing programs, and uses this information to provide customers with a clear picture of how their marketing strategy is doing.
3. Find influencers with highly engaged followers vs. the most followers.
What's better than partnering with an influencer with 100,000 followers? Partnering with 100 influencers with 1,000 followers each. Working with big-name celebrities or well-known bloggers can be a difficult task for smaller brands. Even if a famous celebrity is accessible to work with you, they often come with a hefty price tag.
Niche Instagrammers, YouTubers and bloggers have a curated following, and if that following has similar demographics to your own target audience, you can get your products or company in front of a very lucrative group of potential customers.
How can you identify these niche influencers? Find innovative ways to connect with them. You can utilize companies like Mavin that are working to create an influencer marketing ecosystem where marketers will benefit by reaching a more extensive audience with a higher engagement rate. Through this ecosystem, brands can work with not only well-known and famous influencers but also ordinary people, because in today's digital world, everyone's an influencer.
4. Do your hashtag homework.
The reality is, not all startups can afford to work with marketing companies, and that's okay. There are many ways you can find influencers and grow your social media following by simply training your team on some growth tactics.
One of the most effective ways is to stay on top of current hashtags that are popular in your industry, and use these hashtags to identify influencers. Let's say you're in the fashion industry, a simple google search for "popular fashion hashtags" will populate a list you can start with. Or you can check out hashtags being used on popular images on Instagram. You can then do a search on Instagram for the popular hashtags, and that will lead you to users' accounts.
You can start identifying influencers you may want to reach out to; look for those with the most engaged followers (i.e., likes, comments, etc.). As you look through influencers' images, notice new hashtags they are using on their images, which will allow you to go through the same process and apply the new hashtags. It's a lengthy process, but if you don't have the money to spend on influencer marketing, you will need to invest time instead.
Once you've compiled a target list of influencers, you can simply reach out to them, introduce your brand, offer to send product in exchange for an honest review. And make your efforts count by offering a trackable discount code to the influencer's followers.