Influencer Marketing: Build your Brand with Social Media Influencers
Whilst social media opinion leaders are no longer a new concept, the way brands use this platform to build their brand is continually evolving. This article will highlight the benefits of influencer marketing and advise how to approach working with an influencer.
What is a social media influencer?
An influencer is an individual who usually has a large social media following. They may also have established credibility in a certain area or industry. Therefore, they have the ability to influence others. They are also known as content creators, who work with brands to reach a wider audience and drive engagement.
Influencers can have millions of followers and come in the form of celebrities (such as The Kardashians). Or they can be micro-influencers; who have a smaller following (usually between 1,000 – 1,000,000 followers). Micro-influencers are sometimes recognised as more effective as they usually connect more authentically with their smaller audience than bigger influencers.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing which uses influencers to reach a larger audience and drive your brand’s message. Influencer marketing is considered more effective than, for example, a traditional advert from the brand directly. This is due to the influencer’s ability to persuade their audience, as their followers view them as more trustworthy.
Brands often collaborate with influencers and generate engaging content, rather than simply pushing a traditional advertisement. This can be in the form of product reviews, giveaways, product collaborations and sponsored youtube videos, Instagram posts etc.
The power of influencers
Influencers are trustworthy and credible
Marketers are constantly looking for the next big thing that will help them sell more. But no matter their efforts, nothing is more effective than word of mouth marketing. This is why influencer marketing is so successful, it is an evolution of online word of mouth marketing. The influencer is authentic, credible and trustworthy in the eyes of their followers. This is demonstrated in the statistic that 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities.
This level of trust can be applied to your brand when an influencer endorses you. As consumers associate the creator’s trustworthiness with the brand they are promoting. Ultimately this may lead to brand loyalty if your brand can deliver the proposed promises.
However, it is important to consider the type of influencer you work with. As the rise of the social media influencer has left some consumers sceptical of brand endorsements and sponsored content. Online spaces such as YouTube used to be filled with original content, that individuals made simply because they enjoyed doing so. When others realised you can monetise this content, more influencers began working with brands to earn an easy income. As followers become more aware of this, they are less likely to be influenced. They can even develop negative attitudes towards brands working with certain influencers.
Expands social media reach
One of the more obvious advantages of employing social media influencers is that they have a large following. This means they have the potential to reach more consumers. The bigger the audience, the more people that will see your brands message. Therefore, this increases the opportunity to drive traffic to your brand’s website and increase sales.
However, a larger number of followers is not always better. An influencer may have a large following but low engagement rates from their followers. Engagement is key as this determines how many people will actually read or interact with your message. You must consider whether a micro-influencer with a niche audience will be more profitable than a creator who caters to a wide variety of consumers.
The larger platform will give your brand more mentions and shares from a wider audience. Ensuring the content always links back to your website will help improve your organic search engine ranking. As good quality backlinks help your SEO. This will improve your website performance as you will be more accessible in search engine results, ensuring more organic traffic and potential customers.
How to work with influencers
Research valuable influencers for your Brand
It is important to research what kind of influencer you have the budget to work with, and what kind of feel, tone and audience they attract. Identify someone who fits in with your brand and who will influence others who fit into your target audience demographic. A successful campaign will see your brand and the influencers brand to come together harmoniously.
Define your goals and measure them
Outline your goals before the campaign begins; do you want the influencer to generate more brand awareness, promote a product, or drive sales in general? It is better to have more specific goals. For example, you may wish to expand to a new demographic and so you hire an influencer who relates to this audience in order to directly target them.
Having goals helps you measure the effectiveness of the campaign. Measure your campaign on its return of investment instead of the number of likes/comments. How many people engaged or visited your website from the campaign? For example, providing influencers with named discount codes for your e-commerce site helps track and measure sales directly from the campaign.
Be professional and personal
To reach out to an influencer, send them a private message or an email (if their email is available). Be specific and personal, you don’t want your message to come across as generic. This will demonstrate that you are a professional, who takes these collaborations seriously. Provide them with plenty of information about your brand and what you aim to achieve from this partnership – even better if you can outline the mutual benefits.
Once they have agreed to pursue this relationship it is important to send over an official contract that will comply with ASA standards.