With Google reporting a 5000% increase in searches, Influencer Marketing has exploded in popularity - and it's here to stay. With that popularity, though, there's been a concurrent rise in misconceptions about what exactly it is. And with so many conflicting messages about the ‘right way’ to engage social audiences, you might feel like Influencer Marketing is impossible to master.
But when done correctly, Influencer Marketing is the perfect way to create authentic relationships with your customers.
Before understanding how to use Influencer Marketing, however, you have to first understand what it is and what it isn't.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing isn't about working with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez.
It isn't about having the largest social following.
And it isn't about paid endorsements and sponsorships.
In short, Influencer Marketing isn't about paying for influence. It's about earning it.
For years, brands focused on using celebrity sponsorships to boost their sales. As social media erupted and stars turned to the internet to interact with their fans, brands naturally followed them, paying celebrities to publish sponsored posts on their accounts. But even though celebrities are talking directly to their followers, it still isn't authentic - and consumers can see through the facade. In fact, according to eMarketer, particularly large audiences are more passive when measuring likes and comments. When looking to influencers with smaller audiences we consistently find significantly HIGHER engagement rates.
Don’t be fooled by big numbers alone.
That's why there's been a shift in the marketing space as brands turn away from paid Influencer Marketing and toward organic Influencer Marketing. Influencer Marketing is about creating authentic, long-lasting relationships with your customers and influencers. It's about treating influencers like people instead of numbers or means to an end.
At its core, Influencer Marketing is about human interaction and personal recommendations. Have you ever visited a restaurant or checked out a new movie because of a suggestion by a friend or family member? That's Influencer Marketing at work. Creating authentic relationships with people who already love your brand and turning them into customers and advocates for your brand.
According to Outsell Inc., 81 percent of senior marketers rank earned media as more or equally effective as paid media, and the power to drive business results is shifting to the communicators.
That’s why in recent years, there’s been a big shift in the industry as more brands turn away from paying for celebrity endorsements and towards engaging organically with micro-influencers.
Influencer Marketing can seem like an intimidating strategy to add to your marketing stack - but it doesn’t have to be. To get you started on your path to mastering Influencer Marketing, here are seven concepts that outline best practices for starting your own campaign:
- Earn Your Influence, Don’t Pay For It: Consumers see straight through sponsored posts. That's why it's critical that you focus your efforts on Earned Influencer Marketing.
- Gameplans Win the Day: The most successful campaigns aren't a one-time deal - they're long-term strategies.
- The Holy Trinity: Truly Know Your Influencer: One of the biggest challenges of Influencer Marketing campaigns is identifying the right influencer to match your brand and your audience.
- Building Relationships Through Shared Value: Relationships are a two-way street, and that includes those created by Influencer Marketing. Influencers are giving you value, but what can you offer them?
- The Home Field Advantage: Make it easy for influencers by meeting them where they are - whether they're on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Organic and Paid Outreach Working Together: When done correctly, Influencer Marketing can inform the other parts of your marketing strategy by highlighting where best to spend your time - and your budget.
- Learn and Optimize: Nothing in marketing is worth doing if you can't measure its efficacy. What metrics should you focus on in your Influencer Marketing campaign?
Influencer Marketing can be an invaluable part of your marketing strategy. By building close relationships with your customers and influencers, you can create brand awareness and turn that awareness into advocacy. Interested in digging deeper into Influencer Marketing? Check out our ebook "Master Influencer Marketing Done Right".
- Master Influencer Marketing With the Right Approach - October 25, 2016