This is a guest post by Tom Siani of Social Supplement. Tom is an online marketing expert with up to 4 years of experience in this digital industry. He is also collaborating with some well-known brands in order to generate traffic, create sale funnel and increase online sales. He has written a considerable number of articles about marketing via social media, brand marketing, blogging, search visibility, etc.
Digital marketing via social media with an impressive audience reach is one of the most influential means of growing businesses.
On the other hand, using famous people for commercials has always been a safe method of getting people’s attention.
By merging these two concepts, we are currently facing a relatively new era of advertising: “Influencer Marketing“.
Beyond beautiful images
You have probably faced colorful pictures of beautiful girls or women with weird gestures on social media platforms like Instagram. If you look carefully, there must be an important element in these pictures along with the artistic or even sexual aspects of the image. In fact, these images are not just a personal moment from a family excursion or a friendly get-together. They are commercials that masses of money have been spent on to target a group of users. Now you can go to the captions, comments, hashtags, etc. to find the specific product or service a company wants to advertise through the picture. This is called “Influencer Marketing”; using a person who can influence people to gain engagement and boost business.
More importantly, using celebrity influencers like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Jenifer Anniston, etc. to help sell products or services has been tested many times. It has been well established that this is an effective digital strategy companies can use to build awareness and boost sales. Of course, this is also a significantly more expensive way of advertising compared with common influencers. Many influencers are inclined to sell their accounts even at a very low price because they cannot compete with celebrities in terms of attractiveness.
Who is an influencer?
If you are going to grow your audience on social media and improve your sales, consider using influencer marketing. An influencer is anyone with credibility in a specific niche or in general a famous person. An influencer can be a blogger, technician, industry expert, cinema star, musician, cartoonist, social activist, chef, and so on. “Influencer marketing” is a digital strategy that utilizes these personalities to raise the awareness of a brand with the target audience.
In this approach, instead of hiring some marketers and staff, you will negotiate with influencers to reach out to people for you. Content can spread unimaginably via social media platforms these days, and influencers are like a catalyst that can boost this process. Influencers can entice a large group of people to pay attention, follow, and finally buy a product or service.
It is all about “Trust”
Most people take care of recommendations from other people even when they do not know them. Social media platforms are not an exception. A whopping 50 percent of Pinterest users have purchased the Promoted Pins they have seen on this site.
There is a similar report from Twitter in which more than 40% of active users say they have bought a product due to a Tweet from an influencer. Of course, the more famous the person recommending it, the higher the eligibility and consequently the wider influence the recommendation will have.
In fact, influencer marketing is a method of building business trust, because people usually trust influencers. So, when you use an influencer, they encourage their audience to trust your business. Influencers can increase the traffic of your website, build your social media engagement, and sell your products to their staunch followers.
Another important matter about influencer marketing is that new generations want to make purchasing decisions on their own, regardless of previous advertisements. Actually, they like to hear about the brands from someone they trust. So, if you are looking for a powerful digital strategy that generates trust in your business, influencer marketing is one of the most effective solutions.
Basics of influencer marketing
Before paying someone to boost your business, it is essential to make sure you have a proper plan. So, you need to consider some key factors: targeting the audience, selecting a suitable influencer, making relevant content, and measuring performance.
The first important step in influencer marketing is to target your audience properly. You have to estimate what kind of costumer you have. This step will affect significantly the rest of your marketing. So, you need to be careful because if you do not recognize your true buyers, you may waste your time and money.
After figuring out your target audience, you have to make a list of the influencers suitable for that kind of audience. To find the perfect match for your purpose, you may need to consult experts about different possible influencers.
The most suitable influencer for your digital marketing is one that matches your brand’s tone, style, mission, and–more importantly–budget. You must not pay someone just to say “buy this”; you should select someone who can create relevant, meaningful content around your area of focus and mission.
Social media monitoring or even a simple Google search will provide you with the list of influencers who work in the niche you have considered for your digital strategy. For instance, if you own a business in sports products, you have to find an influencer who is:
- Working in the fitness/health/sports world,
- Posting/blogging heavily about fitness products,
- Being a partner with stores you are interested in selling your products in, and/or
- Working with Labs, and other scientific centers about health and sports matters
You should also take a look at relevant hashtags and tune into them so that you can find the active influencers who are interacting with your target audience. Also, you can use platforms like Hootsuite. This can make the process of finding, scheduling, managing, and reporting on social media content easier.
Please bear in mind that one of the most pivotal factors in this stage is careful budgeting. If you do not have a certain amount of marketing budget, you cannot choose the proper influencer who matches your circumstances. After setting a wise budget, you can find a top influencer in every niche on the internet. Make sure that each paid piece of content will be posted according to your deal. Do not simply assume that, just because of your request and payment, the influencer will put your content on their page.
Afterward, you should take care of producing meaningful content to support your investment. It is highly recommended to use an indirect tone in your advertisement, especially via influencer marketing. For example, a common ill-advised content generation method is just asking someone to use your product in a photo saying “buy it.”
Being creative in generating meaningful content is the key to a successful influencer marketing. Content is the convincing part of your marketing that makes people trust your brand and purchase your product. Great content is usually based on a storytelling approach that should be creative in terms of message and also the way you convey the message.
To be more creative and also effective, you have to consider both sides of the human brain. The left side is regarded as the manager of logical tasks. On the contrary, the right side of the brain is about emotion. There are numerous articles on the internet explaining how to influence each side of your audience’s brain. Make your influencer marketing content more compelling by using different aspects of the brain.
You have to track your performance during any marketing campaign, otherwise, you may waste time and money. Of course, it might be complicated to track all features of influencer marketing. But, you can track some aspects such as website visits, social network activity (links, shares), and social conversations.
With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is the choice of a lot of brands and marketers. Although Instagram is the second popular social networking platform after Facebook, it is the first option for more than 90 percent of influencer marketing in recent years. Actually, influencer marketing has become a lucrative black-hat marketing on Instagram in many respects.
One of the best ways to implement your marketing plan on Instagram is Stories. Instagram Stories provide users with the ability to post multiple pictures and videos in a slideshow format for 24 hours. So, businesses can improve engagement and brand awareness via this application without overwhelming followers. This feature also can indirectly entice users to watch your Story as a result of the fear of missing out a seemingly popular content.
An important matter regarding this process is to be honest and transparent. In other words, if you want to gain better trust and also deal under governmental regulations, it is essential to reveal your paid posts using “#Sponsored”.
Your deal with influencers, especially celebrities, should not make them feel that they are being used such as goods. The prosperous brands in influencer marketing treat influencers as partners or even friends rather than bait.
These friendships and partnerships are more important than selling your products or services. If you put value in influencers like a partner of your business, it makes a sense of trust that will emerge in the content they create.
Studies show most people do not care much about texts as opposed to images or generally multi-media content. Images are one of the most important elements of social media posts, so you have to ask high-quality images from influencers.
Also, you should make your visual content shareable to be viewed by as many people as possible. Instagram as a picture-based platform will allow you to share your visual content easily and that is why it is the fastest growing social networking application.
In addition to the above content, you should include consulting several experts in your marketing strategies. But in summary, you have to define certain goals, define a smaller and more specific audience, conduct an exhaustive investigation on influencers, define an exact budget, and be ready to follow up on your success.