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Marketing’s Next Best Thing: Influencer Marketing

  The buzz around “Influencer marketing” is all over social media and grabbing everyone’s attention. This style of reaching consumers has quickly become one of the most popular forms of marketing, today. What used to be a space saved for only celebrities and a few dedicated bloggers, has become a widely popular market of influencers with both small and large followings. The popularity behind Influencer marketing has us wanting to explore more of what it really is and how you can leverage it for your own brand. Who are influencers? Influencers are people who build up a large following on social media. As with any advertising vehicle there are various levels that relate to the value or investment required to engage these influencers. A network of influencers all reaching 10-15k viewers with high engagement will still be a valuable network. However, many larger brands see influencers of 100-500k followers to be the only appropriate size for their brand advertising. Typically, they have specific niches they focus on whether it be cooking, healthy lifestyles, make-up, golfing, or even being a mom. They have the power to affect the purchasing decision of others because of their authority of knowledge and the relationship they build with their audience. They spend much of their time posting content about the topic that’s specific to their niche on social media, blogs, YouTube, and other platforms. Brands collaborate with influencers to advertise their products based on who their following is and what type of content they post. But, as you may expect, influencer marketing has many nuances that go deeper than just a basic social media post.   So, what is Influencer marketing? At its core, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers. Typically, those influencers have a dedicated social following, and their followers perceive them to be experts in their niche. As humans, we are influenced by what we see, and that’s why influencers have been able to make full-time careers on social media. While influencer marketing is always changing, there is one thing we know that remains constant, and that is the level of trust by followers. A whopping 74% of consumers admit that word-of-mouth recommendations persuade their purchasing decisions; influencers have that equivalent effect on their followers. These influences are more relatable than traditional celebrities. When someone’s favorite YouTube channel star is recommending a skincare product, the likeliness of their loyal followers purchasing that product is extremely high. Influencer marketing takes the old-school method of celebrity endorsement and mashes it up with modern-day content-driven marketing campaigns. The results are driven by the collaboration of the brands and the influencers and it is currently one of the fastest-growing customer acquisition models.   How can you get into the influencer marketing game? Every industry has influential people. Influencer marketing campaigns are about partnering with these experts and leveraging their notoriety in their field to boost your sales. Start your influencer marketing journey with research.
  1. Research the type of influencers you’re interested in. 
Is it an influencer with a massive following you’re looking for? Or is it a micro-influencer with about 3,000 followers that you want to help get the word out on your brand? Your decision will determine your budget, so be strategic. Rates for influencer types vary, keep in mind compensation is specific to how popular the influencer is. It’s often tough to gauge what the return on your investment will be through an influencer marketing campaign.
  1. Decide on a goal and strategy.
Oftentimes, brands want to get involved with an influencer to improve their brand awareness and increase sales. We recommend that you concentrate on setting very specific goals for your brand. Consider goals such as reaching a younger audience or demographic shift or expanding in a specific geographic market or vertical space. Leverage the fact that influences can reach extremely specific audiences. Find the right influencer by clearly defining your goals. This will help ensure your kick-off strategy will reach those most likely to engage with your brands and products.
  1. Contacting the influencer.
Once you have made your plan and have reached the point of contacting your influencer of choice, here are some steps you can take. Reach out to micro-influencers via their social media direct messages and share your interest in partnering up. For bigger influencers, look at their social media bios to see if they have business inquiry contact information listed. The key is to market to the influencer. These brand advocates need to be convinced to advertise your product. Start by actively engaging with their content to grab their attention. While reaching the audience of the influencer is the ultimate goal, the target market for brands is the influencer themselves, so be personable, be kind, and open, because it will grant you access to their large list of followers.   Keep in mind that influencer marketing at its core is the creation of a partnership. It’s about collaborating with influencers to increase your brand awareness. It is not about throwing money at influencers to have them say good things about you. The following they’ve built is because of their authenticity, so keep it real. Do your research, create a strategy, and set goals to find an influencer who already has a trusted relationship with the target demographic you’re looking for. In turn, any post made about your product will serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.
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