In the age of technology and social media, influencer marketing is a concept that both large and small businesses have taken advantage of throughout the last decade. Reports have shown that companies spend over $1 billion annually on influencer marketing. While it’s unlikely that you’re going to get a Kardashian to represent your brand, everyone has an influence. Understanding how influencer marketing works is going to help you determine the right incentive for your influencers.
Explaining Influencer Marketing
Joe Sinkwitz, founder and CEO of influencer marketplace Intellifluence, describes the concept as a term that means you’re hiring someone else to spread the word of your brand or message. He also states that influencer marketing can happen in the form of celebrity endorsements, social media posts and mentions, blogger reviews, and more.
In many cases, the content the brand or product receiving the exposure is sponsored. Typically, sponsored content means that money gets exchanged. However, there are times where brands send products to influencers of their choice for free so that they can get a review. Recently, the FTC has ruled that all influencer marketing campaigns have to disclose if the content is sponsored.
How Influencer Marketing Works
Influencer marketing works on three different levels. While you don’t need to have hundreds of influencers representing your brand, it’s still nice to know that you have enough to draw customer attention to your products or brand. Keep in mind that the smaller your influencer list is, the more high-profile influencers you need. Until your brand builds notoriety, you might need to have a more extensive list. Here are the three primary reasons this type of marketing works:
- Relies on Trust
Trust is precious in the social media age. When you invest in an influencer who has built up a high level of trust with their followers, their peers are going to be interested in purchasing your product because it’s being used by the influencer(s) they follow.
- Accommodates a Niche
Using influencer marketing allows you to hire an influencer that targets only a specific niche. As an example, if your business produces cosmetics, you can hire an influencer that is known and trusted in the beauty industry for using high-quality cosmetics.
Celebrity endorsements usually cost more than standard social media influencers, but using these influencers allows your business to get attention without investing in multiple resources.
How to Use Influencer Marketing
The founder and CEO of Intellifluence, Joe Sinkwitz, has contributed many tips to businesses looking to start using influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategies. The practices that Joe Sinkwitz suggests have been broken down into four key points that help to ensure the influencer campaign is a success.
- Define Goals
Before starting the process of an influencer campaign, you need to define the goals that you have for your business. Once you have your goals defined, it’s easier to search out an influencer that can reach your target audience. As an example, if your goal is to acquire visibility for your brand, you can seek out aspirational influencers.
- Appeal to Senses of Authority
This method enables you to reach out to the most authoritative/well-known influencer of the bunch that you’ve selected. From there, you can hire them to create an influencer strategy. The influencer strategy relies on multiple influencers reaching out to others.
- Use the Proper Channels
This practice is simple. To make your influencer campaign work, you need to advertise through the proper channels. As an example, Instagram marketing isn’t going to have as much of an effect as LinkedIn and Twitter for software marketing.
- Agree on Compensation
You don’t need to undervalue your brand or product when seeking influencers. Often times the product that you provide is going to pay for itself. However, if your influencer does request compensation, ensure that the agreed amount is going to get your business sufficient marketing for the cost.
When combining influencer marketing with other strategies that your business has used in the past, you can have hugely successful campaigns. The most important part of using influencer marketing is the influencer that you choose. Don’t just jump at the first influencer that’s open to promoting your product or brand. Spend some time getting to know them, and find out what they can offer you and what you can offer them. When done correctly, both your business and the influencer can benefit significantly from the campaign.