How Your Business Can Benefit from Influencer Marketing
The problem with advertising is that consumers simply don’t trust it as a source of unbiased information about products and services, and that includes digital as well as traditional advertising channels. According to a study by the Nielsen Company, personal recommendations from friends and family is trusted by 84 percent of online consumers, followed by branded websites at 69 percent, and online reviews at 68 percent. Everything else, including television and radio commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, paid search result ads, and social media ads, comes in further down the list of the most trusted advertising channels.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the process of identifying and cultivating a marketing relationship with certain individuals who have an ability to influence the buying behavior of others for certain product categories and brands. Influencers include celebrities, popular bloggers, and in some cases “ordinary consumers” who have managed to build a reputation for themselves as an authority for certain industries and niches.
While influencer marketing is similar to word-of-mouth advertising, it doesn’t necessarily contain an explicit personal recommendation. Influencers combine a strong relationship with their followers with a demonstrated expertise for the industry or niche they represent.
Can Influencer Marketing Help My Business?
Businesses of all types and sizes can reap the benefits of influencer marketing. It has the demonstrated ability to reach prospective customers with a degree of trust unmatched by any other form of marketing communication. Specifically, influencer marketing can
- Help you reach more target customers more effectively. Carefully selected influencers who are actively engaged with your target audience can help drive new prospects to your site who are predisposed to reading your branded messages.
- Complement your other marketing efforts, helping increase brand awareness among new prospects.
- Provide fresh content created by influencers that can be reused across your other marketing channels, telling your brand’s story from a new and unique perspective.
- Boost your SEO efforts by providing a new source of powerful authority backlinks.
How to Get Started with Influencer Marketing
1. Define the goals for your influencer marketing campaign. These will typically be related to creating brand awareness. Specific metrics might include the number of organic mentions, engagement on social media channels, or unique visitors to your website.
2. Identify the top influencers for your industry or niche. A Google search for your primary industry or niche keywords should yield a list of people who are talking about your industry – but it’s a tedious and time-consuming task. A few tools that will greatly speed up the process of identifying influencers for practically any topic or niche include NOD3X (nod3x.com), Authority Spy (authorityspy.com) and Littlebird (getlittlebird.com). To keep things manageable, cull your final list to 10 to 20 influencers.
3. Follow each potential influencer through their respective social channels and blogs. The idea at this stage is to absorb as much information as possible about the size and quality of each influencer’s following, as well as how each influencer interacts with other branded products.
4. Begin to engage with your prospective influencers by commenting on their blogs and communicating via their social media channels. Start off with insightful comments about your niche – save your company sales pitch for later.
5. After you’ve established a degree of rapport, begin to introduce your brand’s messaging. Let them know that you’re interested in expanding your brand’s reach, and would welcome their input. Invite them to become a contributor to your content marketing efforts as a guest poster on your company blog.