What is Influencer Marketing?
Celebrity endorsements have been used since the dawn of advertising. Of course, it’s not always easy to track down Derek Jeter, Lady Gaga or Jennifer Lawrence for a ringing testimonial. With social media channels, almost anyone can be elevated to celebrity status these days. “Influencers” are subjective, after all. A marketer may not want to buy your app because Pierce Brosnan uses it, but he may give the demo a whirl if an industry blogger he respects puts it forth as “the marketing app of the year” or if he hears about it at a webinar he’s attending. Your brand can effectively increase its reach by identifying industry experts and tapping their wealth of fans or followers.
Why Should You Bother With Influencer Marketing?
Consider these pertinent statistics:
- 3% of people generate 90% of the impact online.
- 1 in 3 people check out a brand based on industry recommendations.
- Customer retention rates are 37% higher when customers follow referrals.
- 74% of marketers say they will use influencer marketing in their strategies in the coming year.
Image Source: Contently.com
According to Shane Barker, influencer marketing helps you:
- Build a shining reputation with ringing endorsements
- Reach more targeted prospects beyond traditional channels
- Stay current with social media marketing trends
- Meet your objectives for brand awareness, lead generation, sales, engagement and retention
- Improve brand awareness and imprinting
- Generate and maintain leads from buyers who may not have otherwise heard of your brand.
How 5 Brands Rocked Instagram Using Influencer Marketing
Instagram is a popular platform for influencer marketing campaigns, given its engaging visual nature and 300 million + users. Social Media Examiner points out five brands that really embody the successes possible with influencer marketing:
Birchbox teamed up with lifestyle blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere to promote their May box of beauty goodies. They posted five photos that reached over 550,000 consumers and garnered 18,000 likes. They gave Christina Zilber, founder of Jouer Cosmetics, access to the Birchbox Instagram account on Mother’s Day. She posted four photos detailing life in Los Angeles and solicited moms for their best beauty tips to win a free giveaway. Over 1,000 comments came pouring in.
Madewell reached over 1 million targeted consumers by partnering with five influencers (including Stephanie Sterjovski and Bethany Marie) in the promotion of their signature tote’s anniversary. They used the company blog to introduce their influencers with Q&As, style tips and behind-the-scenes features.
Boxed Water worked with Jaime King, Megan DeAngelis and Aidan Alexander to promote their National Forest Foundation philanthropy project. They agreed to plant two trees for every Instagram photo posted with the hashtag #Retree. One month later, they had 5,200 trees to plant!
Johnnie Walker partnered with adventurous influencers who generate excitement about their brand by posting travel videos from branded events taking place around the world.
NatureBox worked with blogger Joanna Goddard at A Cup of Jo who let them post three photos of her kids snacking on food from their monthly roundup — which received 1,200 likes and some free press from other mom blogs.
How To Get Started With Influencer Marketing
When starting to think about influencer marketing — or any type of marketing at all, you have to define your target market. You want to gather statistics on the gender, location, age and other defining characteristics of the people who are most likely to buy from your company. You want to have a good idea of their pain points, common obstacles to purchasing, and how they make final decisions to buy.
Next, you’ll need to conceptualize a specific campaign. Rather than calling on influencers to simply “promote your brand,” it’s generally more effective to develop one concept fully (as the Instagram examples illustrate). Decide what content you’ll create and promote — be it blog posts, photos, videos, etc.
Finally, you’ll need to find relevant influencers who can help get your message out there…
Tools for Finding Top Influencers
Fortunately, there are easier ways to find top influencers in your niche than an old-fashioned Google search. Try these tools:
- BuzzSumo: Find blog authors with the most shares and backlinks.
- FollowerWonk: Track down the most influential handles on Twitter.
- PeerIndex: Get authority profiles for influencers by subject.
Organize & Manage Influencer Networking Logistics
Once you have a list of top influencers, you can organize interactions, content schedules, workflow, payments (if necessary), and interactions using a platform like Webfluential, Sidekick by Hubspot, or Traackr. You’ll find it extremely helpful to have all your posts, tweets and shares accessible in one organized place.
Get Influencers Involved Regularly
Direct solicitation for a particular promotion is the best way to get influencers on board with your brand, but there are other methods to make your content more influencer-friendly as well. Consider these tactics listed by Hubspot:
@Mention them: Add influencer Twitter handles in your social posts to get their attention and earn retweets. For example, when Shareaholic mentioned Ann Handley’s Content Rules book, she retweeted it to her 221,000+ followers, thus exposing them to the Shareaholic brand.
Curate lists: Wordstream’s Larry Kim wrote an article for Inc.com about marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Naturally, his free promotion stroked the egos of these experts and opened the door for interaction with them.
Post guest blogs: Get great content for your blog, boost your brand credibility and reach new audiences by inviting experts to contribute. Busy experts may prefer an interview type setup which frees them from actually having to write the post themselves. Zazzle Media publishes a monthly “Big Interview” where they talk to thought leaders.
Add expert commentary or quotes: As you’ve probably noticed, we compile a lot of research and opinions in each of our posts. Doing so provides better value to you, the reader, as you don’t have to read dozens of other articles to gather the most salient points. Yet, it also helps us by attracting more influencers who appreciate the mention.
Host an Ask Me Anything: Inbound.org asks influencers to devote 30 minutes of their time to answer questions — which, as you can see here — has led to interactions with hundreds of participants. While it obviously serves the influencer, it’s also bringing more eyes to Inbound’s site.
Ask for a testimonial or review: Offer free goods or services to influencers prior to your main promotion and gather testimonials or reviews to drive brand enthusiasm.
Tracking Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Retweets, likes, shares — these are all indicators of reach. Yet, they do little to tell you if your time and money have been well-spent. You also want to consider indirect forms of promotion like comments on your blog, first time visitors, and new email or phone inquiries from prospective customers. Ultimately, you want to assess measures like conversions (purchases, registrations, downloads) attributable to an influencer’s posts. Google Analytics can help you observe the source of online traffic, but you will likely need a more robust tool, such as:
- Webfluential: Uses advanced algorithms and tracking to measure ROI.
- Augure: Tracks influencer mentions and sends email updates when a desired action takes place.
- Mixpanel: Go beyond page views to see if clickers are taking the desired actions to convert.
Image Source: Contently.com
Need Help Getting Started With Influencer Marketing?
Mod Girl Marketing offers one-on-one consulting with all of your marketing needs, including influencer marketing specifically. Some clients just want to get advice on the best influencer marketing tools or to bounce some ideas off our experienced digital marketing consultants for an hour or two. Others may want help constructing a detailed step-by-step action plan or access to our team of social media marketers to implement. Contact us to talk shop!
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