The marketing trend that has been garnering the most attention online in recent years has to be influencer marketing. This unwieldy new term signifies a fairly old idea, namely that of celebrity endorsement.
Influencer marketing works something like this: a well-known person uses their social capital to promote a particular service or product, thus furthering the marketing goals of the company which offers the products and services. The only difference between influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement seems to be the reluctance to call individuals with big online followings celebrities.
There are so many online personas with legions of followers, it’s easy to find a person tailor-made to promote a particular brand. In real life, celebrities are usually big names from the world of popular culture, whereas influencers can be associated with basically any field of interest, from home improvement or wilderness survival, to science or video gaming.
Influencer marketing can, therefore, be said to use the same strategies as celebrity branding and endorsement, albeit with a greater range of possibilities when it comes to finding the right influencer for the job.
Here’s a quick guide on how to successfully use influencer marketing to promote your business.
1. Find The Right Person
The first step in implementing a successful influencer marketing campaign is to find a match for your target audience. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes.
Want to find someone in your niche? Do a quick search on YouTube on any given topic and parse the top 10 results. Here you will find individuals whose channels boast thousands to millions of subscribers, all of whom are waiting to hear their favorite online personality’s opinions.
If your company is selling a product or service similar to those that a particular influencer covers online, this is your first clue on who to contact. Next, do research on the influencer in question, which involves inspecting their websites, blogs, and social media profiles. Take a note of the size of their following, the kind of content they produce, including technical format and stylistic form, what opinions they are vocal about, and how professional their overall operation seems to be.
2. Establish Contact
After deciding that a given influencer is the right fit for your brand, approach them with an offer. Influencers interact with many people on daily basis as a part of their job, so getting their attention involves a degree of skill.
Try to open up a conversation by sending an email introducing your company, the specific details of your offer, and the services you would expect from them. Don’t be pushy, and give them time to respond before sending a follow-up email. Your offer should include concrete incentives, as no one will work for you for free. Direct payment can work in some cases, while in others free product samples, sneak previews, press-passes, and similar goods are the way to go.
Make sure you clearly establish what kind of services you will be expecting from them, whether that’s direct mentions, backlinks to your product pages, reviews, or other services.
3. Track Progress
Once you create a collaboration, track the progress of your investment. You should know beforehand what kind of results you’re after. If you’re growing links for your white label SEO strategy, make sure you’re tracking relevant metrics, such as keyword rankings, traffic, and conversions. Revenue and sales data is important for e-commerce operations, as are social network shares, likes, and subscriptions for media-oriented companies.
If you run into unexpected results, such as negligible gains or even losses, assess the situation. Is the influencer acting according to contract? Is his audience more niche than you previously thought? Does your sales pitch not translate well into the influencer’s content format? Questions like these will help you establish what went wrong, allowing you to implement adequate solutions, including reaching out to a different influencer, renegotiating your contract, or changing your overall marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for promoting your brand online. Having a community spokesman or advocate for your products and services is an effective way of spreading the word about your company, without relying on traditional advertising. People are much more likely to follow the opinion of someone they perceive as an authority than the sales pitch of a company they know nothing about. Leverage this by reaching out to influencers as part of your digital marketing campaign.