Customers are more likely to buy with a peer recommendation than they are when exposed to traditional marketing tactics.
Here’s why influencer marketing is critical to growing your business.
Social media has become an important part of a customer’s purchase process. If a customer is tittering between which product or services to purchase, a review or recommendation from an influencer can “influence” their decision.
This occurrence brings great opportunity for your brand to leverage influencer marketing as a strategy. There’s a reason big brands shell out millions of dollars for endorsement deals with key influencers.
Except you don’t have to be a big brand to foster lucrative relationships with influencers. Twenty years ago, key influencers were movie stars and athletes. Today, they’re bloggers, podcasters, and YouTube celebrities.
With the proliferation of social media, there is no better time to leverage influencer marketing to grow your business.
How Influencer Marketing Can Grow Your Business
Facebook and Twitter are perhaps the most obvious place to think of influence as they have a large user base. If you identify an influencer, there’s a good chance he or she will have a large following on one of the two of these networks.
I must distinguish the two by saying that Facebook influencers may have a stronger connection to their following than Twitter. However, you may find that Twitter influencers may have better organic reach than Facebook.
Also, it’s important to remember social networks are not suited for long-term content and provide limited SEO benefits (outside of Google+).
Here are some ideas on how influencer marketing can grow your business…
- Offer affiliate programming. Give the influencer a chance to generate a review to promote your product or service. If your commission is compelling, the influencer will develop creative ways to promote your offering to their following. Keep in mind not all influencers welcome affiliate offers. Start by making a competitive offer and suggest how your product will be a valuable asset to his or her following.
- Provide discount codes. Everyone likes free stuff. One great way to provide value via social media is to offer discount codes. Although this has similar functionality as an affiliate program, the tracking capability decreases significantly as the discount code will likely propagate throughout social media.
Self-made YouTubers have amassed large followings that can help grow your business. No matter what the industry, there is a YouTube influencer that can help generate awareness of your business, product or service.
More importantly, the visual nature of this platform allows for more brand or product engagement, such as unboxing your product for review.
Unboxings, product demos, and giveaways are a great way to leverage multimedia influencers. It allows viewers to experience the product before making the purchase while trusting the review or recommendation of the influencer.
Here are some examples…
Here’s how influencer marketing can grow your business.
- Send them product. This is probably the best way to get influencers aware of your product. Shipping your product to them can lead to all kinds of added exposure. Simply put, if they become users of your product, it’s inevitable that it will appear in their content at some point.
- Send them swag. If you’re unable to send your product to the influencer, perhaps provide them with some promotional items. A t-shirt, mug, pen, bag, or mouse pad could increase brand awareness at minimal costs.
The technique of reaching out to influencers today is the same as it was before the Internet was invented. Businesses would invite a journalist from their local newspaper down to see a play or food critic to their restaurant. With the emergence of social media, influencers have built a following that mirrors major publications.
Since there are minimal resources needed to create content and maintain these blogs, influential bloggers can create highly specific niche content for consumers. Blogs have a long shelf life and are a great place to exchange knowledge.
For instance, if a young mother wants to solve a challenge related to caregiving, she may consider turning to a blog that offers expert advice and opinions.
Here’s an example…
Another way influencer marketing can grow your business is when you target bloggers. Here’s how:
- Product reviews. This is a popular option for many influential bloggers. Reviewing a product provides the influencer’s following with a detailed review of your product in the context of how that influencer uses it.
- Event Invites. Inviting bloggers to your event is a great way to get them to share their experience with their following. Have an event or section of the event dedicated exclusively for influential bloggers so their experience would engender a positive write-up.
There are several companies such as Klout, Kred, and MozRank that you can use to identify influencers. Once identified, you must invest time in building relationships with these influencers. Each influencer is as unique as the platform that gives them influence. Whether it’s social media, multimedia or blogs, start with the platform best suited for conveying the best qualities of your product or service.
Most importantly, collaborate with the influencer to see how to best incorporate your product into his or her content. If done successfully, it can easily catapult your brand awareness into new markets whereas traditional marketing would be more difficult. That’s how influencer marketing can grow your business.