Influencer marketing is the next big thing. Select businesses have already figured this out, but the vast majority is yet to put it on their radar.
We’ve all got our “go to” guy or gal. That expert, the one you immediately think of when you need an area of expertise. We also all have certain people we follow, perhaps see as mentors, or just those that we have a tremendous amount of respect for. Influencers cross all age boundaries. An influencer could be an IT guru, a respected business leader, an amazing chef, a great writer or musician, a “dope skateboarder” (my son’s term not mine!), a fashion goddess, or someone who has a great music playlist. Influencers are highly respected and garner clout in their circles. (Incidentally “dope” means good in teenager1) Influencers are tapped in. They have tribes that follow them.
Influencers help take content to the next level. They lend credibility, and they help amplify reach and awareness, which in turn helps ensure the target audience, will consume the content.
Why are influencers so powerful? They have a pre-established audience that is receptive to their recommendations.
- Their followers trust them.
- They are a person, not a business or a brand, which makes them more personable and willingly received.
- Their voice cuts through the clutter of information overload, to their followers.
To get influencers onboard is to have their entire tribe working for you. And that’s pretty powerful stuff.
Consider this research into the power of influencers:
- Offers shared by trusted advocates convert at a 3-10 times higher rate than offers sent by brands.
- Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
- Brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them.
So how do you harness the power of an influencer?
- Identify the primary goal of your marketing strategy. Are you building brand awareness? Wanting to achieve more engagement? Do you need to generate more leads? Or perhaps you’re more focused on retention and loyalty. Depending on your goal, some influencers might be more powerful in some areas then in others. Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve.
- Indentify influencer types. Influencers might be current customers, industry experts, bloggers, members of the media, business partners, or internal team members. It’s important to consider the types first, then move on to individuals. That will keep you focused.
- Within those types, select specific individuals. Consider their capacity to reach others through writing, speaking or broadcasting in some way. Consider their involvement in public or private groups, online and off. Look at their level of expertise in the chosen area. Consider their social media footprint, in particular on platforms and in channels where your target market spends the most time. Your initial list of influencers doesn’t have to be large to be powerful, but you do want to grow it over time.
- Create great content worth sharing. Stuff that’s authentic and not overly promotional. Something that keeps the trust between the influencer and their followers. Think one-to-one-to-many when creating content. Your content will not be blasted out to the masses. It will be shared to that one person first, who will then choose (or not) to share it with their many. Framed from this perspective it’s about them, not about you. Give them something that will make them look smart, funny, insightful or connected to an inner circle in some way.
- Nurture the relationship. Always acknowledge and thank those that share your content. Help them out in other ways. There doesn’t always have to be a personal pay off.
Many times influencers are already within your scope of contact, but further outreach is always good. How do you find them? Read blogs in your area of interest and see who publishes good content and who makes intelligent comments and contributions on other blogs. Follow folks on Twitter who tweet within a channel (or #hashtag) of interest, are employed in the industry of focus, or who keep popping up as active with something valuable to contribute. Comb LinkedIn for contacts. See who is active on Facebook or Instagram in your area of interest. Read industry publications for who is being written about and who is contributing. Old fashioned network, and get to know who the players are. Even pick up the phone! (How novel – yes you can still talk on those things)
So there you have it. Get out there and harness the power of that green goldfish leading the others. And get the influencers tribe swimming in your direction!