What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing is a type of social media marketing where brands or companies use influencers, those who “inspire” or “guide” others, to promote their products. Usually, these influencers aren’t celebrities, however, they have a large social media presence and following base and a great social media presence, a large following base, and people put a lot of trust in these influencers with a strong social media profile. “Digital Marketing Institute” reports that 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations; influencers promote products or services on their social media platforms to attract others to buy them.
Why do brands/companies use Influencer Marketing?
The problem with social media marketing is that brands lack the network of followers to make an impact on their target markets. Especially with small businesses, they have very few associates to even represent their brand. Additionally, brands find it challenging to create content tailored to the right audience, those who will interact with the posts on a daily basis.
This is when Influencer Marketing comes into play. As opposed to marketing directly to an audience or group of people on social media, brands target influencers.
By doing so, brands achieve two things:
- A brand can take advantage of the influencer’s large social media following, gaining credibility and building a rapport. Not only do they build their credibility, but they also get early access to the large following base of the influencer. According to “Thrive Agency,” 63.23% of people have said that they followed a brand that was featured by an influencer on a social media post.
- When the brand decides to use the influencer marketing strategy for another product or service in the future, the influencer will already be familiar with the brand since influencers aren’t celebrities, but their social media presence and their online lives look very much like a famous person.
Your Target Market:
Before you begin to search for an influencer to work with, you must make sure to understand who your consumers are. This includes knowing the demographics of your consumers such as their age, race, education level, lifestyles, etc. Once you have that figured out, determine whether or not your consumers are on social media platforms, and if so, which platforms they commonly use. By narrowing down the platform(s) used and the demographics that define your consumers, you now have a direction on how to select an influencer.
When selecting an influencer, just as you determine your consumers’ characteristics, you must also pay attention to the audience an influencer caters to. Influencers have a brand of their own, therefore, if their image does not align with your business’s brand, then a partnership may fail to produce the desired results or even negatively impact your business. For example, if a business that sells athletic clothing partners with an influencer who consistently posts about “skipping gym day” would be a disconnect between both brands.
As a small business, you may have a limited budget to spend on promotional efforts, so utilizing influencers, specifically, micro-influencers is a great way to make use of your resources. Micro-influencers are influencers that have less than 100,000 social media followers. They generally have a niche brand or interest that they highlight through their posts, and they also have more genuine engagement with their small yet loyal following. The biggest plus of working with a micro-influencer is that it costs less to partner with them than a macro-influencer (e.g. 500,000+ followers), and it sometimes involves simply gifting them a free product or service trial. That being said, influencers with a larger following certainly have important and considerable strengths as well.
Searching for an Influencer:
There are several ways to find an influencer to promote your business. You can look for them the old-fashioned way by searching hashtags or keywords on the social media platform and manually sifting through posts to find a profile. You can view your profile’s comments or “tagged in” posts to find influencers that are already active in showing interest in your business. You can also use any of the various tools that are created specifically for connecting businesses to influencers such as Awario, Buzzsumo, Dovetale, BuzzStream, etc. There are a range of tools that support different platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc., and they also range in their functionality and costs. If you are looking for a faster and more convenient method, try out these tools to find one that successfully connects you to the influencer you want. It is also worth noting that there may be influencers part of your own community. Partnering with someone that is local to your area provides an opportunity to boost your business within your community, an aspect that is particularly important if you have a brick-and-mortar store. It also provides an authentic and more relevant partnership by having more than a simple interest in common. You can find local influencers using the research tools mentioned above, along with sifting through your geographic location tags, or even just through conversing with other local businesses that have worked with a local influencer.
Influencer Marketing is not a tactic that is solely applicable to a specific size or type of business. It is a meaningful and cost-effective way for your small business to promote itself, and we hope this blog post helps you start connecting with influencers.
By Riddhi Upadhyay and Anoushka Shukla