Influencer marketing is one of the latest trends to impact businesses but can it really help build your brand? The short answer is yes. Absolutely. But you need to make sure you consider how you're going about it and who you are involving to ensure your influencers are effective.
Brands should identify influencers that complement their values and personas, otherwise you could risk losing authority among your consumers. Influencer marketing works because it's getting everyday people to advocate your products or services, which your audience is more likely to trust because it's unbiased.
But how does it work? How can influencers help your brand and what should you look out for?
Generate more leads
A lot has been said about persona research, and with good reason, but it means businesses can get stuck on the people they are marketing to and forget about everyone else. Influencers have a niche audience, and so this allows you to build a following among people who may have never considered your brand before.
Build an online brand
Social media marketing is an effective way of targeting consumers, with most people having at least one platform that they are active on. This means that brands need to have a social presence in order to be trusted by modern customers, and influencers can help bolster this. Most businesses do a mixture of paid and organic advertising, and influencer marketing straddles both of these. You are paying the influencers but their opinions are genuine (or should be) and so this generates valuable leads from their large social following.
Influencers can also be used to boost SEO and help you rank better for certain terms in Google without having to invest in PPC campaigns. This can boost your ROI by helping to raise brand awareness and authority in a much more organic way.
Consumers are fed up with the saturation of advertising on the internet, with many installing some kind of ad-block software. Influencer marketing is a much more subtle way of raising brand awareness and, done correctly, it will be almost unrecognizable as an advert. This - combined with the massive reach of most influencers - means you have access to a considerable audience.
Many brands reach out to current consumers to act as advocates for their brand. This type of influencer marketing requires very little upfront investment; usually a product or two for them to review or try out. Of course, you can increase the amount of money you invest but these costs are generally lower than other marketing campaigns, allowing you to enjoy a high ROI with a fairly low risk.
In addition, it saves you time as a company, saving you further money; you don't have to spend time developing adverts or bidding for space. Instead, you just find individuals that have a good following and fit in with your brand. This means your time is spent nurturing relationships with consumers, generating more long-lasting ties.
Perfect for small brands
It's not so difficult for major organizations to raise brand awareness as they can invest a considerable sum into their next campaign but it can be much more of a challenge for smaller companies. The low-cost nature of influencer marketing makes it ideal for small enterprises and start-ups, helping to spread the word of what you're doing in a format that others will trust.
Influencer marketing can be incredibly effective for brands but you need to be careful. Spend time identifying which individuals you want to work with and who could be most valuable to your business. You need to have a clear idea of what you want from each influencer; whether you are wanting someone to take over your Instagram account for a set time, host a Q&A session or sponsor a YouTube video, there needs to be a strategy and direction.
Like any other marketing, you should make sure you're tracking results from influencer marketing and analyze where improvements could be made next time round.