There is an inherent contradiction to marketing that can be frustrating. On the one hand you have a company that has put a lot of time and resources into building an interesting campaign that resonates with their target audience, and on the other you have an overnight sensation gone viral via a recommendation on a blog, a tweet or YouTube video. This is the power of influencer marketing.
Who is an ‘influencer’?
An influencer is some who is popular and has a certain presence and fan-base. For example, a sportsperson or an actor. When they are seen promoting a product in an advertisement, or wearing a particular piece of clothing their followers and fans want it and have to have it. In the current digital age, with the advent of social media, an influencer need not necessarily be a celebrity or well-known personality. A social media influencer is any individual who is social media savvy, has a large following, and creates engaging content for a niche-audience. They build a community around themselves by writing reviews and opinion pieces on their blog, vlogs on YouTube and/or carefully curated images on Instagram.
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Promoting a brand or product is more effective when done through an influencer as their content is viewed to be less of an advertisement and more an endorsement. The influencer’s opinion comes across as more authentic and unbiased to the audience. It is said that 94% of marketers who used influencer marketing have found it to be effective (source: SocialMediaToday).
Taking these facts into account, it makes sense to partner with an influencer. But how do you go about finding the right influencer for your company?
The Search Process
You might go on a social media platform (eg: Instagram) and come across a guy (let’s call him X) who has 20K followers. You instantly think, ‘Hey, I should approach him to review a product my company has come up with and since he has so many followers! Some of them are bound to be interested.’
Well, let’s slow down and consider our options.
A large following doesn’t make someone the right influencer for your brand. Look through the content X is putting out. Does it align with your company’s message? Is X’s target audience, the same as yours?
You could go through Facebook groups that are relevant to your industry and look for people who are influencers, but you would waste a lot of time in the process. Instead, you can make use of the marketing platforms and tools that have been created for precisely this purpose.
Platforms like Influence.co and BrandBacker, serve as a database of influencers (bloggers, journalists, experts and academicians) across industries and helps you connect with them and build relevant content. You can filter based on medium, such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Blogs, you can also see the influencer’s location, number of followers, engagement rate etc. There are also tools like Buzzstream that not only helps you find and research influencers, but also saves and tracks conversations with them and manages social media projects.
Using the above tools, you might come across blogger Y. Y has marginally less followers than X, but you find that their posts are more compelling, their content are more authentic, and their followers are in the same demographic as your target market. If you partner with Y, there is a better chance of growing your customer base and improving your brand image. There are tools available even after you connect with an influencer, to make the process efficient. For example, Zoho Social to stay connected with influencers, store information and assign tasks.
Find the right fit for you
There is no best method when it comes to marketing, one size does not fit all. Influencer marketing cannot replace other practices, but it is a tactic that has many advantages—when you get it right. It plays a role in allowing you find untapped markets, brings in traffic to your site, as well as increases brand awareness. Influencer marketing cannot be ignored and should definitely be a part of your marketing strategy.
Topics: Influencer Marketing