Old-school marketing uses a broadcast strategy: You create an ad and show it to as many people as possible who match your target market. However, today’s social media marketing focus allows a more personalized approach for groups and individuals.
Influencer marketing is a social media marketing segment that takes a personal approach to a new level. Because influencers depend on their followers’ trust, they prioritize promoting high-quality, above-board products and services. They won’t risk their reputations to make a quick buck. The relationship between a social media star and the brand they represent is crucial. A professional relationship based on trust can boost a brand’s visibility and an influencer’s credibility — and ultimately improve a brand’s relationship with its target audience.
We’ll examine the benefits of building quality relationships in influencer marketing arrangements and share tips for improving both new and existing relationships.
Influencer marketing refers to the marketing activities of social media stars and the brands they represent. Influencers have developed large, loyal followings on social media. They’re often celebrities; however, internet-famous influencers are also powerful. They’ve amassed significant audiences who trust their advice and recommendations.
In influencer marketing arrangements, a brand pays an influencer to endorse and mention its offerings in social media posts.
Influencer clout depends largely on audience size. Here’s how influencers are categorized:
While follower counts matter in calculating influencer clout, an engaged social media audiencehttps://www.business.com/articles/5-steps-to-engage-your-audience-on-social-media/ is also crucial. A brand may do better working with a micro-influencer with a highly engaged following than with a macro-influencer with a more aloof audience.
Influencer marketing costs vary wildly. Influencers charge anywhere between $2 and $1 million per post, depending on their audience size, social platforms, industry, niche, follower engagement and other criteria.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub’s State of Influencer Marketing Report, 43 percent of brands spend less than $10,000 annually on influencer marketing; another 22 percent spend between $10,000 and $50,000.
However, influencers are not always paid money. Almost 30 percent are compensated with free products, nearly 18 percent receive product discounts as compensation, and 11 percent receive a giveaway entry.
Building relationships is an essential part of influencer marketing. When you build a relationship with an influencer, you also strengthen relationships with your target audience — if you choose the right social media star to partner with.
Consider a prominent example of what can happen if you don’t prioritize a vital influencer marketing relationship. In 2013, Nike lost its partnership with Stephen Curry to Under Armour because it failed to build a relationship with the future Hall of Famer. Under Armour and Curry are making hundreds of millions together, and Curry plans to stay with the company even after retirement.
Source: Under Armour
While you may not have millions on the line, prioritizing your influencer relationships can affect your bottom line. Here are some ways influencers help businesses grow when brand relationships are strong.
There’s a huge difference between marketing to a general audience and pinpointing your brand’s target audience. The right influencer can help you reach specific individuals who will be highly receptive to your product or offer and more likely to purchase.
Influencers can help you build an audience attuned to your offerings. When you and your influencer have a strong relationship, the influencer is more likely to become a genuine fan of your brand. They’ll convey that enthusiasm to followers who trust them and help you increase sales.
Strong influencer relationships can help boost brand awareness online and build brand authority. Every time an influencer engages with your brand or shares a post, they help you reach a much larger audience than you would have on your own.
As your influencer marketing relationship grows deeper and more trusting, the influencer will be more likely to review your products or produce sponsored content, helping their followers discover your brand and its offerings.
According to the Oracle report cited above, 37 percent of consumers trust social media influencers over brands — and Gen Z and millennials are twice as likely as boomers to trust influencers. If you build a strong influencer marketing relationship, they’ll be more authentic when they promote or endorse your brand — and their audience will pick up on this authenticity. Your brand can piggyback on the influencer’s high trust levels to win more customers.
If you align your brand with trusted influencers, you automatically change public perceptions. Instead of you sending messages directly to your audience, the influencer filters and authenticates your messages for you.
Strong influencer relationships can pave the way for connections with other relevant influencers. In addition to generating more sales leads, influencers you’ve bonded with could introduce you to other businesses and influencers in the space. You can gain new and interesting connections that greatly benefit your business.
Here’s an example of using influencer marketing to gain new connections: Marketing software company Traackr helped the online travel site Travelocity establish more human and authentic connections with its audience. Travelocity wanted to destroy the perception that online travel agencies are cold and transactional. Traackr and Travelocity collaborated with influencers to create content to boost brand visibility, inviting influencers to value-driven events to create rapport.
The Travelocity team maintained ongoing strategic partnerships with key influencers, joining forces for promotions like the Travelocity Roaming Gnome. This promotion resulted in an impressive 1,200 percent surge in brand impressions and a 1,000 percent increase in brand mentions.
It’s not enough to maintain good relationships with influencers. You must prioritize relationships with the audience members who become your customers. Win them over with your product quality and excellent customer service. If you don’t first establish customer relationships, buyers may abandon your brand if the influencer stops promoting your product.
When you build relationships with influencers and customers, you’ll improve customer retention and ensure repeat business.
Your influencer marketing relationships must be genuine. Consider the following tips for building authentic, trusting influencer marketing relationships:
Jennifer Dublino contributed to this article.