- Modern consumers are more driven by social media than traditional advertising and marketing mediums such as TV and radio.
- Marketers consider influencer marketing to be one of the most effective ways to raise brand awareness and boost sales.
- Fandoms are passionate about supporting their favorite social media stars and are willing to spend based on their recommendations.
You’ve probably heard that you can take your business to the next level with influencer marketing. But is this trend anything more than savvy marketing from social media companies? The answer is a resounding yes.
This article explains the power influencers have and explores how they can help increase brand awareness and boost your bottom line. Plus, you’ll discover tips on hiring an influencer and a list of other effective marketing techniques.
Boost Brand Awareness
An influencer’s bread and butter are their social media pages, and they spend most of their time cultivating millions of followers. Partnering with someone with a big following in your niche is a cost-effective, highly targeted way of approaching vast numbers of potential customers.
They’re experts at seamlessly incorporating brand campaigns into their daily posts, reaching people organically. These interactions are more authentic and engaging than clunky, hard-selling ad campaigns — not to mention, they’re a lot cheaper.
Get past ad blockers and skepticism and straight into your target audience’s personal social media feeds with influencer marketing.
Establish Social Proof
Social proof is all about the way people look to those around them for inspiration about how to spend money. Online reviews and referrals are two time-tested methods of delivering social proof, and any business leader or marketing expert knows how effective they can be.1
Influencer marketing is the modern epitome of social proof. And different types of creators can deliver distinct results. For example, bloggers have insider knowledge, vloggers generate huge fandoms, and celebrities and athletes can deliver targeted results specific to their sport or talent.
Reach Your Target Audience
One of the hardest things to do with marketing campaigns is guarantee that they reach your target audience at scale. Many techniques are great at getting your brand name in front of people, but the people are pretty much random. No matter how much you show someone who’s not in your target market, your website, or social media page, they’re unlikely to make a purchase.
With influencer marketing, you get a fast-track pass into the public’s trusted social media feeds. The influencer has already done the work of attracting them, all you need to do is take advantage of their targeted, relevant audience.
Generate Leads and Drive Conversions
Influencer outreach is an excellent way to generate leads, in addition to having the power to inspire conversions. You benefit from their entire audience, creating hype and demand around your product or service. What’s more, an influencer can give you real-world, honest feedback about how their followers respond to your brand. This information can be hugely valuable in shaping future campaigns and ditching the initiatives that don’t work.
But it’s not just awareness that influencers engender. Because their audience trusts them enough to follow them and pay attention to their output, they drive sales and help you make money.2
Of course, the primary aim of any marketing campaign is to drive sales, and influencer marketing can be highly effective. For small businesses, it’s one of the best ways to gain visibility. With the majority of Gen Z and millennials preferring to use smaller, artisan brands than big names, you have a good chance of making an impact.
Branding and engagement-focused influencer marketing campaigns have a better ROI compared to other channels. In other words, the amount of money you make is likely to drastically outshine your spend.3
Develop Mutually Beneficial Partnerships
Collaboration makes brands and celebrities more money than ever before, but long-term relationships and partnerships have always been a holy grail in business. By developing a mutually beneficial relationship with someone who has a similar target audience, you can increase your audience share and learn new ideas from each other about the best ways to reach them.4
Collaborating with an influencer over a longer period builds serious trust and credibility. Retweets, shares, reposts and even memes can provide long-standing brand awareness and ensure they expose your content again and again.
Complement Your Content Strategy
Continually creating content that’s engaging, fresh and on-brand is not easy. But, like influencer marketing, content marketing is a cost-effective and far-reaching strategy — and the two complement each other well. Influencers have already proven that they can attract relevant consumers to their channels using awesome content, and you get to tap into this by working together.
Remember, content marketing is as much about distribution as it is about being compelling. If no one engages, it doesn’t matter how fresh your content is. Influencers have a guaranteed audience directly within your target market and working with them opens their audience’s eyes to your brand.
Save Time and Money
Building your own fan base on social media can take months or even years. Working with an influencer lets you tap into the audience they’ve already taken the time to cultivate, potentially reaching millions of consumers instantly. What’s more, the influencer can even come up with ad campaigns on your behalf, using their insider knowledge of their followers.
The amount of time you can save by having your brand promoted by popular influencers is significant. As a major bonus, it’s much cheaper than other types of targeted ads on social media or search engines. Negotiating a performance-based commission is the most effective way to save money on influencer marketing.
Works for Any Industry
No matter which industry, vertical or niche you operate within, there’s an influencer who can deliver results on your behalf. They’re usually experts in a specific field, whether it’s science, technology, beauty, business, food and drink, traveling, nutrition, or sport.
Provided you work with an influencer whose audience aligns with yours, you can make money through this marketing style. You might not be able to afford Chris Hemsworth like Hugo Boss.5 However, there are plenty of micro-influencers with thousands or millions of followers who can significantly impact your bottom line.
How to Research Influencers
While influencer marketing offers great value for money and immediate results, you must work with the right people. For example, if your values aren’t aligned, you could lose audience share instead of gaining it.
To find a well-matched influencer you can build an authentic, meaningful long-term business relationship with, you should:
- Clearly define what you’re looking for before embarking on a search.
- Take the time to scroll through their social media feeds and analyze how they engage with their following to ensure it aligns with your brand.
- Ensure the comments they post and the media they share is credible and authoritative.
- Check engagement stats to make sure the number of likes and comments are realistic for the number of followers — remember, you can buy followers.
5 Tips for Hiring an Influencer
Once you choose an influencer to work with, it’s time to convince them why they should collaborate with you. Keep in mind that they probably have a lot of traffic in their DMs and inbox, and you might have to get creative to reach them. Being persistent doesn’t hurt either.
Let’s take a look at some more tips:
- Engage with their content in an authentic, meaningful way.
- Use flattery to complement their work but consider offering constructive feedback on something else — remember, the aim is to be mutually beneficial.
- Make it clear how you plan to add value to their brand.
- Don’t be pushy or demanding but make your intentions clear.
- Keep an email to 300 words or fewer and make every word count.
Other Ways to Market Your Business
Influencer marketing is one effective method among many that the internet has opened to businesses of all sizes. To be competitive and reach as many people in your target market as possible, you should have a diverse and expansive strategy incorporating as many as possible.
Let’s look at some of the best:
- Website optimization;
- Local search engine optimization6 — on-page and off-page;
- Facebook lead ads;
- Google Ads with conversion tracking;
- Ad retargeting;
- Live streaming;
- Content marketing, especially purpose-led campaigns, and;
- Email marketing.