What is Social Media Influencer Marketing?
Using social media influencers in your marketing is the practice of building relationships with the people who can build relationships for you. Whether an influencer’s audience is small or large, an influencer can reach consumers via their blogs and social networks that your brand may not be able to.
Components of an influencer marketing strategy
- Identify the topics of influence that speak to your brand’s target buyers.
- Vet the influencers who are a good contextual fit with your brand. Look for content quality, reach, engagement and an alignment of values with your brand.
- Relate and engage with to your target influencers via email and other social channels. Ask them to partner with your brand and offer them compensation to create mutually beneficial relationships.
- Measure all earned media and identify which influencers and which topics lift your brand the most.
- Repeat. Once you’ve identified who and what works best for your brand you can build a stronger influencer marketing strategy each time around.
Why Social Media Influencers?
- Action and social mentions are driven more effectively by “power middle.” Mid-level influencers like bloggers have a smaller but more loyal audience and drive 16 times more engagement than paid media and “mega influencers.”
- Having influencers to discuss their brand experience is crucial. 88% of buyers consider online reviews “very influential” when making a purchase decision.
- Millennials represent an enormous segment of the purchasing population yet are drastically different from other verticals when it comes to how to market to them. They vet purchases and a brand’s story more than other buyers.
- 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads
- Thinking a step beyond buyer personas and developing influencer personas is a valuable way for marketers to be sure they are reaching the right influencers.
- The most effective influencer marketing strategies build and foster strong relationships with current network, happy consumers and new influencers who are active in relevant verticals.
- Since influencer marketing is about building strong relationships, a strategy that values a mutually beneficial relationship is key.
- Consumers want authenticity from the brands they interact with. When marketers equip influencers with an entire experience to share about a brand or product the posts are more engaging.
- Develop relationships with influencers before you need them. Relationship building takes time and once the connection is there, activating influencers becomes a lot more seamless and effective.
How to Build a Strategy Around Social Media Influencers
- Identify your goals before reaching out. Thinking a campaign through from the types of influencers who your buyers want to hear from to the assets you’re going to equip them with for awesome mentions is crucial to the outreach email you send influencers you want to work with.
- Break through the clutter. We are all bombarded with advertising that marketers need to be extra creative in the way they team up with influencers. Give them something interesting to talk about.
- Focus on an experience. Instead of a simple product review, create an experience for your influencers to share with their network. This allows them to create more interesting content which leads to more engagement for your brand.
- Always think visually driven. Equip your influencers with high resolution images and photo opps for their content. How can you help them create something pretty for Instagram!?
- Think outside of the box and experiments with different verticals of influencer topics. Track and monitor the engagement so you can scale the segments that work best.
- Consider more content quality and niche topics as priority. Numerical qualifiers like traffic and social data should only be considered once an influencer is vetted for a snug contextual fit.
- Create a message that people actually want to hear and share. Whether it’s in the form of research, infographics, surveys, fun facts, etc. make sure your message is something unique and interesting. From there you will be able to steer your influencer strategy ship in an awesome direction.
- Approach influencer marketing in a “network building” approach. Create a strategy that identifies the bloggers that lift your brand the most and segment them in to an advocate group that you nurture and work with ongoing.
|What they did:
ModCloth recognizes happy consumers as their most powerful influencers and has built such close relationships with them that they get hundreds of pieces of user generated content a week. They even named some of their dresses after their favorite bloggers!
Embrace your assets. Work with the customers who love you and give them a voice by treating them like super stars.
|What they did:
Huggies wanted to target new moms so they created a video of two sisters reuniting over the birth of a baby to bring all who viewed the video to tears. Through social promotion and outreach the video went viral and Huggies’s scored a place in the hearts of Moms everywhere.
Align with the voices that your buyer personas want to hear from.
|What they did: This adult beverage company teamed up with influential bloggers to host red carpet parties featuring their drinks. Because they sent branded swag and even a red carpet to each blogger—the content they scored was visually driven and highly engaging.
Key takeaway: Plan thoroughly through your campaign so that you can make sure to equip your influencers for plenty of photo opps and something to talk about across all of their digital channels.