The power of marketing in the digitally led global business climate should never be underestimated. The sad fact is that no matter how incredible your product, no matter how well run your operations and no matter how much time, blood, sweat and tears you pour into your business, it all amounts to little if the right people don’t know who you are. There was a time when marketing was a strategy of broadcasting. You’d send your message out as far and wide as possible and hope that the right people would find it. Today, the world of social media and digital connectivity has made it far easier to identify your target audience and market directly to them via pay per click advertising. This reduces extraneous marketing costs and maximises the chance of your content and advertising reaching the right audience. Yet, as important as it is to know your target market, it’s just as important to know who influences their behavior.
What is an influencer?
Influencers can make all the difference between your content falling on deaf ears or going viral. The rise of the influencer is a relatively new phenomenon but one which numerous big brands recognize the value of. Influencer marketing works in a similar way to celebrity endorsement, but influencers tend to be easier to reach, cheaper and more receptive to working with brands. They tend to be individuals who have gained a sizeable and loyal following on social media.
Why you need them
Like celebrities, they’re usually attractive and aspirational figures whose look, style and habits your potential customers find aspirational. They can help you by endorsing your products, link building and even agreeing to be the face of your brand. They can also help to elevate your brand’s status, giving you a degree of “cool by association” in the eyes of your target market. Moreover, unlike roping in a celebrity, influencers tend to actively want to work with brands. They may well have content of their own to monetize and will be grateful to be able to piggyback on the recognition of your brand in order to expand their own reach.
How to identify an influencer
Instagram and YouTube celebs like Zoella or Jamie Genevieve may not be the best influencers for your brand, it’s important to find an equivalent that speaks to your target market. Looking for people with large followings and an interest in your product or service is a no brainer, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s important to keep an eye on an influencer’s social media engagement. Throwing money at an influencer with a large following is unlikely to pay dividends if that following is not actively engaged with the influencer. Make sure that their posts all have a healthy amount of likes and comments.
Any time you associate your brand with any individual, there’s always an element of risk. There’s a chance that they could be ostracized by their following by their actions, their posts or their political affiliations. They can misrepresent your brand or mislead your potential clientele. Thus, it’s extremely important to make sure that your influences are vetted and well managed.