An introduction to influencers
Influencer marketing has disrupted traditional brand building, creating a new and highly effective way to reach your audience.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone whose knowledge, experience, status or connection with their audience means they can affect the decision-making process of their followers or audience. An influencer can be anyone, from a child reviewing toys on YouTube to an estate agent using Instagram stories alongside traditional house viewings. There are influencers across every industry and market, from sustainable fashion to construction.
Influencers work within the niche for which they have become known, with the size of their following dependent on their specific niche and/or success. This niche can be as broad as lifestyle or gaming, or as specific as planner crafting or animal photography.
It is common for influencers to be categorised by their niche, follower numbers, level of influence or content type. Typically, the key communication method of influencers is through social media, where they can reach audiences across the world at the click of a button. While some influencers use this exclusively, many also use video content, such as uploading to YouTube (sometimes referred to as video blogging or vlogging), podcasts and written blogs.
The benefits of working with influencers
An increasing number of brands are harnessing the power of influencer marketing, with this source reporting that almost 50% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when shopping for new products. The B2B sector has been slower to embrace influencer marketing but that trend has begun to change and is now accelerating. It is clear that people value the authenticity and transparency of seeing a third party review products and services. Influencers can use this, and their own reputation, to improve or adjust brand perception.
The key benefit of influencer marketing is the way it can introduce your brand to a new audience or reinforce and improve brand perception with those that are already familiar. The market penetration of influencers is entirely unique as they have the personal touch, creating and sharing content across a whole range of platforms, often live and direct, making their viewers feel far more connected to them. This translates as a greater share of voice than can be reached through content marketing alone.
Depending on your influencer strategy, you can create legacy content that can be repurposed across a range of platforms, such as video footage, therefore creating an improved and consistent customer experience (CX) while maximising return on investment (ROI). Similarly, using influencers that are revered for their knowledge will help endorse your brand as a thought leader. This expertise could also be leveraged through consulting, event speaking, crisis communications, and testing or launching new products and services.
Successful influencer engagement: who and how
Just as with any other type of marketing, you need a strategy if you are to generate the best ROI. According to this source, businesses using influencer marketing are seeing an average of £4.21 return on every £1 invested.
As part of this strategy, you need to decide on specific, measurable goals, working back to create a clear plan of action that considers the influencer’s own values and audience. This means selecting someone who has shared ideals and is on the same page about what you want to achieve together. This is the reason why many prefer to describe these business relationships as ‘partnerships’.
However, choosing the right influencer for your campaign will take careful planning and research. First, establish why you want to work with an influencer and what you want to achieve. Then begin your influencer research, asking these questions at each stage:
• Do they align with your brand?
• What is their reach and relevance?
• What previous partnerships have they worked on and how might they work for your brand?
• What can you offer them?
It is vital to know what you can offer in return before approaching an influencer. Make certain this has been signed off by your financial and legal team as successful influencer marketing requires a contract. This will need to include exactly what is expected of the influencer and what they can expect from you. Work with the influencer, discussing and agreeing these terms together, as you would with any business partner.
Depending on their experience, you may need to educate the influencer on your marketing strategy, but make sure you are open to listening to their recommendations too. After all, they know their audience and influence better than anyone and will be able to guide you on how to engage most effectively and ensure the best ROI for you both.
Contact us to learn how we can help you to create and implement an effective influencer strategy.