Working with influencers to promote your brand
When talking about matters of marketing, ‘influencer’ is the buzzword of the moment.
A quick look at Google trends shows that searches for the term are continuing to increase, with no signs of slowing down:
According to research published by Hubspot, 94% of marketers said influencer marketing was an effective campaign. Subsequently, the research tipped budgets for influencer marketing to double in 2017.
We bet you still have some questions. Keep reading for more on influencers, and how they can work wonders to promote your brand.
What is an influencer?
The folks at Econsultancy sum this up quite nicely:
The clue is in the name: essentially (influencers) are individuals who have the ability to influence the opinions or buying decisions of your target audience, largely thanks to their social media following.
Influencer outreach, sometimes called influencer marketing, is a type of PR. Like traditional PR, it involves persuading influential voices to speak about your brand. However, instead of being a newspaper or magazine, these influential voices are people. Influencer marketing means getting an ‘influencer’ to recommend your product or service to their loyal community of followers.
Influencer outreach is a new PR technique that reflects the shifting media landscape. Today, anyone with a smartphone and an opinion can report on the news.
Likewise, an influencer needn’t be a celebrity. It can be anyone with a loyal community of followers, whether that be readers of their blog or social media followers. In fact, research from MuseFind shows that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than a celebrity endorsement.
Why should my brand use influencers?
Influencers have real power to shape consumers’ buying decisions. According to McKinsey, recommendations are the driving force behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.
Consumers are also becoming more resistant to traditional marketing methods channels. With 47% of customers now using AdBlock technology, and 65% believing there should be more limits on advertising and marketing, it can be difficult for brands to get through to consumers. Influencer marketing is a great way to get around these barriers organically. While the influencer de jour may change, consumers will always have a genuine interest in keeping up to date with what’s ‘cool’ and current.
How do I get started?
How your brand goes about influencer marketing all depends what you want to achieve.
Each sector has their own influencers. If your sector is niche, you may have to do some research, but influencers in ‘popular’ sectors will be easy to find. The key is to find influencers that are followed closely by your target audience. Brandwatch explain
If you sell foreign exchange software, getting Justin Bieber to tweet about your brand is not going to drive much business.
To be effective, influencer outreach needs to be as targeted as possible.
Once you have identified the influencer you want to work with, the next step is approaching them about collaboration. Being frank, some influencers will want payment. Others might want a free sample. Many bloggers will make it clear on their website their terms for collaborating with brands, but for social media influencers you will have to ask.
Regardless of whether they’d like compensation, influencers will only ever collaborate with brands that represent a good fit with their followers. If your brand isn’t relevant, don’t waste your time. Likewise, most influencers have high standards of integrity. They might agree to review your product, but it will be an honest review. If there are glitches in your product, don’t expect them not to notice. Influencer outreach can guarantee exposure, but be aware you can’t control the content.
As you might expect, influencers with more followers or readers will typically charge more for collaboration opportunities. However, you don’t always need to collaborate with the most popular influencer to get the best results. Smaller influencers will not only be cheaper, but they will often be more flexible about the how they collaborate with brands. While their reach may not be as wide as ‘cult influencers’, their community is still a loyal one, and their influence is valuable.
Are there other kinds of influencers?
Great question! Yes: your existing customers can be valuable influencers when it comes to attracting new customers.
As we mentioned above, word of mouth is a powerful factor in influencing buying decisions. Data from AdWeek supports this. They found that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even strangers, above branded content.
If you don’t already, try using positive customer reviews as part of your marketing. Platforms such as Feefo, and Bazaarvoice make it easy to collect customer feedback and promote these reviews in your marketing. These platforms won’t work for everyone, so if you sell a more abstract concept or service, consider creating thorough client case studies or testimonials for your website.
Shout it from the rooftops
Whatever your proposition, influencer outreach can be a valuable tool for gaining brand exposure.
The best thing about working with influencers is that they’re just normal people. They’re usually friendly and helpful, and they’re simply blogging or vlogging because they love doing it. Send a quick ‘hello’ email to a few target influencers, and you’ll probably be surprised how much you get back.
For brands looking for a more exhaustive approach to raising brand awareness, most PR agencies will include influencer outreach in a campaign where it will help meet your business goals. If in doubt, get in touch and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about influencer marketing.