The advertising game has changed. Today’s social media-savvy consumer has more control than ever before and businesses are now being forced to find new ways to reach their target audience.
The impact of traditional marketing is in constant decline and consumers are relying less and less on big corporations to inform their consumption. Instead, they turn to independent opinion-shapers on their favorite social media platforms.
The rise of social media has lead to the phenomenon of social media ‘celebrities’ or ‘influencers’. These influencers have accumulated tons of followers in every niche imaginable and marketers now look to them as part of their overall marketing and social networking strategy.
What is an influencer strategy?
An influencer strategy is exactly what it sounds like: a marketing strategy based around people that have enough influence on social networks to reach a specific market.
Influencer marketing is all about getting your piece of the consumer attention pie. For example, if My Little Big Web suddenly decided it wanted to sell a line of vibrantly colored mascara products, we might reach out to an influential makeup artist on YouTube in the hopes that they would try our product and recommend it to their subscribers.
In a world where social media plays such an integral part of our daily lives, a single tweet has the power of a dozen billboards, at an astronomically lower cost. Shrewd marketers understand this and take full advantage of it everyday.
YouTube influencer dope2111 does makeup tutorials. Just look at those views!
As you can see in the screenshot above, YouTubers can have reach that is quite literally impossible to attain with traditional marketing. Have we succeeded in grabbing your attention yet? Here are 5 steps to implementing your own influencer marketing strategy:
#1 Know your audience
The first step to launching an effective influencer strategy is to research and understand your audience. If your company sells hand-made wedding dresses, you most likely won’t be targeting teenage boys that like retro sneakers.
Start by figuring out your target market demographics, including age, gender, location, income level and anything that might be a factor in purchasing your product or service. Once you’ve found this information, you need to know what your audience responds to.
This can be done by studying your audience’s personalities, values, hobbies and lifestyles. How and when do they use a certain product or service? Are there any features they appreciate more than others? What are their preferred means of social networking? Do they enjoy any particular type of online content?
Once you’ve defined your target customer, finding influencers that are most likely to grab and hold their attention will be that much easier. Be warned, however, that using an influencer that doesn’t appeal to your audience can negatively affect your brand.
# 2 Find influencers
Now that you know what kind of influencers are likely to captivate your audience, your search can begin. However, you should be aware that the best influencers will also often charge the highest prices. So, it’s important to set reasonable goals.
If you’re a freelance web designer who just started offering services online, you might not be able to get a mention from the most in-demand web design blog in the industry just yet. With this in mind, it’s important to set your sights on influencers that will spur growth and help you get to that level.
In order to help you do this, there are several great tools at your disposal. Here’s our top 5:
- Little Bird
BuzzSumo, a popular tool to find influencers.
#3 Influencer outreach
Once you’ve built a list of potential influencers, it’s time to start an outreach campaign. If you’ve ever successfully submitted a guest blog for another website, you should already be somewhat familiar with the process.
The first thing you should understand when performing outreach is that influencers can smell a generic copy and paste message from a mile away. Avoid these at all costs and instead focus on personalizing your message.
Even better, start interacting with an influencer’s content on social media beforehand and establish a relationship. Writing thoughtful responses on their social media channels will leave an impression and give you leverage when you finally contact them directly.
The outreach portion of an influencer strategy can be a bit tricky but it’s important to not let yourself be discouraged. It only takes one positive answer to get the ball rolling.
#4 Be transparent
When you’ve triumphantly gotten an influencer interested in your product or service, it’s important to be as transparent as possible. This will help you avoid any mishaps and potentially hurt your brand.
When coming up with an influencer strategy, you should have a good idea what kind of tasks you want the influencers to perform beforehand. Do you want them to share an article from your blog? Get your product trending on Twitter? Review your product on YouTube?
Once you know what task you want them to perform, it’s important to inform the influencer about your brand image and how you want to be perceived. Every detail, from hashtags to anchor texts, can make a big difference.
#5 Influencer strategy analysis
How does a successful company like Loot Crate find out if their influencer strategy with a YouTube mega-star like PewDiePie was worth it? Like everybody else: using data.
What kind of data, you ask? The most obvious metric to consider would be traffic to your website. This can easily be measured by using a tool like Google Analytics to see if your traffic increased during the period after an influencer mentions your product or service.
Another consideration is brand awareness on social media including shares, new followers and engagements. Lastly, you want to measure the amount of revenue that your company generated after implementing an influencer marketing strategy.
Influencer campaigns can be enormously effective in today’s online marketing environment. If you’re having a hard time gaining traction for your business, influencer marketing can help you reach your audience and fast track your goals without spending an arm and a leg for unpredictable results.