Marketing online provides a unique set of challenges, but there are equally unique opportunities. There are no traditional celebrities online, and ‘professional’ media institutions like CNN and The New York Times have to compete with independent authorities like bloggers and social media stars.
These people, known as influencers, can help boost your exposure, traffic, and sales, just by posting relevant content about your company or products. By using their authority in your space, their followers and yours will be more inclined to trust and try your business. The concept is pretty simple, but implementing influencer marketing takes a little preparation.
We know influencer marketing uses the power of an influential person’s endorsement to boost sales online. Because online authorities differ from traditional marketing targets, we refer to them as influencers, but they can be anyone from a real life professional and expert to a well-known blogger (sometimes they’re one in the same!).
Once you have an influencer on board to endorse your product or service, you have to determine what the content will be and how it will be marketed. Will you simply send a sample in hopes a YouTube star will talk about it in their next video? Or will you build a relationship with them over time and coax full-length articles or reviews from them to post on your site?
Influencer marketing is a loose term for optimizing the relationship between businesses and online authorities. It’s a growth tactic to reach new audiences and appeal to existing customers.
Social media is a natural hub for consumers and influencers alike. These are places where people don’t expect to be advertised to but where appropriate advertising can still be incredibly effective. Visual media is particularly effective, so the best places to start searching for influencers include:
Pinterest and Instagram: Both these platforms revolve around beautiful, engaging photos. What’s better, the most successful stars of Pinterest and Instagram can have millions of followers. While these are the best places to post a review or blog, your product being seen with a Pinterest star, or having an artistic photo taken of your product by a popular Instagramer can bring serious traffic to your business. There are even tools which allow these influencers to easily link back to your product pages from pictures, so customers just have to see, point and click.
Youtube: Did you know Youtube is the world’s second most popular search engine? Youtube stars post regular videos to millions of fans world over and are considered authorities by their followers. Being featured in one of their videos, or featuring them in one of yours, is an excellent way to use influencer marketing. Look for Youtube users who have similar values and who post relevant content to your business.
Be aware that some people “fluff” their numbers by buying followers. Be smart and make sure the person is truly popular by investigating their post feedback.
Once you start getting positive responses from your influencers, what’s the best way to utilize their voice? Here are some examples of how to use influencer endorsement:
• Guest posts: Have your influencer write a piece for your website, and use excerpts from it to post to social media, with a link to the full piece. You can also send these pieces as part of your email marketing strategy.
• Encourage visual media: Photos and videos are much better at catching the attention of your audience, so don’t let any potential endorsement go unnoticed because there isn’t a picture to accompany the story.
• Post Exchange: Guest posts are good but content exchange is better! Ask if you can’t develop a piece for their site in exchange for their own content.
• Interview: Interviews are a great soft-sell approach that will build confidence in your audience that you are not only endorsed by a reliable source, but that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy as well.
Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept, but it could be a new approach for your business. Be part of the future of marketing by starting an influencer campaign today!