Celebrity endorsements have been a staple of advertising and marketing for generations. It works because of celebrities' image and the trust that their followers place in their recommendations. Influencer marketing works on the same lines, except the influencers, who have not achieved fame in movies, sports, literature, or the other common paths to stardom. Influencers have no such claim to fame - they are people who have built up a dedicated following on social media because of the value readers place on what they post. This translates into faith in the influencer's judgment and a willingness to follow advice on using products and services.
How to Use Influencer Marketing
If you are looking to use influencer marketing to promote your online presence and/or products, you need to understand a few basic steps before you get started.
- Finding and Paying Influencers: Research what is happening on social media concerning your industry. Some platforms are more suited to certain businesses than others. For example, YouTube and Instagram are where you will find the most media activity on fashion, beauty, and similar products. Once you find the most active platforms, start looking for influencers. The size of the following will determine the amount you will have to pay. A big celebrity may ask for huge amounts, which will not be possible for you. Then there are the midrange influencers with 10 to 20K followers. At the bottom end, and the cheapest, are those with under 5K followers. If you have a limited budget, start small and increase your spending as the revenues rise.
- Who Are the Right Influencers? Look for influencers that already post about your industry - they will know what you need. Check their posts to see the level and effectiveness of their engagement with followers. The more time you invest in vetting influencers, the better the likelihood of their producing results.
- Managing Influencers: Part of your budgeting will be deciding on the ROI (return on investment) you expect for the payments you make. Once you have that done, you need to think about managing the influencers you are paying. Remember that they are not marketing or advertising professionals. They know that they are being paid to promote your product or service, but they will have their ways of doing this. In the initial stages, you will need to spend time with each influencer to tell him/her about your product/service, the aspects you want to highlight, the areas to avoid, the kind of increase in sales you expect from their efforts, etc. Accept their feedback - they know social media, and their inputs can be valuable. Settling into a smooth working relationship with influencers takes time and patience. Keep in mind that they will have other products they are promoting, and their attention is not focused only on you.
- Know Your Goals: You want to increase sales and profits through social influencing. However, do not look at this only as a numbers game where success is measured only in increased turnover. Social media is a strong marketing tool. Use it to expand your customer demographic or to introduce yourself to new user groups. Use the influencers to talk not just about what you offer but about the values behind your brand.
- Keep Refining Strategy: Social media influencing is an ongoing process. Keep refining your strategy to ensure that what you are doing remains relevant and functional in the context of evolving social norms and technology.
Social media influencing is a complicated process. Success takes experience and specialized knowledge. Using a specialized content development company to handle your social media will maximize the potential while freeing you to devote your time and resources to other aspects of your business.