We’ll start with the basics- what is influencer marketing. Then we’ll move into choosing your influencer- how to decide what influencers fit with your brand, where to find them, and what happens after you find them. We’ll wrap things up with a couple of pros and cons- what works and what doesn’t when it comes to influencer marketing. Influencer marketing can be a confusing place, we’re here to demystify the channel. Keep reading…
What is Influencer Marketing:
First of all, what is an influencer? An influencer is typically a person who has the ability to influence the behavior or opinions of others, in our case the influencer is the individual whose effect on the purchase decision is in some way significant or authoritative. Our friends at Global Yodel Media Group define it beautifully:
- Influence- The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
- Marketing- The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.
- Influencer marketing- is simply the action of promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) who have the capacity to have an effect on the character of a brand.
The purpose of influencer marketing is to place a marketing focus on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential customers and orients marketing activities around these influencers. Why take such a roundabout approach? In the game of life, people are more willing to trust people they can relate to rather than trusting big brands where they never truly see what’s behind the logo.
Choosing your influencer
In short, finding the right influencer is probably the most important part of influencer marketing. Despite all advantages of the channel, if you don’t partner with the right influencers this could be a wasted investment. How do you avoid this pitfall? Avoid using single-metric definitions like unique visitors or Twitter followers as a measure of influence, you’ve got to look deeper. Here are five things to look for when identifying influencers for your brand:
- Relevance- Before you even begin to look at unique visitors and static metrics, it’s imperative you look at how this influencer’s content is aligned with your brands messaging. If they’re nowhere close, don’t waste your time looking at the numbers.
- Engagement- How connected with their audience is the potential influencer? Do followers respond, comment, and/or share the potential influencer's content? How much readers engage with the publisher and how often they return are good indicators of meaningful relationships.
- Reach- While it’s not the most important metric, reach is certainly a valid form of measurement. Just remember you should resist the urge to only look at unique visitors as a measure of reach. Traffic and followers are only meaningful if the influencer is reaching your brand's target audience.
- Frequency- As with many other channels, there is a direct correlation between how often a potential influencer posts and their traffic and rate of returning visitors. Remember, it typically takes multiple exposures to get a visitor to click and convert, the same is true for influencer marketing.
- Authenticity- Today’s customer is savvy, as soon as they realize they’re being sold to they’re out. Authenticity is HUGE. Personal stories that include a genuine use of mention of a product, service, or brand are more trusted than straight product reviews.
How do I find an influencer? Then what?
There are a few avenues you can take to find your influencer.
- Google, call it old school but this is the hunt and peck method of influencer discovery. Totally doable, but extremely time intensive and not always accurate.
- Influencer marketing platforms or databases, these nifty sites will do a lot of the heavy lifting, filtering out influencers that don’t match your brands and providing you with helpful insights on their reach, audience, engagement, and so on.
- Networking, influencer networks are becoming more and more popular because they minimize the effort that brands need to contribute. Agencies, PR firms, and start-ups are creating influencer networks centered around particular topics. Brands just have to find the right network.
- Marketplace- similar to databases but different, marketplaces bring both sides of the online influencer equation together- Influencers and Brands. Think of it as the matchmaker approach to influencer marketing.
Okay, so the above lists how to find your influencer(s) now what? Regardless of which method you use to find your influencer, it’s important to build a relationship with said influencer BEFORE you need them. Get to know them, let them get to know your brand. The more you can humanize the relationship means you’ll get more authentic and quality content in return.
What Works:A clear game plan is everything! Here are three tips to kick things off the right way-
- BE ORGANIZED, arm yourself with a strategy and process that will be followed during the duration of time that you and the influencer are working together.
- Schedule, schedule, and schedule. Scheduling should be a priority from the start of a contract or agreement with another partner in any part of your brand.
- Newsletters, emails, PR timelines are all the things that should be on the list of top priorities when working with an influencer as well.
What Doesn’t Work:
While there is so much out there that really works and resonates with this channel, there are a few things worth noting that really don’t work when it comes to influencer marketing. The throwing an idea at a wall and seeing what sticks approach will never work for this channel. You have to be strategic and make plays that will work for you in the end.
Expecting quick results will only leave you disappointed, this is not a get rich quick approach. It takes time, you have to nurture your influencer relationships, test new influencers and adjust your strategy and approach constantly. Persistence is key and teaming up with qualified experts, like Digital Operative, make all the difference.
Influencer marketing is a slow process, but with the correct approach, a keen eye for influencers who match your brand's beliefs, and a little persistence success is within your grasp. Digital Operative has helped brands across various genres connect and align with influencers across a number of social platforms. Think influencer marketing could be right for you? Reach out! We’d be happy to help you get connected with the right people.
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