You’ve probably heard of influencer marketing and have questioned whether or not it’s right for you. The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no, and there is a lot that goes into making this decision. It can work wonders for many business owners, but the key to success is understanding exactly what it is and whether or not your business model can benefit from it.
What is it? Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that focuses on identifying and utilizing key influencers to drive your brand’s message to a broader market. Influencers are people with a large following, usually based upon an aesthetically pleasing feed and active voice. With influencer marketing, you inspire/hire/pay influencers to get the word out for you and help persuade consumers to buy your products or services. The influencer you choose should be well-known in your industry or relate to your product in some way. (i.e., if you are selling classes for master plumbers, you wouldn’t want a veterinarian influencer showcasing your product.) The goal is to have your influencer’s audience become your customers.
What is the difference between audience and influence? It’s essential to understand the difference between audience and influence. An audience is a group of people, usually a particular demographic, that is targetted by a product or service; influence is to affect or have an impact on the said audience. As a business owner looking for an influencer, you want to identify someone who has both of these features. For example, a reality TV star who sells a beauty product has both audience and influence. While people’s opinions may vary about this reality TV star, they indeed have both the audience and the platform to build awareness for their brand and influence their audience to take action (buy).
What type of influencer marketing is right for my business? Influencers come in every size – micro, macro, and everything in between. If you have a niche business, in a niche industry, you probably want to choose an influencer that has a small but organic following (a micro-influencer). If your product applies to many demographics and is available internationally, a spokesperson with a vast audience around the world would be crucial. You must also consider what your goal is when choosing the right person to use as an influencer. If exposure is your end goal, a large following can benefit you; however, if you aim to make conversions, a small audience with targeted messages will do wonders.
So, how do I choose the right person to contact? Do some research. Who is your ideal customer, and what are they searching or using as hashtags? Who are influencers that you follow? Who do you think has a great feed, and who are the people that they follow? Who are the industry leaders in your business, and where do they showcase their brands? Make a list of the people who intrigue you the most and seem to have a solid audience that engages with them.
After interacting (liking their photos, commenting, following some of their followers) with some of the people you have narrowed it down to, privately message or email them to introduce yourself. Be clear about your brand and goal, and discuss pricing, types of posts, content collaboration, and all of the gritty details from there. Don’t forget that influencers also get a say in the matter. Even though you may pay or trade with an influencer to showcase your brand, your product and voice must match the influencer’s feed and aesthetic. You can expect to pay extra and possibly have a less-than-desirable outcome if that is not the case.