Influencer marketing has become a vital component for major advertisers with 84% of marketing and communications professionals having launched at least one campaign involving influencers in the last 12 months. This is not only useful for larger companies, it’s also incredibly useful for small businesses to reach a wider audience.
However, when looking at things from a consumer’s perspective, it comes down to trust. The incessant bombardment of brand promotion and marketing continually misses the mark as we become increasingly accustomed to filtering out the irritating noise of hard sell and manipulation. Finding sanity in today’s consumer world is a challenge where we ask ourselves who to believe.
Building Trust with Potential Clients
So, the question is, who do we listen to when it comes to parting with our ever precious pounds? The multi-national corporations, distant, out of touch and removed from the consumer experience, or someone who has first-hand experience with the product and enthuses about it? The answer is a no-brainer, and this has been borne out by research conducted on influencer marketing, with 82% of consumers saying they are more likely to follow the advice of this type of influencer. Furthermore, a study in 2016 by TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions concluded that influencer marketing leads to 11 times the return on investment (ROI) than traditional advertising. This makes influencers more important than ever as a way to connect with your customer base. What this means is we need to find out who these influencers are and find ways to connect with them. Building genuine and lasting relationships with consumer experts is the best way to promote your business.
So who are these influencers? When I first heard about influencer marketing, what came to mind were famous celebrities and A-listers that seemed even further away than the six degrees of separation, never mind getting them to support me and my business. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that the poster people and stars are not the ones I should be trying to contact to promote my brand. Bloggers, writers and those with a passion for what I spend the majority of my waking hours on – not to mention the sleepless nights – are my target audience. Those who are switched on to what I’m doing and have an audience that trusts them are the people I should start to build up a relationship with and convince I have something they could feel passionate about.
As I looked into the statistics, the more I was convinced that these micro-influencers are a vital component in building customer confidence and the research confirmed what I suspected. A new study by Dr Jonah Berger from the Wharton School, Experticity and the Keller Fay Group found that 82% of consumers polled said they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer and that influencers have up to 22.2 times more conversations each week than regular users about purchasing recommendations. This in itself is testament to the power of influencer marketing. The question then arises as to how to find these golden tickets and how to get their attention.
Identify your Key Influencers
The first step to engaging with influencer marketing is to identify your key influencers. It takes time and regular attention to find those who have a large following and are passionate about similar things to you. This doesn’t mean focusing on just one person; the trick is to spend time each day on identifying and fostering relationships with these people. Bloggers are great for this, especially those who have a dedicated following and people who trust their judgement. Engage in conversations and try and convince them you have something to say and something they might be interested in.
Coordinate your Social Media Profiles
When asked what micro-influencers look for when promoting a brand, 87% said that social profiles were more important than anything else, followed closely by verified traffic data. These two were far more important than SEO or Alexa rank. What this means is that our focus should be on looking good and professional on social media. Having a consistent public image and message across all your social media platforms shows you care and are serious about what you do. This also means posting regularly. Mixing thought-provoking and relevant material alongside promoting your own business shows dedication and serious engagement.
Regular Updates not Sporadic Posts
The easiest way to get rid of followers and people interested in your social media profiles is to be inconsistent. Having a mad flurry of activity where you saturate your followers’ feeds with interesting and engaging content followed by nothing, where people assume you’ve gone out of business is the best way of shedding potential customers. What’s more concerning is that when somebody unfollows or unfriends you, it’s practically impossible to get them back. Even a small amount of time each day scheduling posts can have a significant effect and let you get on with the important task of running your business.
Schedule your Posts
You can spend hour upon hour on social media, posting, responding and getting caught up liking cat videos and inspirational quotes to the backdrop of dappled sunlit forests, but this can seriously eat into your day, making you less productive. It doesn’t have to be like that. There are apps that can help, such as Hootsuite or Buffer that can allow you to schedule your posts. Spending an hour a day scheduling posts can set you up for the day, without you having to think about it.
Engaging with influencers is not a quick fix, it takes time to build trust and working relationships that can help promote your business, but if you start to engage in conversations with potential influencers, it could be incredibly fruitful for you and your business. With the new year comes new resolutions, why not start now, find those influencers and get building meaningful working relationships. The benefits of having influential people writing and talking about your product or service is priceless, after all, people buy people.