With all due respect to fashion and politics, the most buzzword-centric industry has to be marketing. One trendy word supplants another and before you know it, there’s something else you need to be saying. While most fads fade like a good pair of Japanese denim, influencer marketing has the staying power of a permanent marker.
Influencer marketing is to content and social media marketing what the middle slice of bread is to a club sandwich. Remove it and you’re left with an ordinary sandwich that no longer commands a heading on the menu. Bad analogy? Probably, but I really like club sandwiches.
Marketing with influencers is a lifeblood, that seamlessly connects social media and content strategies. However, like Snapchat for business, it’s actual meaning and effective application remains a bit obscure.
First, let’s serve up a working, cocktail party definition before moving on.
If Anyone Asks…
"Influencer marketing uses key individuals to drive messages to a specific target market."
Influencers – The Ugly Truth
For a long time, marketing campaigns that included influencers belonged to generic celebrities- think music, television and movies. The greater the fame, the bigger the following and the higher their influence was perceived. Luckily, times have changed although there are still exceptions: Kim Kardashian can charge up to $200,000 for a single Instagram photo.
Currently, a much more targeted approach is the weapon of choice for the overwhelming majority of businesses. Individuals with niche, loyal followings can target your exact demographic at a decimal of the cost.
Ready, Set, Influence
Every influencer campaign commences with social media.
- The influencer broadcasts your message through their social channels.
- What are they going to say? This is the content piece.
- Are you going to create the content or will you trust them to do it in the right voice?
- Ultimately, the influencer leverages their…ummm…influence to engender some word-of-mouth.
God is in the details here. Successful execution is contingent upon intimately knowing the influencer’s audience, the business’ directives, creation of the right message and the timing of its delivery.
Do I Want Advocates Or Influencers?
Answer: Both, but if I’m starting out, I’ll take the influencer.
There is some confusion regarding advocate versus influencer marketing. Advocate marketing is aimed at existing customers. Companies incentivize their supporters to review products or solicit business from their friends. Naturally, social media plays a huge part and it’s a numbers game. Companies aim to build brand loyalty by increasing their population of advocates. However, advocates are not necessarily influential and this is a key distinction.
Influencer marketing is the discipline of searching out social media accounts that have a large reach and a devoted, trusting fan base. By having your demographic aggregated under the umbrella of a trusted influencer, the potential is enormous. Their influence and “street cred” can translate into authenticity and trust for your own products or services.
Keys To Victory:
- Find influencers who have a sizable following – duh.
- Know your influencer’s interests and passions - no conflicts with your brand.
- Know the influencer’s audience - collars and cuffs don’t always match.
- Identify influencer’s potential reach in your target market.
Arming For Battle:
- Develop a systematic approach that can identify influencers, across brands and products.
- Scan competitor’s social pages to get a feel for potential influencer types
- Ask your friends or clients which influencers they follow
- Ask influencers you worked with if they have another recommendation (should be for different product or service, obviously)
- Build a data base with people you identified and start the reach out.
- Don’t give up!
At Sagency, we’ve developed some methodologies but searching can be performed manually as well. To make things easier in the future and stay on top of your campaigns, compare plan vs. actual outcome and let the system work for you:
- Create targeted content and campaign directives with influencers in mind.
- Viral Looping - leverage paid influencer to expand awareness to broader but connected demographic of targeted consumers.
- Monitor metrics - influencer reach, sales, awareness etc.
Pardon the pitch - if you need help in determining an influencer strategy or are interested in us creating a campaign, feel free to contact us directly
This post is the one of the first in a series of marketing tutorials, so be sure to follow us at @SagencyNYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Hope you found this to be helpful, and if you have any questions/comments feel free to leave them below!