What is Influencer Marketing and how can you use it to grow your business’s audience?

– 94% said influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy (LINQIA, 2017)

– consumers seem to trust influencers more than celebrities, because without the fame aura, they can relate to them better
– 75% of Instagram users are inspired to act after viewing a post, usually by visiting the company’s website (Instagram Advertising Statistics)

An influencer is an individual who has an above-average impact on a specific niche process. Influencers are normal people, who are often connected to key roles of media outlets, consumer groups, industry associations or community tribes.” (Influencer Analysis)

Influencer marketing is known as a form of marketing where the focus is centred around influential people and the power they have over potential buyers, rather than the target market itself. It can take the form of brand ambassadors, paid partnerships, social media campaigns, or content creation. Even if it’s been around for a while, it’s slowly starting to become more and more used by marketers, who are realising this strategy often works better than traditional advertising and marketing, due to increasing consumer skepticism.

Gerardo Dada, marketing strategist, states that there’s a misconception in what concerns influencer marketing is that it targets people with a large following. Even though that may imply the message reaches more people, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective – the purpose of this approach is changing people’s behaviours and influence their perceptions, after all.

Simply put, an influencer is for a marketer ”someone who helps other people buy from you” (Dada, 2017). The way they manage to do that is by having three key qualities: reach (the ability to deliver a message to a large number of people), contextual credibility (the level of trust and authority given by the audience) and salesmanship (the presence and communication style allowing them to understand and embrace a point of view.

Some ways marketers use influencer marketing could be either by paying them to borrow their credibility and familiarity to sell a product (also known as celebrity endorsement) or by borrowing their following – paying someone to advertise a product, although this doesn’t maximise influencer marketing opportunities. The ultimate goal in this type of collaboration is advocacy, when an influencer speaks about your product because they want to, not because they are being paid to, because it should be honest and authentic. That’s why, in order to be effective, it takes time, dedication and focus, but it reaches its goal to create awareness, interest and action in your consumer base.

So how can you use influencer marketing for your business and optimize the reach of your marketing? Here are some steps you can follow to make sure you make this work for you:

– make sure you know who your audience is, you can do that by defining their demographics, which play a huge role in the customer’s interest and acceptance of influencer marketing.
– find an influencer with a similar target audience, and whose image is respresentative of what your brand wants to portray.
– social listening – monitor online conversations for mention of select keywords related to your brand, your products, your industry, your competitors etc.
– what role will the influencer have during the campaign?
– ask yourself who you would trust for business or product recommendations, maybe it might not be the blogger with the largest following.
– look at key metrics like fans, followers and subscribers, as well as conversations and shares.
– tap into location specific influencer marketing, which can narrow your focus and increase efficiency.
– make sure you’re putting a unique message out there and that you’re using the relevant channels.

So whether you’re aiming to grow your reach, or just to increase engagement with your audience, influencer marketing is a must for any business right now.

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