Businesses have always hoped for supportive expert opinions and positive word-of-mouth. That’s because customers like to take advice from people they trust and look up to. They listen to suggestions for what to buy and what brands to turn to.
With the Internet, word-of-mouth and expert opinions count even more. People read online reviews and comments. They pay attention to what their friends are sharing on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. They also consult the opinions of notable bloggers and other popular, well-regarded people on social media.
One example of the importance of social media comes from a 2015 Adweek article on whether Facebook or Google drives more referrals to media sites. Web analytics data for major digital publishers pointed to Facebook as the top source of referral traffic.
Influencer Marketing: What Does It Mean for You?
The power of social referrals and online opinions has pushed companies to focus more on Internet influencers as part of their marketing strategy. Influencers aren’t necessarily celebrities the way we traditionally think of actors or popular musicians. But they can still sway opinions, especially within a certain area of expertise.
For example, someone who has established a YouTube channel for recipes, make up advice, travel tips, how-to technology guides or any other appealing topic is a potential influencer. If they’re well-respected and engage with a substantial number of followers, reaching out to them could lead to a substantial boost for your business and brand image.
A recent article from eMarketer reports a growth in influencer marketing popularity, particularly in the US. Marketing and social media professionals generally have plans to incorporate influencer marketing into their overall strategy and to increase their budget for it.
What are some of the key tips for making the most of influencer marketing?
1) Select your metrics carefully
For example, someone may have thousands of followers on Twitter; however, a closer look shows that most of these followers are spam bots or in other ways don’t engage meaningfully with the content shared.
As discussed in a 2014 article from Forbes, you need to look at the relationship an individual has cultivated with their social media followers; you have to assess the potential influencer for respectability and credibility. Maybe they’re often mentioned on other reputable sites or held up as an expert within a particular community. Other metrics to look for include the amount and quality of traffic to their site and their appeal to specific demographics.
Sheer number of followers doesn’t necessarily point to a high-quality influencer. And in cases where you’re working in a small niche market, huge numbers won’t be realistic anyway. You have to look at other factors and get a feel for whether the potential influencer is a good fit for your brand.
2) Compensate influencers properly
The eMarketer article mentions that these days, an increasing number of influencers want monetary payments and not simply freebies or affiliate-type arrangements.
That doesn’t mean that free products or other bonuses will automatically get turned down. What it means is that you have to be prepared to pay cash, especially with influencers who are already in demand.
3) Don’t neglect the “little people”
Remember that even as you focus on cultivating a relationship with notable influencers, you should never neglect people who don’t have a prominent Internet profile. Even without a remarkable online presence, people can exert powerful influence on their family, friends and coworkers, and – thanks to the Internet – on complete strangers too. They can share a beautiful comment that improves your brand image or write a scathing review that gives other customers second thoughts about buying from you.
You should always use your online presence to cultivate a good relationship with potential or existing customers. Anyone can be an influencer to one degree or another.
For further advice and assistance with influencer marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will help you strengthen your online presence by making powerful connections with people.