Influencer Marketing has taken off.  Companies like Amazon, Sprint and National Geographic are making the most of these web-based centers of influence.  But is it right for your organization?

What Is An Influencer?

An Influencer is somebody who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of a large social media following, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub. These influencers maintain their credibility with their followers by offering believable and useful information.  They are people who are creating content that others want to see and learn from.

Why Should You Care?

Influencers are going to become the doorway to great exposure for your business in a very reputable way.  In fact, 70 percent of US agency and brand marketers said they expect influencer marketing budgets to increase this year, according to a recent eMarketer study. Caring about influencers and what they’re up to should be part of your marketing efforts.  Top brands know this and they are now fighting to work with the top influencers before other companies get to them. Influencers who truly care about your business or what your product has to offer will take the time to create content that shows their passion for it.  Once brands begin to work with influencers they create relationships with them and ultimately with their followers. This generates trust, making followers more willing to try out a product or service. When IM is done right, the influencer is doing the work for you, getting your name out there.  This adds real heft to your marketing’s effectiveness.

Making Good Use of Influencer Marketing

Exxon Mobile is a great example of a company who took to Influencer Marketing to promote the release of their new motor oil. The company did so by turning to the father-son duo Daniel and Lincoln Markham. They host a popular YouTube channel called “What’s Inside.” The pair cut a car engine in two and discussed how effective Exxon’s Annual Protection Motor Oil would be.  The father and son were able to integrate the product into one of their weekly videos, using their influence to encourage their followers to try it.

How Could Influencer Marketing Benefit You?

Influencer marketing will allow your business to be seen by thousands of people online.  The way content is shared through Influencer Marketing speaks to viewers who already have an interest even before they know what your company or product is about. Influencer Marketing comes with an “installed audience.” This means that before you even begin to market through IM, the followers of the influencer are already paying attention. This is something that businesses largely benefit from and is a great way to gain customers and a following for your business itself.

Influencer Marketing Done Right

There’s a right and a wrong way to do influencer marketing. Not all influencers are right for you.  Your brand needs to align with the lifestyle interests of the influencer. Most influencers have blogs or websites that capitalize on their interests such as home improvement, fashion, beauty and their everyday lifestyles. It’s important to make sure that the product or service you wish to market is something that will seamlessly fit into the influencer’s everyday content. This allows for their followers to adapt to that content more easily. For instance, you wouldn’t choose a home improvement influencer to market your clothing line.  To their followers, it’s not natural content.  It has to be worthwhile for the influencer as well as your brand.  If there is no commonality between the two, then the fit is not right.

How to Get Started

Interested?  Here’s how you get started: Before doing anything, set goals for your promotion.  What kind of influencer is the best match for your product and your goals for it?  Start with a simple Google search for the type of influencer you want.  Look at their profile on the platform where they have the largest following. Most likely, but not always, this will be Instagram. Most influencers will either display their email or personal website links where you can contact them or their managers for any inquiries regarding brand collaborations. From here, the stage is yours! This is the time when you explain what you plan to promote and why you feel that this influencer would be a good match. Understand that some influencers, those with a  large following, will require a fee per-post. The more popular the influencer is, the more money they will demand per post.  Other influencers may only expect a discount to sample your product.  If they like it, they will do a post about it.

Measuring Success

One of the most important metrics to consider is impressions. Impressions tell you how many people are viewing the content. The more people you reach, the better it is for the brand awareness and brand exposure.

Once the post goes live, you want to look at the metrics, we suggest you measure that through a tool called Social Media Growth.  The tool has built-in analytics from the platforms themselves, making it easy to track growth directly through your account. You can also track your social media growth by looking at the change in your own social media.  You should see an increase in the number of followers you have.  If your social media is growing, then clearly your audience is too and that’s always a good sign.

Last but not least, a very prominent metric of success is sales. Your collaboration with them should show up on the bottom line. You can also directly track sales from your influencer’s followers by giving them their own discount code.

Influencer marketing may be the latest trend in our industry, but we believe it’s more than a passing fad.  Make sure you jump on it now; do it right; measure your results and look for a bump in sales.

 

Gina Marino is a member of the #MillenialPrinciple Team

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