What do you think of when you hear “influencer marketing?” If you’re like most people, you might think “celebrity endorsement.” And, while you wouldn’t be far from correct, you’d still be, well…wrong.
Two reasons. One, an influencer is not necessarily a celebrity and, two, an influencer is not necessarily seen as an endorser. Hubspot defines influencer marketing as the “employment of leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience.” Given the above, perhaps influencer marketing is a marketing tactic that isn’t as daunting as you may have thought.
So, what then, is an influencer? An influencer is an individual who, through building their own personal brand via social media, has established a reputation as an “expert” in a particular industry. What makes them influential is the following they have built on the web, primarily through various – if not all – social media channels. An influencer can be, for example, a consultant/former banker in the financial industry who regularly posts subject matter expert articles on industry sites, within industry-related LinkedIn groups, and in and on well-regarded industry publications and websites.
Influencer marketing has taken on a new importance recently. This importance has been a long time coming. After all, traditional marketing, i.e., advertising, along with more traditional tactics, such as out of home and broadcast, have been going the way of the dinosaur for quite a while and, in their place, are tactics and channels that offer brands the opportunity to build and maintain relationships. The emphasis in today’s marketing arena is on building connections and trust, not sales. Build connections and trust, sales will follow.
Does it really work?
So, what proof is there that this “influencer marketing” thing really works? As the old saying goes, numbers never lie, and influencermarketing.com lays it out like this:
- 80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
- 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
- 49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions, while 60% say they’ve been influenced by a recommendation when shopping in-store.
- Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew 1500% in the last three years.
- 48% of marketers working with influencers say audience relationship is the most valuable factor when considering which influencer to collaborate with.
- Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate 8x ROI.
- The top three goals of influencer marketing for businesses include increasing brand awareness (85%), reaching new audiences (71%), and generating sales and conversions (64%).
How do you find the right influencer?
The most straightforward way to go about an influencer search is with the help of Google (or any search engine). Remember, an influencer is already creating content relevant to your industry and reaching your target audience. So, a Google search for industry-related terms and keywords will surface experts in those areas.
Search various social media platforms. Influencers often have an online profile that will tell you a great deal about them.
Look for influencers on social media who regularly post content that’s compatible with your brand image, as well as the products/services you offer. Make note not just of the author’s name but the names of any sources cited.
If you’re looking to hire a specific celebrity influencer, you can find them… but, you’ll probably need to go through their agent.
Seek Professional Help
Like any marketing tactic or platform, Influencer marketing is an investment. It takes time and money to seek out and secure a relationship with the right influencer for your brand and product. In order to make certain that your time, and money, are well spent, you might consider engaging a professional marketing agency that can assist you in building a social media marketing strategy; one that includes influencers.