To some, influencer marketing is a strategy that brands with million-pound digital marketing budgets can afford to employ. It isn’t for small brands, who can’t afford to pay an influential celebrity to endorse its products.
However, influencer marketing isn’t all about big brands and celebrity promotions. At its basic level, it’s just word of mouth marketing. This means that small brands can do it too, without having eye-watering marketing budgets or the right connections.
Smaller businesses can make use of micro-influencers, brand advocates with a decent number of followers and a passion for what you’re doing. It’s just like having an army of delighted customers telling everyone they know how great your brand is.
First of all, why try influencer marketing?
Before you can dip your toe into influencer marketing for the first time, it’s important to understand why the strategy works. Remember that influencer marketing is all based on word of mouth recommendations, which can be extraordinarily persuasive. It’s all about trust.
A recent study showed that an enormous 92% of consumers trust recommendations from individuals (even people they don’t know personally) over ads and other branded content. The same study revealed that 70% use reviews as their second most trusted source of information when choosing a product, while 47% take a look at blogs to gain an insight into products. Research from Twitter also showed that nearly 40% of Twitter users made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.
The first thing to do in your quest to harness the power of influencer marketing is to put a strategy in place. It can take months if not years to cultivate the right kind of relationships between your brand and influencers, so you need a convincing plan in place.
The next steps:
- Find influencers. The ideal influencer is someone with some authority or credibility in your field, with an ample number of engaged followers and crucially – a willingness to act as an influencer for your brand. You can do this through tools such as Followerwonk and Buzzsumo, or you may have better luck with engaged followers who already retweet and respond to your content.
- What can you offer them? Brands such as ASOS send out vouchers to customers who are active on social media inviting them to post reviews, but there are less cost-intensive ways of engaging happy customers. You can run a competition, inviting videos from users for the chance to win a prize, or send out a limited number of free products to influential bloggers for review.
- Be creative. If you don’t have the budget to hire the most famous person in your field to be an influencer for your brand (this isn’t always the most effective tactic anyway), you’ll need to be creative. Hold an event and invite key social media influencers to it, or help out another influential brand by promoting their content – in the hope they’ll do the same. It’s all about making friends and partners, all of whom will shout about your brand.
Has your brand had any success with influencer marketing? What are your top tips? Please feel free to share your thoughts.