Influence marketing has become the newest craze within the marketing and advertising realm—and for a good reason.
With the enormous popularity of social media and the decline of traditional advertising, brands are looking to approach their customers from a new angle.
By focusing on one person with a large social media presence, a brand can reach new audiences and create more conversions than any other current form of advertising.
As a brand, what should you look for when finding that key influencer?
#1 – Relevancy.
Above all else, influencer marketing truly succeeds in reaching target audiences.
A TV commercial can be targeted towards certain people, based on the shows they are watching—and the same goes for a website and social media advertisements.
But influencer marketing lets a brand connect directly with their target audience like no other form of advertising can.
By focusing on a single influencer that embodies your brand, you can reach a target audience of dedicated followers who are interested in the content that this person is putting out.
If a famous soccer player with fifty million Instagram followers posts about how much he loves his cleats—striving athletes and fans will listen.
Remember that influencers are part of an “opt-in” network. Their audience has chosen to follow them—they are actively seeking out their content on a regular basis.
So the key to finding the right influencer is first to figure out exactly what your brand is, and what audience would be most interested in your brand.
From there, look at the major influencers within that niche. Take the time to analyze an influencer’s audience before diving in.
Make sure that your influencer perfectly embodies your brand, to get a maximum return on your investment.
Trust, Authenticity, and Engagement
What is the most efficient way to get someone to buy something? Have a friend or family member recommend it to them.
A study from Forrester Research found that 70% of consumers trusted brand or product recommendations from their friends or family.
Advertisements on websites?
A measly 10%.
While an influencer is not technically a friend or family member—they are often close to it.
Devoted followers of social media influencers often feel as if they know the person.
They are up-to-date on their daily activities. They know who their friends and family members are. They know where they just went on vacation, what they ate for dinner last weekend.
This amount of engagement and interaction creates a level of trust and authenticity that is unparalleled compared to other forms of advertising.
A good influencer engages their followers—they reply to comments, post frequently, asks their followers what they want to see next.
Most importantly, they deliver fresh, original content on a regular basis.
When looking for an influencer, keep growth rates in mind.
An influencer with 100,000 followers on a three-year-old account is great.
An influencer with 100,000 followers on a one-year-old account? That shows that they are doing something right—and can attract a lot of attention to themselves.
It is important to find influencers that have developed a strong sense of trust, authenticity, credibility, and loyalty with their followers.
Once that is established, it will never appear as if they are trying to ‘sell’ their followers on anything.
They are simply a friend, recommending a cool brand or product to them.
As we’ve shown, the reason influencer marketing is so successful is that it is not a traditional “sell.”
If influencer marketing is done well, it shouldn’t appear to be marketing at all—no one should feel like they are being sold something. And that is why collaboration is key.
Many brands are hyper-aware of their advertising, which is a good thing! It is, of course, important to oversee your advertising and make sure it is in line with your brand and your overall marketing goals.
But in the case of influencer marketing, it is often beneficial to step away from your current model and let the influencer take part in the creation process.
A collaborative approach is necessary… If a brand forces their marketing model on an influencer—giving them a pre-made post, for example, it will clearly come off as an advertisement.
Younger generations are highly aware of how to detect whether something is an advertisement or not.
They have grown up with it all their lives, and tend to immediately tune out when they sense they are being targeted by an advertisement.
Letting the influencer take a role, or even take charge of the creative process gives an added layer of credibility and authenticity to posts.
Ultimately, it is hard to go wrong when using influencer marketing. If you are seriously considering it for your brand—use these steps as a starting point, and do your research.
But chances are, you will find dramatic improvements right off the bat, compared to your traditional marketing methods.
There is a reason why influencer marketing has become one of the most sought-after forms of marketing by companies around the world.
What are your thoughts? Join the discussion below!