Even though influencer marketing is not an entirely new trend, as the world has shifted toward social media it’s worth having a look at the definition of it and how it’s different to other forms of digital marketing. Here’s how you can use it as part of your brand strategy by following the best practices of influencer campaigns.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing can be defined as a type of marketing that uses key leaders who usually have a considerable influence (e.g. social network following, YouTube subscribers, etc.) so this can be used to reach a large market with your brand message. It’s a way to reach a specific audience not via directly advertising/communicating to them, but via a person whom they like and trust.
Influencer marketing campaigns frequently have social media and content marketing elements. The influencers use their personal social media channels to spread the brand message and that includes creating content or distributing content created by the client.
Who Are the Influencers?
Assuming that an influencer is always a celebrity is a very common misunderstanding. Yes, of course celebrities are influential and command a lot of following and attention in social media. However, subject experts with a specific network of loyal followers are also a very good target for marketers who want to engage said audiences. So it’s not necessarily important to have millions of followers, what matters most, and of course this depends on your campaign objectives, is the level of engagement and trust of the audience. While Kim Kardashian might be a hot influencer to attract for certain campaigns, you might prefer to engage an influencer with fewer followers but that is relevant to your particular type of app/platform if your target market is gamers.
How is Influencer Marketing Different from Word-of-Mouth and Advocate Marketing?
The nature of influencer marketing includes spreading the brand or campaign message through word-of-mouth, however the two terms are not synonymous. The same goes for advocate marketing. Whereas the influencer doesn’t have to have any previous relationship or history of being associated with the brand or company that’s being promoted, advocates are usually chosen amongst already loyal customers and incentivized to spread their love for the brand via reviews or social media sharing. Another key difference between advocates and influencers is that the latter are usually paid (money or freebies) to communicate to key audiences about the brand.
How Is It Done Best?
If you want to succeed in influencer marketing there are a few things that you need to know:
- Do your groundwork first – identify the top brand or product influencers and build a relationship with them. There are different tools to help you track the influencers, but don’t forget that if you need their help, you need to help them too. And we don’t only mean by paying them.
- What’s the story – it’s not just about finding and building a relationship with the right people. After all, even if an influencer is very popular you still need to create a story for him/her to tell the world, a story that’s compelling and credible, so their network will take action and ultimately become your customers.
- What makes them tick – the best influencer campaigns are the ones where the company/brand and the person they engage to talk to potential clients are functioning at the same wavelength. You really need to look for fit and not just hire anyone who is popular. You’re much more likely to succeed if your message touches the influencer on a personal level.
- Track – influencer marketing is no different than any other marketing activity when it comes to tracking results. You can’t just rely on making a viral campaign, and even if you are luck enough for it to happen, it’s always good to have the hard stats that will help you emulate the success (at least to a certain extent) in the future.
- Test – different variations can have different effects. Test and test some more. Just don’t overdo it.
All this said, influencer marketing is still a relatively new field and not guided by rigid set of rules. Many marketers are not sure and fear the risks in terms of negative publicity if they go for it or being left behind if they don’t do it.
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