From Kim Kardashian to your favorite blogger to the Yelp Elite review you just scanned, all of these people are a form of influencer who help you make a very important decision: what to spend your money on.
The concept of an influencer is a trending form of marketing that relies on key individuals to influence potential buyers. They can be academics, analysts, bloggers, journalists, industry professionals and/or celebrities. What influencers all have in common is they’ve become trusted sources in their communities by posting credible commentary, engaging with their followers and showing true passion and understanding for their areas of interest.
Here’s how brands can find and tap into them for successful marketing strategies:
Find the right influencers for your brand.
Brands should be careful when looking for influencers. The web is a perfect playground for imposters and hackers. Look for the following qualities on social accounts to identify an influencer: high engagement and reach, relevance in the community and authenticity.
Check out not only their follower count and likes, but also the quality of people they’re interacting with. Does their account look genuine or spammy? Do they have a verified account or a legitimate website linked to them? Along with an influencer’s popularity, they should also have a strong voice and be a key demographic within your target market.
Engage with them and their community.
Don’t be a stranger! Influencers are all about interaction, and they will be quick to notice brands that engage with them. It can start with some likes or a regram, and turn into a full-on partnership where they regularly mention and promote a company’s products. For example, if you notice a blogger frequently answers questions and responds to comments, see if they’d do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) to highlight products, company news or upcoming campaigns.
A big bonus is to see whom else the influencer interacts with, and start conversations with them as well! Influencers care deeply about their community and will recognize brands that care to interact within it.
Pay it forward.
When a social influencer does write about your company or gives you some social media mention love, a brand should reciprocate. Share their article on your Facebook page or discuss them on your company blog. Relationships are a two-way street, and influencers and brands both have to give some to get some.
Over time, an influencer and brand can develop consistent strategies to cross-promote each other. For example, they could do an Instagram takeover for a week to promote fun products or partner with your brand to promote a contest, milestone, or charitable effort.
Overall, it is important to create an authentic and trustworthy relationship with influencers. Your followers will be quick to pick out what looks like an unrealistic endorsement or a forced connection. With the right people in your corner, your brand can increase awareness and engagement, create advocates, and enhance campaign strategies and activities.