The term influencer marketing may sound new and scary, but the concept behind it is not new at all.
For a very long time, companies have actively sought out celebrities, sports stars and other familiar faces, offered them endorsement deals, and used their existing fan base to boost sales. Influencer marketing is based on the same principle, except that it makes use of people who are famous online rather than off to influence people online and on social media.
Social Proof Drives Brand Loyalty
A decade or two ago, the companies that were killing it in terms of brand loyalty were the ones who could afford ads in glossy magazines and flashy television ads. Marketing was still an outbound affair, and it was the big brands that had the cash to throw at the problem that were reaching consumers.
That’s all changed today.
In fact, studies have shown that while millennials are the most brand loyal generation, they’re also the Netflix generation who probably don’t see a whole lot of mainstream ads. They’re getting their social proof from the internet, from social media, from bloggers and YouTube channel owners.
In other words, social proof today is anyone’s game, and with a little savvy and creativity, newer, smaller brands are using the many platforms available to hack growth and create cutting edge, sought after brands.
Influencer Marketing How-To
While it is true that you can buy a Kardashian tweet or get a celebrity to mention your product on their social media feed, those options don’t come cheap, and they’re out of reach for most small business owners. Even if your business happens to operate in a sphere where that might be valuable to your brand.
The good news is that there is an easier and cheaper way to use influencer marketing to generate interest and social proof for your business. Here are a few steps to consider:
- Figure out your audience. Influencer marketing only works if the influencer mentioning your brand is able to reach your target market.
- Find and list potential influencers in your niche. Consider bloggers, YouTube personalities and other prospective brand evangelists who operate in your niche or geographical area. Remember, if you run a brick and mortar business, geography matters as much as reach!
- Follow your prospective influencers. Comment on their posts, retweet them or share their posts on your platforms. Get noticed for being a valuable part of their community.
- Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Brands have had huge success by sending out a flagship product to influencers, and having them wear, try or use it, and blog or mention it online!
- Target smaller, more locally visible potential influencers. Offer them freebies instead of payment, which will help you boost your brand’s visibility and social proof.
Because influencer marketing with this type of strategy uses real people, it can actually be more credible and valuable than paying a celebrity for an endorsement. When prospective clients see that real people use your products and love them, they’ll want to try them too.
Create a Great Value Proposition
Influencer marketing can take time, and for it to work you need to have a great product or service. Create a great offer that your prospective brand evangelists can’t refuse, and reap the benefits of being mentioned by people in high places.
It is, without a doubt, one of the best and most innovative uses of the internet and social media to market a product, service or brand, and because you’re using real people who aren’t affiliated to your company, you’ll be amazed at the credibility and demand you can build with this sort of strategy.