The past two years have seen influencer marketing emerge as one of the fastest growing and most effective ways of building a customer base for business.
The technique relies on aligning your brand with an online persona who promotes your product or service to their legion of followers and fans.
The upshot is this marketing method quickly shines a spotlight on what you do to a wide audience with the benefit of also engendering immediate trust.
So let’s take a look at the rise of social influencers and what they can do for business.
What exactly is an influencer?
An influencer usually refers to an online persona with a large, engaged and active following, whether that’s on Facebook, Instagram or via their own blog.
Or as Smart Insights succinctly explains: “This persona will most often have found success through social channels and/or blogging, but is essentially any individual who has the undivided attention of their audience, and can influence consumer behaviour”.
And using them to give leverage to business brands is a movement on the rise.
A growing trend
Google the words “influencer marketing” and you’ll soon establish just how quickly this marketing trend is growing. Influencer Marketing Hub cites a 325% increase in Google searches for the term over the past 12 months.
They also note it’s the fastest growing customer acquisition method on the market at present.
Influencer marketing holds 28% of the market share, followed by organic searches at 15%, email campaigns at 13%, paid searches at 11%, display advertising at 5%, and affiliate marketing at 3%.
Meanwhile, 37% of the marketers they surveyed are now dedicating a marketing budget specifically to influencer marketing, and 67% are looking to raise that budget in the next year.
So why so much interest?
The major benefit of influencer marketing is that it’s akin to having a personal recommendation of a product or service by a trusted friend, and business has long understood the bottom line results of word of mouth.
Forbes explains 80% of all business to customer and business to business purchases involve some form of word-of-mouth recommendation during the purchase cycle, while “businesses that utilise influencer marketing have a 37% better retention rate than those that don’t rely on word of mouth”.
That’s not to mention that using a prominent well-followed influencer can fast track the path to reaching your audience, increase your own social media account, and create positive brand awareness and association.
So how do you go about it?
Know your influencer
The true power of influencers is in finding the right person to affiliate your brand with.
Their values should closely align with yours and the market you seek to attract. This also involves having a comprehensive knowledge about your target market, who they are, what they like and where they seek their information.
What are you looking to achieve?
It’s also important business looks to the ultimate outcome of what they hope to achieve by working with an influencer.
Is it more followers, brand awareness, sales, audience reach or increased engagement with your brand?
Let the influencer do their job
Working with an influencer is not about crafting content for them to recite. It’s about letting them engage in their way with the audience they have carefully honed over time. This fosters the natural relationship between your brand and the influencer, along with their followers.
Put simply, influencers are a major component of the new media, and it’s a marketing method likely to increase in the coming years. The key is knowing your customer, finding the right influencer and being clear about you hope to achieve.