Every brand wants to get their message out to the masses. Smart brands use many different forms of marketing such as content marketing, affiliate marketing, buzz marketing and more. There is also influencer marketing to add to the mix.
Influencer marketing is a very effective form of marketing that seeks to use so-called “influencers” – people who are very popular with your brand’s audience. It’s essentially word-of-mouth marketing with a little extra push.
Usually what happens is that a popular blogger, YouTube star, Instagram star or other social media personality mentions a product or service, provides a link to said product or service, and then gives their opinion on that product or service. Sometimes they simply use it without comment – especially when it comes to some appliances, clothing, and peripherals that don’t need much explanation.
Examples of Influencer Marketing
Let’s look at just a few examples of influencers in food, fashion, and makeup. There are, of course, influencers in all sorts of niches. Just look up your topic to start finding them. Look through the images, video, and other content to find mention of name brand products and services.
- Mommy Tang & Mother-in-Law Kimchi – Mommy Tang is a YouTube star who cooks and eats vegan food on her YouTube channel. For quite some time she has mentioned and used the Mother-in-Law Brand, Kimchi. At some point, she ended up with the free product, and eventually the founder came to her home and made the kimchi right on her channel.
- Cindercella and Maybelline Makeup – This influencer likes doing different types of makeup on her own face. She’s passionate about makeup and fashion and talks about Maybelline on occasion, but she also talks about other types of makeup.
- Jill McKeever, Simple Daily Recipes and Instant Pot – Jill is a micro-influencer who likes to demonstrate cooking of plant-based food. She also loves her Instant Pot and often talks about it, and even has a coupon code too.
- NinaAndRanda and Many Products – Nina and Randa are twins and popular YouTube stars and actual actors. They have made the most of their YouTube channel by promoting fashion and beauty products that they like.
- Fashion Dads – This Instagram star likes to make fun of clothing and fashion, but he does promote products too in a very humorous way. With over 170K followers, he’s quite popular.
- Baddiewinkle – This glorious grandma has flair and grit. She shows off fashion in her own unique way and has over 2.6 million followers. She’s a big fish when it comes to influencers.
- Erin_WeightWatchers – This micro-influencer obviously talks about Weight Watchers and Weight Watcher’s products. Normally it’s not as blatant as this, but if her audience is tuned in enough you never know when Weight Watchers might ask her to do a review.
You get the idea. They should be real people, with real lives and real opinions. They should be creative, take great photos, and make high-quality images, videos, and other content in order to become effective influencers.
Why Influencer Marketing Works
Influencer marketing works because people have developed relationships with the influencer. They know, like and trust them. As you know, the “know, like, trust” factor is very important to getting people to buy from you. Finding a way to use the people that your audience already knows, likes and trusts is an amazingly effective way to convert because of that.
- They Know How to Speak to Their Audience – If you’ve picked the right influencer, their audience is your audience. They have already built a relationship with their audience, and know exactly how to speak to them so that they act.
- Their Followers Trust Their Opinions – Due to the test of time, an influencer’s audience really trusts that the opinion of the influencer is accurate and based on fact. Therefore, if they say something is great, it probably is. The audience only knows that due to the experiences they’ve had with the influencer.
- Influencers Increase Engagement – The right influencers can increase engagement exponentially. The reason is that as someone who has clout with their audience (and yours), they already have what it takes to get the conversation started.
- They Can Increase Traffic – When an influencer talks about your brand, it will immediately be on the minds of their audience. If you’ve picked the right person to promote your brand based on their audience, then you’ll see a spike in traffic within moments of the mention.
- They Will Increase Sales – Conversions will increase in a big way when you choose the right influencers to talk about and mention your products or services. The reason is that good old “know, like, trust” factor we’ve been talking about.
- Ads Suck – It can be said much more plainly but most people not only hate seeing advertisements, they also ignore them. The right influencer can get a lot better results than traditional ads can.
- They Build Trust – Right now you’re essentially unknown, maybe. You can’t build trust with people until other people have stated that they trust you. Using an influential person to mention you will build that trust.
- It Increases Reach – By engaging with an influencer, you’ll expand your reach to their audience (who should be your audience too). This is a great way to build your brand.
- They Improve SEO – Remember backlinking? Well, enter influence marketing and you have back links that are truly useful. The link to your website, shopping cart, social media account and so on, will mean more coming from an influencer than anyplace else.
- Provide Proof – When an influencer starts talking about you on their channels, it shows the world that you’re a brand to be reckoned with and thought about. You can even look bigger than you are with the right influencers.
- Greater ROI – Since influencer marketing outperforms other types of marketing and advertising, you’ll experience a larger return on investment over other methods.
- Improve Credibility – Nothing much can make you credible in the eyes of most people except for the word of someone they find truthful and credible. In many ways, the trust that the audience has for the influential person rubs off on your brand.
Influencers really get results, which is why the use of them is on the rise. Big brands use them on pretty much every platform – from YouTube to Facebook and everything in between. And, when you think about it, it’s nothing new. People have been using other people with clout for ages to promote their products and services. Just look at how many celebrities do TV commercials. It’s not much different from that online.
Developing Your Strategy
One of the first things you need to do when you decide to use influencer marketing is to develop your strategy. Without a strategy, you will make mistakes that are hard to recover from. Popular influencers want to work with brands that know what they’re doing and that follow through.
- Define Your Goals and Objectives – You need to know why you’re seeking out influencers and what you expect the results to be from using them. It might help to look at case studies of other brands like yours that have effectively used influencers.
- Classify Influencers – Once you identify some influencers that your audience follows, you need to determine if they’re big fish, medium fish or little fish. Don’t discount the little fish – especially if you’re a small business. After all, you may not yet be able to afford the big fish.
- Build a Relationship with Them – When you find them, even the big fish, don’t approach them immediately. Instead follow them, like them, and engage with them. If you build a relationship with them first, there is always the potential that they’ll find your brand on their own and recommend it. If not, you’ve laid the groundwork to work with them.
- Get Personal with Your Contact – When you do reach out to them, be personal. Never send blanket messages to all the influencers asking them to do stuff for you. Instead, find out what you can do for them. Be of service and they may repay the favor.
- Make It Simple for Them – When you finally do approach them about promoting your brand, make it easy for them. Provide them with a detailed perspective about what you’ll do in exchange for mentions or unboxing or whatever it is that you want them to do. Alternatively, some influencers have price lists right on their websites.
- Don’t Wait – Once you’ve followed the steps, get to it. Contact them and try to work out a deal. If you’re unsure what to do, you can ask for help from companies like com.
It might sound like a long road to getting to the point that the influencer is telling their audience about you, but it’s going to be worth it in the end. Because when you take the time to choose the right people to promote your brand, you’ll be in good company and further your reputation in a good way.
How to Find Influencers
Before you can work with anyone, you need to find them. Thankfully, finding influencers is simple and only takes a bit of time.
- Find Content Like Yours – It doesn’t have to be exact, but find popular content that speaks to the same audience as you do. Then look who liked it, look at who retweeted it, and look at who shared it on Facebook. Make a list of the people who have large audiences.
- Set Up Google Alerts – One way to find content that is like yours is to set up a Google Alert on the topics. That way you can get them sent right to your inbox. You can also, once you’ve identified the influencers, add them to your Google Alerts too so that you can keep gathering information about them.
- Search Reddit – Search your topic and then find the content that has the most upvotes. Look at who shared it first, and you can also look at the ones with the most comments. Study who shared, and try to find out more about them. They could be an influencer. You can find out about Reddit users via Reddit Investigator.
- YouTube – On YouTube, you can search for topics, then you can check out each YouTuber on SocialBlade to find out their reach. Make note of the types of things they share that aren’t their own products or services.
- Any Social Media – It’s important to always be on the lookout for influencers on social media. You can individually search for content on all platforms, look at who is sharing, and who is “liking”. There may be influencers within each of these areas.
- Popular Blogs in Your Niche – Locate the most popular blogs within your niche. Use Google to do a search on viral blogs about the topic you use. Literally, ask Google to “find viral posts about your topic”. Then you’ll see the author as well as the people who shared it, and trace how it went viral.
- Join Influanza.com – Mentioned above, this is a network that micro-influencers can join, and business owners who are looking for micro-influencers can join and search. There is a fee for business owners, but they are low.
When you do find people who you think could be potential influencers, start tracking their demographics and watching their sharing habits. You want to know where their content is coming from and why they chose to share that content. That will help you when you approach them to share yours.
Why Great Influence Is So Important for Your Business Beyond Sales
Being able to influence others is an important ability. It’s bigger than more sales; it’s even bigger than authority. There are a variety of reasons this is true.
Hardly anything gets more results in sales than the word of an audience’s influencer. There are many reasons, most of which are psychological. According to McKinsey, word-of-mouth marketing (which is essentially what influencer marketing is based on) is 37 percent more effective than other types of marketing.
It’s All about Community
People get very attached to those that they admire. Look at how much influence people like the Kardashians have. They’re not experts at much, but people love watching them and buy what they talk about. This is because they’ve built a community surrounding themselves via social media, spurred by the popularity of their reality shows.
It’s Crowd Sourcing to the Max
Imagine if you set up an influencer marketing campaign with popular YouTubers, which involved ten of them unboxing your products, or talking about your services, all on the same day. You can bet that a certain percentage of their audience will most definitely inquire or purchase.
It’s Not Very Expensive
More than likely you can get an influencer to talk about your products or services simply by sending them a free product. Sometimes they may want you to offer a giveaway to their audience. But there are massive numbers of potential influencers wanting to earn this way, so the ball is in your court for most niches.
They Bypass Paid Advertisement Blindness
Most people don’t pay any attention to advertisements anymore. They can blink, pop out, or otherwise annoy us, but most of us ignore them. Therefore, you must find another way to get to your target audience, and influence marketing is the best source since it never feels like an advertisement.
When you place your product or service into your audience’s eyesight while they’re already ingesting content that they enjoy, you’re putting yourself into a great spotlight for your audience. It’s almost organic and they won’t feel sold to if it’s done right.
You Can Track It
This is one of the most wonderful things about influencer marketing. Once you set up a campaign, you can track it and manage it. Everything online, if set up properly, is trackable and traceable. Because of this, you can target more proficiently than other forms of marketing or advertising.
Great influence does lead to more sales. But, it also leads to more of that know, like and trust factor we keep talking about. It does all depend ultimately on your delivering a great product or service as promised. This is the key to long-term customers and clients. It’s probably even the key to finding more influencers.
Nine Factors You Should Know about Influencer Marketing
Before you get too deep into influencer marketing, be sure you understand what it takes. It’s not about bombarding anyone who will listen with “please show my stuff on your channel” letters. It’s not about blanketing everyone about your products and hoping someone will respond. It’s about building real relationships and developing strategic partnerships that will stand the test of time.
- You Must Build Relationships
You can’t just contact random people who hold influence over your audience without taking it slow and building a relationship. Contact them personally, praise them on what they are doing, comment on their content, and share their content. And when you are sure that you’re on their radar, then ask.
- It Takes Time
Unless you have a huge brand already, most of the influential people are not going to want to work with you until they get to know you a bit. So, be prepared to take the time you need to ensure that they trust you and know you’ll follow up on your promises.
- You Must Deliver
If you inquire about a partnership with an influential person on any platform, you must deliver on your promises. It doesn’t matter if the promotion prompted sales or not; you should do what you said you’d do if they did what they said they’d do. Deliver excellent products or services so that they’ll want to tell more people about you.
- It’s All Part of Immersive Content
Think about how for years now, movies have used immersive content to get people’s attention. The favorite character drinks a branded drink, uses certain makeup, and wears certain clothing. They might even use a certain brand of tax software or whatever brands wanted to immerse their content into the show.
You can do the same. A good example is Mother-in-Law Kimchi, mentioned at the start of this report. A YouTuber named MommyTang was talking about MIL Kimchi and using it in her recipes, long before MIL sent her free Kimchi and gave a coupon code. This is a partnership made in heaven.
- Creating Strategic Partnerships Increases Success
When you find the right influencers to help you get the word out about your products or services, your success will increase each time. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Work toward creating partnerships with influencers so that you both get something out of it.
- It’s Better Than Traditional Advertising
As was mentioned previously, this type of marketing works better 37 percent of the time than traditional advertising. That’s because it’s like word-of-mouth marketing but now done in a purposeful and planned way.
- It’s Going to Get More Expensive
Right now, the price of entry is relatively cheap. Most influencers are willing to promote for a free product or free product to their audience – even coupon codes and that type of thing. But, as large brands switch most of their advertising dollars to digital, the price will go up.
- High-Quality Content Is More Important Than Reach
Don’t just find influencers based on their reach. The type of content they put out is far more important than reach. Of course, if they only have five followers right now, just keep watching and catch them after they’ve grown a bit.
- Know What to Measure
Likes, shares, retweets, tweets, pins, re-pins, and engagement are all measurable. But, you should measure the things that represent your goals. For example, if you hoped for more engagement, did you get it?
When you are sure that you know what you’re doing, don’t delay getting started. Start with the simple things like liking people who are potential influencers, commenting on their content and sharing their content. Then move to engaging with them. Eventually, you’ll be able to approach them about your plan.
Seven Ways to Attract Influencers to Your Brand
Sometimes influencers will contact you instead of the other way around. This is really an ideal way because it puts you in the driver’s seat in terms of how much you’ll have to offer them to get the deal made.
- Develop an Influential Brand
Your own brand can be improved upon and made more significant as you ramp up your business. Get the imagery, voice, and message right so that when people realize it’s your brand, they know it means quality and value.
- Create a Catch Phrase
A lot of big name businesses have catch phrases, and you can have one too. Try to find a catch phrase that matches the meaning of your brand and encompasses what you want your customers to know and take away. Think of KFC’s “finger lickin’ good” and how that gets attention. When you hear it, you automatically think of KFC.
- Connect Your Promotions to a Charity
You can get a lot of attention on your own by connecting any promotions to a charity that you know matters to your audience or to the influencers you want to attract. More than likely, if they see it and have engaged with you enough to trust you, they’ll share it without your even asking.
- Ensure That You Create High Quality
No matter how many people talk up your products or services, if they’re not great, people will stop buying as word will get around. People will complain to the person who told them about the product and then they might even reverse their endorsement.
- Get the Facts Right
When you create sales copy, try to avoid too much smoke blowing. At least ensure that everything you claim about your products and services is factual. Nothing can be worse than an influencer calling out your erroneous facts online.
- Be Creative
If you’re not naturally creative, you may want to hire people to help you. Get professional branding advice so that you can truly stand out from the crowd of brands that are trying to get people to promote them.
- Make It Easy
When you do approach someone about sharing your brand with others, you want to make it easy for them. You should do all the work so they don’t have to. You create the coupon code, you create the affiliate link for them, and you create buzz words and copy that they can use if they want to.
If you’re engaging with the right people online in various social media channels, eventually influencers will contact you about getting a free product. Or they might just buy your product and try it out because you caught their attention. This is the best way to create a partnership with influential people for your brand.
How to Use Micro-Influencers
One big mistake that brands often make is trying to use only influencers who have huge followings. But, you can have a big impact using micro-influencers. They are dedicated and passionate about their topic, have smaller audiences (usually under 100K), but have excellent content that is very targeted to a specific audience.
- Follow Them / Friend Them / Like Them on Their Platforms – Not only should you do that but you should let them know you did it by calling them out in a message and tagging them.
- Ask Them to Follow You – When you engage with them online, let them know about your social networks too and ask them to follow and friend you.
- Invite Them to Your Free Webinars – Let them know you’re legitimate by inviting them to your free webinars so that they can see you in action.
- Attend Their Events – If they have events, ensure that you’re on the list. The more you can hobnob with them, the more likely they are to want to work with you in the future.
- Give Them Freebies – Let them inside your membership sites free of charge. Give them free products and services. They can speak more honestly if they really used your products or services.
- Make It Simple for Them – Do all the work; write the press release; create the art and graphics; write the copy. All they should have to do is tell their viewers or readers about you.
- Don’t Insult Them – Never ask them to endorse your product without them trying it. You need to trust in the value of your products and services enough that you can risk a bad review for the right influencers.
Because they’re smaller, and not as in-demand, you’ll make a huge impact on them by building a relationship with them and asking them to try your products and services. Remember not to ask them to endorse you but to try it, and if they want to, tell their followers about you.
Since most people check with social media before making purchases, and people trust word of mouth more than display advertising, you can’t go wrong with using micro-influencers if you want to boost sales. This is because in general, influencers with smaller audiences engage more and thus influence more.
Getting Started with Influencer Marketing
Now that we’ve covered how important this type of marketing is, you’re probably wondering how to get started. Follow these steps to help ensure influencer-marketing success.
You’ll find them on social networks. They’ll be highly involved with their topic, passionate, connected, effective speakers, creative and often are trendsetters. You’ll know it when you find them. Ensure that their audience matches yours.
To do this correctly, you need to truly understand who your audience is. Try creating audience personas to help you identify them properly. Your ideal influencer has the same audience. There may be some cross-over to other audiences but in general, if your audience isn’t in their audience they’re not your influencers.
Market to Influencers
Once you know who they are, it’s time to work on building relationships with them. You can do it the same way that you do it with your audience. Target them with advertisements, blog posts, and freebies.
Use social media advertising like Facebook Ads to get their attention. It will help to conduct a free webinar. Send an invite directly to them since you know that this is involving their audience. They’ll want to know.
Market with Influencers
If you’ve succeeded at the first two, the third will almost happen naturally. Often, they’ll have seen your products and services due to your marketing efforts, and try them on their own. Other times you may have to reach out to them to make it happen.
When you do reach out, never ask them to say anything positive or negative. Provide the information they need to know and even artwork, a press release, and other information, but never tell them they must like your product. Let them like it on their own because that’s the only way word of mouth really works and will continue to work.