Investing in influencer marketing is a key factor with consumers being more skeptical of traditional advertising and marketing techniques. Also the fact that with technology the consumers have more and more control over what they see or hear.
An influencer is defined in the dictionary as: Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship”; in other words they are social media “celebrities”, with power over others.
Influencers are a powerful marketing tool because they are authentic and trusted creators of content. It is a totally different approach than a direct advertisement, which is usually not welcomed by the audience in the first place. Through influencers the brand can get closer to the audience and actually be helpful to the viewers. Although followers don’t know the influencers it is shown that ordinary people trust their opinions quite a lot; some research say that is even as powerful as families´ and friends´ opinions. This digital “celebrities” are ideal to target specific audiences that might not be reached any other way through social media.
There are 4 rules to identify an influencer:
- Popularity ≠ Influence
- Look at the number of followers they have on social media but it is also important to see how they are connected to your target market.
- To be influential a person has to be actively writing on topics that matter to your audience.
- To be influential a person must have authority.
- This means that a person is quoted by others in the industry.
- Influencers drive action.
- This means that when they recommend something it should directly boost sales.
Investment in influencer marketing is a growing trend, but it is still very complex; especially the process of finding the right influencer. There are millions of people, a variety of platforms, a selection of products, endless posts, so we find ourselves immersed in this whole new universe. The brand needs to choose the accurate influencer or else these marketing efforts will be worthless.
A company can manage their influencers either in house or outsourcing it. When choosing in house a good option is a software package that is able to help the firm identify influencers and measure results. In house is usually used when the firm has only a low-to-moderate budget, since this saves money, however it is more time consuming and less expertise from part of the business. The other option is to work with a third party that is responsible for all the arrangements; they would have more expertise and frees the firm´s marketers to focus on other things, but it is more expensive.
Some tips when choosing influencers:
- Know your target audience and your influencer´s target audience.
- Know who the potential influencer for your brand targets too. The fact that is talking about products in your industry doesn’t necessarily mean they are reaching your segment. Therefore when defining the audience the firm needs to be as specific as possible. This tip would not only help the business to reach the right audience, but it gives the influencer authenticity.
- Find values that align with the company´s values
- In other words, the digital “celebrity” needs to match with your business. Influencers become a representative of the brand so they need to embody what the firm is; they need to be advocates of what the company stands for.
- Set a goal
- Understand that as with any other medium there needs to be a strategy behind the content you are pushing, it shouldn’t be there just to be there. This would not only help the focus, the execution and choosing the right influencer, but will also aid later in evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign.
- Create a long-term relationship with your influencers that drive sales to your company.
- Have a plan in case the influencer screws up.
- This should not happen but should be there in just in case.
- Analyze the influencer quantity and quality
- Understand how they build their networks, how they engage with their audience and what type of content they post
- Start with the few and invest with the best
Also take in to consideration:
- How regularly do they post
- It depends on the platform: in Facebook it is recommended it is about 1 post per day; in Instagram is good about 1-2 posts per day and on Twitter is around 15 tweets per day.
- Do their fans interact with their photos
- Understand the number of likes and the comments people make on their posts. Also evaluate if the influencer answers to them and engages with their audience.
- How would your business compensate the influencers
Local businesses are also able to use digital celebrities to boost their sales. Some of the tips above may apply to them, but they should try to look for micro-influencers which usually have 1,000 to 10,000 followers.
Some tips to find micro-influencers are:
- Use hashtags that are related to your product, business or industry
- Conduct research on social channels
- See who has a large number of followers and see if they tag brands in their photos.
- “Choosing an influencer who is already a fan of your product or service makes it easier to persuade them into promoting your brand” (Chris Ake, Forbes)
- Research on Google
- Be very specific and take a special look at bloggers.
- Find influencers that engage with their audience, this is especially important for local.