Ready to make the influencer marketing leap?

Influencer marketing is word of mouth on steroids.  The best influencer marketing campaigns are the ones that don’t look like an advertising or marketing campaign, but their followers are made aware of your brand or product. 

Influencer marketing has been used for some time now, and is picking up in popularity by brands across many industries.  You have been probably keeping a watchful eye on it to see if it is something your company and brand should be considering.

Why Influencer Marketing works
We all know how powerful word of mouth and testimonials work for our marketing. They are organic commendations from people just like you and I who have used the brand and had a positive experience.  And we all know what a commanding endorsement a positive review or comment about our brand or company can make to sales.  

Influencer marketing is tapping into this social proof market, and using the strength of the social influencers impact in the marketplace or reach online, to achieve brand awareness and sales.  These influencers can be social media users such as suburban mothers, business entrepreneurs, a friends’ daughter, moving on up to YouTubers, bloggers, artists, models, actors and celebrities – anybody that may have influence with the audience you are trying to reach.

You probably remember this photo – it wasn’t just a fun photo taken at the Oscars in 2014, it was an influencer marketing campaign by Samsung for their Galaxy note 3.  

The proof is in the stats
We have already seen some impressive statistics and successes to make us sit up and take notice.  

86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016, of these, 94% believe the tactic to be effective. 

74% of people turn to word of mouth on purchase decisions (June 2014).

Twitter users report a 5.2X increase in purchase intent when exposed to promotional content from influencers. (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)

40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)
What products and services suit influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing can be used for all sorts of products and services, industries, business to consumers or business to business.  Utilising the different social media avenues for each brand to find its target audience and using the right social influencer can help you find them.

Buyer Beware: What can go wrong with influencer marketing?
But as with everything, there are some failures which don’t get talked about so much, failures that could do serious damage to your brand, company or product.  

Here is an Australia Post one.

You will need to check out the legalities of influencer marketing in your country, as these are different across borders.

Are you ready to take the influencer marketing leap? 
Influencer marketing humanises your company, it can be a powerful strategy and you can see some real gains and sales.  The pressure to join is enormous, but influencer marketing is a serious marketing campaign that shouldn’t be taken lightly.   

Before you embark on your influencer marketing campaign, check out these pointers, to see if you are ready.

1.    You know your audience
As with every marketing plan and campaign, it is critical to thoroughly understand your target audience.  Pull out your target customer’s demographics from your bottom drawer to refresh your memory.  With a clearer picture of your customers, you can plan the influencer campaign to develop a richer and authentic message.

This can help you pinpoint if there are real benefits to an influencer marketing campaign, what kind of customer service you will need to set up if they are going to respond and the type of social influencer they are likely to be ‘influenced’ by.

2.    You already have a social media presence
Your social media presence doesn’t have to have millions, even tens of thousands of followers but you know that your target audience hangs out on the relevant/various sites and that they engage with it.

3.    You are ready to put the time, effort and money towards it
Start with your marketing objectives.  Do you want to build brand, launch a new product or service? Build an influencer marketing program around that.  

Drilling down on the why will create a better influencer marketing strategy.  This includes a comprehensive marketing and PR plan.  There are numerous angles you need to plan when working with influencers and content creators, so you need to be clear about your objectives and how they are going to fit into the bigger picture.  With clear goals and an advanced PR angle, this will help your campaign be more successful, across all channels, and give you value for money.

4.    You are prepared to build a relationship
This is the time to be building a relationship.  It is more than a business dealing, it is a powerful partner for your business. Build a relationship with your new influencer, tell them about your products, services, your company, what makes you tick.  Get to know them, what their brand is all about, how their followers engage with them.  Remember your social influencer is wanting to maintain trust with their audience, as this is what drives them and their content.

This is more than booking a Facebook post or a spot on their Instagram feed, it is about authenticity, about getting to the core of your brand and their brand to make truly unique content.

It can’t be contrived, it should be matched with their brand, it should look and sound natural when they mention your product or brand! It is a real working relationship where ideas are exchanged and knowledge shared.

5.    Word of mouth plays a big part in your company and industry
Your customers are increasingly heading to testimonials, social media sites and directories before making a purchase or contracting the services of your company.  The comments, feedback and reviews from existing customers found on these sites hold more authority for potential customers.

6.    You have the right content ready
Your brand has stories to share, statistics, insights anything that is going to make great content for your influencer to use.  You also need to have product availability; no sense in spruiking a product if stock is held up on the wharves. You need to have processes in line to be ready for the added publicity, demand or stretches that are going to be made on your business.

Your website is ready and up to date, it contains content in line with the message that your influencer is creating.

Here are more good examples of different types of influencer marketing campaigns to give you inspiration – OK, so their budget may be a little bigger than yours but all you need is a wild imagination and a video camera, photo or some really awesome content.

Ready to take the plunge?  There are many influencer marketing agencies that can help you start and set up a great campaign.   Got any questions or need some inspiration for a special influencer marketing campaign – I have some great ideas to bring your brand to the next level.