Social media influencers can be valuable marketing tools that boost brand visibility, discoverability, SEO and more. Their attention and feedback can also improve your brand’s authority and strengthen its reputation. However, thoughtfully using the right influencers is crucial to avoid reputational damage and contract headaches.
We’ll explore 10 ways influencer marketing can help your brand and share influencer caveats to watch out for to protect your organization.
Influencer marketing is an on-the-rise digital marketing trend with an estimated worth of $16.4 billion in 2022, according to Oberlo. Its growth can be attributed to the instant popularity of short videos on popular social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and TikTok.
Here are 10 ways getting an influencer to market your product or service can help your brand grow.
Influencers generally talk about themselves in their content, including their surroundings, activities and ideas. When they promote a brand, they don’t sell it directly. Their content strategically places your brand in the conversation so consumers notice and learn about it without feeling like they’re being given a sales pitch.
Consumers are bombarded daily with hundreds of pieces of promotional content, which can leave them tired, confused and often indifferent about ads. Eventually, they start to ignore ads.
In contrast, influencer content focuses on relationships the influencer has built with their followers. Their content entertains consumers or solves their problems. The best influencers promote a brand’s products or services in the context of their content, making your offerings relevant.
When you search for a hashtag on social media, the search results display the most popular content using that hashtag first.
Influencers use content to engage audiences on social media. There’s a good chance the content they create for you will easily be discovered when someone searches for a relevant hashtag. This improves your chances of reaching a larger audience.
Platforms like Hashtagify.me can help you identify popular hashtags your influencers can use for their content so they can participate in trending conversations.
Influencers can be an essential element of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Their content can provide multiple mentions in online spaces that include a link back to your business website. These quality backlinks can improve your search engine rankings. Backlinks help your website perform better in organic search and bring you more organic visitors.
However, use mentions carefully. Not all mentions will be relevant or suitable for your brand.
Social media’s widespread usage and popularity means influencers can be the perfect channel for customer communication — they can act as both mediators and spokespeople. Influencers can help you reach the massive percentages of U.S. consumers who use social media.
Consider the following social media stats about American adults from Pew Research Center:
Influencers are everywhere on social media, and their content gets shared, liked and discussed. Sometimes, it even becomes news. Their content can help drive real-time growth for your brand.
Online reviews are crucial if your brand sells products or services. When an influencer provides positive customer feedback, product reviews and other types of user-generated content, people listen. Their input can encourage thousands of their followers to try your product.
Influencers can help you become a thought leader in your industry because they’re often experts in various niches. This is one of the reasons they’ve amassed sizable followings.
Seek an influencer who’s an expert in your domain. That way, when this expert creates content involving your brand, they essentially vouch for you and build brand authority for your business.
Customer loyalty and trust are critical. Influencers have already earned both from their followers — and your brand can benefit from their relationships.
When an influencer endorses you strategically, consumers associate the influencer’s trustworthiness with your brand. Eventually, they may also become loyal to your brand if they get what they expect.
Viral videos and other content aren’t everyday occurrences. However, influencer-generated content has a good chance of going viral, flooding your website with visitors, and increasing your customer base.
At the very least, a viral video or marketing campaign will increase your visibility. However, you’ll need a smart, powerful influencer and strategic content to go viral.
Avoid going viral for the wrong reasons, like because of a mistake or embarrassing gaffe. Instead, focus on showcasing your authority, humor and current trends to generate a viral marketing campaign.
Influencer-generated content can help you deal with negative publicity surrounding your brand. The process can be lengthy, but with constant strategic efforts, an influencer can change a negative perception to a positive one while strengthening your brand’s reputation — or they can at least help bring it back to neutral.
With influencer marketing, you and your influencers will create quality content for your brand. The more consistent you are about posting quality content, the more consumers will associate your brand with excellent content.
Influencer marketing should be a part of a broader marketing strategy that includes high-quality content, social media customer interactions and personalized engagement opportunities.
The value of influencer-generated content depends on the influencer’s style and the type of content they produce.
Malcolm Gladwell identified three types of influencers in his book The Tipping Point:
Depending on your brand’s personality and specific campaign goals, you must decide which types of influencers and content you need. You may even need a combination of influencer characteristics.
While influencers can be effective marketing tools, inherent risks exist. Consider the five following caveats about using influencers.
Researching influencers is crucial. If they’ve had campaigns go south through poor or harmful content or client ghosting, keep searching for your perfect match.
Working with an influencer who doesn’t match your brand’s mission, promotes anyone and everyone, or lets details fall through the cracks will not provide the digital marketing ROI you need. They can even damage your brand’s reputation, creating an unnecessary PR crisis.
Not every company will benefit from working with an influencer. Sponsored brand content can quickly go from “everyone needs to buy this” to an unrelatable influencer lifestyle post.
Your influencer’s audience may not connect with your product for the following reasons:
If you work with an influencer who doesn’t want to sign your contract, don’t move forward. Professional influencers will welcome contracts and even non-disclosure agreements (NDA), if applicable.
However, the influencer may have questions about the contract or ask to edit a portion of the fine print because of their business standards. Do your best to compromise with the influencer if it makes sense for your business. The better your influencer relationship, the more comfortable they’ll be promoting your brand.
Finding the right influencer is also vital from a financial viewpoint. If you pay creators out of the gate for content and make less than the promotional fee, influencer marketing is costing your business too much.
Consider finding influencers who will work on a commission-based payment system, especially if you’re just starting a business. You’ll get a feel for how much your audience connects with the influencer, how customers think about influencers in general, and how to proceed in your next influencer campaign.
Working with influencers may help you generate buzz around your brand, but few companies experience repeat sales from influencer campaigns. Most influencers provide a coupon code or another incentive to try a product — but months or years might pass before you work with the influencer on another campaign.
Consistently hiring influencers takes effort. Researching reliable influencers who follow your mission and use your products can be time-consuming. Plus, you’ll need to create contracts, work closely with the influencer on content, and gain traction from the influencer’s network to profit from the campaign.
However, If you’re up for the challenge of designing an influencer strategy, your brand can reap numerous benefits, including boosting sales and brand authority.
Shane Barker contributed to this article.