If you are an avid user of the internet that thrives on social media, you are probably also the unfortunate recipient of dozens of electronic direct mails and have had countless banner ads, pop-ups and other digital junk shoved in your face daily. All these in-your-face marketing strategies have a way of numbing consumers, and the messages the advertisements are trying to convey inevitably get lost in the noise.
Influencer marketing on the other hand, is fast gaining a foothold as a key marketing strategy. The reason for its popularity lies in its focus on consumers who, once converted, become influencers or brand advocates who willingly spread the good word on a company’s products or services to others in their social media circle, thus furthering its outreach.
Influencer marketing endeavours to give consumers educational and informative content on a product or service, and allowing them to make informed purchasing decisions. It relies on the power of everyday people to spread a brand’s message. Brands identify suitable influencers by understanding their interests, and then enlist their help to communicate with their followers.
According to a 2015 study from Schlesinger Associates, 81% of marketers considered influencer marketing to be effective. Consequently, many marketers are now placing influencer marketing as a key priority in their digital marketing budgets, in place of traditional advertising methods. This marketing strategy is very much assisted by social media platforms and modern communication devices such as mobile phones and tabs, as well as the internet. In this article by ThunderQuote, we take a look at six fundamentals of influencer marketing to guide you towards successfully enticing influencers to become your brand advocates.
Identify your community
Start off with the most crucial step in your quest for influencer marketing stardom – knowing your target audience! In other words, you’ll need to understand the people you are hoping to convert into influencers. To illustrate, if you are selling vintage clothing, you would have to seek out other vintage clothing enthusiasts by joining social media groups created by vintage clothing producers, retailers or fans, and see for yourself what they are discussing, the content that they are sharing, as well as the latest trends in that sphere. You may want to ask yourself: what would a vintage enthusiast be interested to know? Where can I get the vintage fashion pieces that are coveted by these vintage lovers? There are diverse communities within the vintage clothing circle, so be sure to do your research and pick up as much as you can about them and what makes them tick.
Get to know the influencers
Once you’ve discovered the groups of individuals that are related to your target audience, the next step would be to understand the way they speak. Take note of the abbreviations they use, the nicknames they give to certain items or services, as well as the handles they use on social media. You can get into the thick of things and become acquainted with the community speak much faster if you participate in group discussions and join the social media circles of your target community.
A big part of the influencer marketing strategy involves relating to the audience and getting them to heed your call-to-action, but before you can gain influencers, you’ll first need to get them on your side and the easiest way to gain their trust is by being one of them! Start mingling with community members, contribute and seek knowledge through the conversations taking place, and actively participate in any events that may be organised. Influencer marketing is as much about being an influencer yourself as it is about influencing others.
Provide pertinent content regardless of origin
Influencer marketing is all about creating informative and educational content that is fun and engaging, allowing consumers to make an informed decision on whether to purchase the product or service on offer. To provide a call-to-action for your target audience, strengthen your marketing strategy with short video clips, infographics and blogs that tell a great story and are filled with eye-catching imagery, and utilise social media and video platforms as well as search engine optimisation tactics to disseminate the information and grow your outreach.
More importantly, look beyond your own content for content curated by others that would be of interest to your community and share it. It could be an interesting video, press releases on products or services, or other blogs that contain educational information for your community. Put your own spin on the content by giving your views and praise the content creator for the enlightening piece. This not only shows that you’re aware of the goings on of your community, but proves that you respect the work of your peers.
Produce content that fits your content platform
The wide variety of content platforms available today offer a myriad of options for kickstarting successful marketing strategies. Coming back to the example of selling vintage clothing, you can reach out to influencers by curating content befitting the medium and platforms available. For instance, pictures of the vintage clothing for sale can be uploaded to Instagram, with a short link to guide users to your website for more information. You can also create a short video on how to identify which period a particular piece of vintage clothing comes from and upload it on YouTube and Facebook to reach influencers on those platforms. The opportunities for growing your fanbase are boundless – what’s important is that you create fun, engaging and educational content, and place it on the right social media and video platforms for maximum outreach.
Collaborate with other influencers
The community you are in may be carrying out some content collaboration work from time to time to collectively spread the word on the community’s brands. It could be something as simple as guest blogging or a marketing video collaboration on YouTube. These opportunities are a great avenue to strengthen your own brand on social media, while simultaneously drawing on the collective publicity generated by the community. Being seen with other influencers on social media also helps to give your brand authority, which is important for your influencer marketing strategy to succeed. American research and advisory firm Gartner found that 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions, so the more visible you are within your community, the better it is for your brand!
Understand what works
After you’ve covered all of the above, there’s still one more important task on your influencer marketing agenda: tracking the results! All your carefully curated marketing strategies would mean nothing if you can’t gauge its effectiveness. This requires you to take stock of the number of followers on your social media platforms, the number of times your content gets shared, the number of positive (or negative!) comments your content received, and whether your search engine optimisation tactics have borne fruit. The only way to know whether your content is making a difference (and therefore, gaining a steady stream of influencers) is to look at the hard facts.
Influencer marketing is a more subtle way to get people to know your brand. It might work a little slower at the start but once you’ve built your pipelines and ensured that you have a large following, you will see all your marketing campaigns take off easily. This is the power of influencer marketing which basically means making the audience work for you instead.
ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.