When you’re shopping around for a product or service, how do you determine where to purchase from? For all of consumer history, people have sought advice on purchasing decisions from friends and family — trusted individuals within their social networks. Today isn’t much different. Now, however, our social networks have grown and the influencer marketing platform has expanded. They include not only the people we know outside of our screens, but also those whom we follow online – influencers.

Social media has created a gigantic opportunity for companies to advertise their products within pockets of similar people. This method makes pinpointing and accessing target markets easier. It is also full of potential pitfalls, as it pertains to working with influential individuals who have their own established agendas.

This raises the question: how can businesses successfully collaborate with influencers while still maintaining brand authenticity and integrity?

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing capitalizes on the idea that we are more likely to rely on people we trust for advice about purchasing decisions. Even though social media influencers aren’t people we necessarily know well, their presence online makes us feel as if we know them, and soon, we’re buying the laundry detergent they use, simply because they made a post about it.

So, what makes these people special?

An influencer can be anyone who has acquired a following within a particular niche and who also holds the power to affect the purchasing behavior of others, either because of his or her authority, knowledge, or relationship with his or her audience. That’s why selecting an influencer whose online presence coincides with your brand identity is essential to the success of your marketing campaign. You are more likely to be remembered if the influencer really has an understanding of your campaign and can sell it to potential clients in the best way they know how.

These individuals are ideal for brands looking to gain recognition from consumers who fall within their specific niche. Companies leverage the reach of influencers through co-creation of content or product endorsements, and it works well.

Is it Worth Trying?

There are a plethora of statistics about the effectiveness of incorporating influencers into marketing strategies, and they speak for themselves.

For example, 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective. The consumer’s perspective may be even more convincing: about 40% of people reported they purchased a product online after seeing it used or promoted by an influencer on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter.

Infographic about influencer marketing success statistics

Source: MediaKix

Influencer marketing is so desirable because it has the potential to do a lot for businesses, both in terms of brand awareness and direct response (sales/conversions, lead generation, etc.). The benefits are alluring, however there are several important factors to consider before diving in head first.

Tips for Incorporating Influencers into Your Marketing Strategy

Formulate Clear Goals

As with any new marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to start by determining your goals and KPI’s. Are you aiming to increase your follower count on a specific social media channel? Is your hope to generate a certain number of sales directly from this collaboration? Make your goals specific and reasonable.

Another important consideration is your target market. Ask yourself if there is a community online which overlaps with that market. Then, see who is effectively reaching and engaging people within that crowd.

Pay Attention to Follower Count

When on the hunt for an influencer, you may think the person with the highest amount of followers would have the farthest reach, but marketing with micro-influencers, those with between 5,000 and 100,000 followers, is actually proven to show better conversion rates. These “smaller” influencers are more cost-effective, making them the perfect option for startups or first partnerships. They also have highly specific niches and are all around better at engaging their audiences. Ideally, you could make an arrangement with an influencer who has a humble amount of followers, who then grows in popularity soon after they post your campaign thanks to Socialfollow® or a variety of things that could throw them into the spotlight, therefore more exposure for your product or service at no additional cost.

Carefully Consider Your Platform

Lastly, there are a variety of different platforms to consider when searching for a great influencer. Instagram is always a safe bet, especially for companies wishing to engage younger audiences. YouTube is an exceptional option because of its versatility and the engaging nature of video; when researching a purchase decision, 4 out of 5 millennials say that they will look for video content first.

The trend in utilizing the influence of online figures to market products has left some platforms so saturated with advertisements that users are beginning to feel overwhelmed and tired of constantly being targeted for sales. When considering influencer marketing as an option for your brand, it’s important to consider whether there are existing influencers within your target niche whose style and content are already in line with your brand. That way, you can strategically place content that catches the eyes of your target audience without sacrificing authenticity.

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