Sometimes all I need is a little push to make a purchase: I’m needing a new eyeliner, and then almost on cue—a Bobbi Brown how-to video pops up on my Instagram feed. I watch the video showing the product application (Bobbi makes it look easy). Then I click the link, add the liner to my cart, and check out.
Behold the power of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is great for driving B2C sales, but it also helps improve brand awareness, increase website and social media traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience. Whether you’re selling destination vacations or tax prep services, tequila or makeup, influencer marketing is a smart tool to add to your social media program.
Because it uses content creators who are already connected to, and have a relationship with, your target audience, you can seamlessly expand your brand reach, delivering your message using their influence: 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources. (HubSpot)
If you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the influencer marketing pool, keep these tips in mind as you get started:
- Have a plan. Engaging influencers to promote your brand should be managed like every other element of your integrated marketing strategy: With intent. Make sure to incorporate these social media touches as part of a well-planned, strategically-timed content marketing plan.
- Get real. Your customers expect authenticity and transparency from you—so choose wisely: Do your research to find an influencer whose values are in alignment with your brand. The same rule applies to content: Be purposeful about what you post. Audiences want to see content that reflects their own reality, so be sure that your influencer content is an authentic representation of your brand, and those who embrace it.
- Think long-term. In 2020, long-term influencer relationships will become the norm, rather than contracting on a campaign-by-campaign basis. This long-standing connection between the influencer and your brand will help to establish authority and authenticity in sponsored content, which will draw your audience closer to your brand.
- Get small. Also on trend is the shift away from big-name celebrity influencers. By engaging with micro-influencers, you’ll benefit from small-group marketing, with your brand reaping the rewards of highly intentional, laser-targeted content consumption. Again, your goal is to make memorable brand connections with your target audience using these influencer touches—and studies show that consumers relate to micro-influencers because not only are they more relatable, they genuinely know and love your products.
- Start inside. Some brands are using their employees and customers as advocates or ambassadors—a strategy you might decide to employ based on budget, or to create a stronger relationship with your existing customers. These “organic” influencers are already familiar with your brand and products/services, which saves you time and effort in onboarding. For compensation, you might offer special discounts, free brand swag, limited edition or special merchandise, special event invitations, etc.
- Lead with video. In the year ahead, video will play an even bigger role in influencer marketing, just as it will in other channels, based on its engagement factor: 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support (HubSpot, 2018).
Influencer marketing is a major force in the marketing industry that shows no signs of slowing. For a comprehensive overview, check out this HubSpot article. It’s a great reference: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-work-with-influencers
If you’re interested in learning more, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.