No matter what marketers do, there is still no form of marketing that rivals the effectiveness of good old word of mouth marketing.
These days, with the increased rate of ad blocking, this tried-and-tested, old-school strategy is even more essential. In recent years, word of mouth marketing has evolved and influencers are now in the picture.
Influencers are your brand's best advocates. They are social media users who have established credibility in a particular category. Influencers have the power to affect consumer purchasing decisions with their authority as opinion leaders.
Influencers typically have a large number of followers who read their content often and are influenced very subtly by it. That is why leveraging influencer-generated content to promote your brand can help your business grow quickly.
Let's take a look at 10 of the best ways influencer-generated content helps grow your business.
1. Influencers promote your brand without being promotional.
Influencers generally talk about themselves in their content, including their surroundings and their ideas. They are not selling a brand directly when promoting it. Their content will strategically place your brand in the conversation so that consumers don’t even notice the fact that something is being sold to them on a subconscious level.
Every day, consumers get bombarded with hundreds of pieces of promotional content. It makes them tired, confused and indifferent about an ad. Eventually, they start to ignore those ads.
Influencer content, on the contrary, entertains consumers or solves their problem. It does so by including your products or services, making them relevant as well as believable in the context. Your job is done.
2. Hashtags improve discoverability.
When you search for a hashtag on social media, the search results display the most popular content using that hashtag first.
Influencers generate a lot of engagement with their content. 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 out to a larger audience.
You can come up with a unique branded hashtag that the influencers can promote for you. Or you can encourage them to participate in trending conversations by discovering relevant and popular hashtags.
Platforms like Hashtagify.me can help you identify popular hashtags that your influencers can use for their content.
3. Influencers improve your SEO.
Content created by influencers gives you lot of mentions in the online space, and these mentions generally include a link back to your website. You already know quality backlinks can improve your rankings. These links help your website perform better in organic search and thus, you will get more organic visitors.
However, you need to be careful with mentions, as not all mentions will be relevant, and not all mentions are right for your brand.
4. They expand your social media reach.
Consumers want to communicate with your brand. With the widespread use and popularity of social media, it's the perfect channel for you to communicate with your customers.
Influencers can be your mediators or spokespeople on these channels. According to the Pew Research Center:
- 68 percent of online Americans use Facebook
- 35 percent of online Americans use Instagram
- 29 percent of online Americans use Pinterest
- 25 percent of online Americans use LinkedIn
- 24 percent of online Americans use Twitter
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.
5. Their feedback matters.
Online reviews are crucial if your brand is selling a product or service. Feedback, or a genuine product review from an influencer with a wide network, can do wonders for you. It can encourage thousands of their followers to give your product a try.
6. Influencers boost your authority.
You can become a thought leader in your industry with the help of influencers. Influencers, in most cases, are experts in certain niches. That is one of the reasons they have amassed sizable followings.
You can look for an influencer who is an expert in your domain. When this expert creates content involving your brand, it is a way for them to vouch for you. By doing so, they help your business gain more authority.
7. They help your business earn consumer trust and loyalty.
Do you want trust and loyalty from your customers? Of course you do. Well, guess what? Influencers have already acquired both from their followers. In fact, that is why they have thousands of followers. 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 expected.
8. Influencers boost your chances of going viral.
This doesn't happen every day. But chances are that with the help of influencer-generated content, you could go viral. This can flood your website with visitors and may increase your customer base. At the very least, it will definitely increase your visibility. Apart from a smart and powerful influencer, you also need strategic content for it to go viral.
9. They help maintain your brand's reputation.
Influencer-generated content can help you deal with any negative publicity surrounding your brand. The process can be lengthy, but with constant strategic effort, an influencer can change the negative perception to a positive one, or at least help bring it back to neutral.
10. Influencer marketing makes you a content-rich brand.
With influencer marketing, you or influencers (or both of you) will create quality content for your brand. The more consistent you are about posting quality content, the more consumers associate your brand with great content.
Types of influencers
The value of influencer-generated content depends on the influencer's style and what kind of content they produce.
Malcolm Gladwell identified three types of influencers in his book "The Tipping Point:"
- The Mavens: They are typically industry experts and other knowledgeable influencers. They write and share informed content, and that's what attracts people. Examples: health and fitness experts, teachers, etc.
- The Salesman: Salesmen are influencers with immense persuasive power. Anyone can be a salesman, but specialty marketing and digital marketing industry influencers fit into this category
- The Connectors: Connectors have an exceptional network and exceptional reach. They are masters of word-of-mouth marketing. Celebrities, for example, are connectors.
Depending on your brand's personality and your specific campaign goals, you need to decide which types of influencers and content you need. You may even need a combination of two or all three characteristics.