Try and remember the last few important decisions you had to make – like buying a new car, enrolling your kids into a new school, becoming a vegetarian or switching health insurance.
Now think about what led you to make those decisions.
If you’re anything like me, it’s likely to be a combination of pop culture, paid advertising (it’s the billboards that get me), and your own research and intuition.
And then there’s influencers.
Influencers are nothing more than people we like and trust – yet their power to persuade us and the number of our decisions they impact (consciously or not) is pretty profound. In modern marketing terms, we refer to influencers as people with large and engaged online followings who’ve developed authority and notoriety. They might be bloggers, reviewers, industry experts, celebrities or your uncle Barry.
These days, influencers are spokeswomen and spokesmen for brands. This is hardly a new concept; companies have sponsored people to use and talk about their products and services for years. The difference now is that businesses have greater access to influencers than ever before, along with more options to tap into people with niche audiences that suit their own.
But how do you find the right influencer?
The first thing to get a grip on is why you want to engage an influencer in the first place. Are you seeking to drive awareness or action? Also, think about how influencer marketing will integrate into your existing marketing plan. Do you already have an established digital presence that can handle an increase in attention and traffic? If you don’t, you might want to get your house in order first.
When it actually comes to finding the right influencer, it’s a lot like dating on Tinder. Swipe right on people who share your values and causes, who are a visual fit with your target audience and present in a way that aligns with your business. Swipe left on influencers that won’t resonate with your target market – whether that’s in appearance, attitude, demographics or all of the above.
What will you get them to do?
This is critical – and something which you need to think about carefully before you start engaging potential influencers. Different people will offer various services and so you should have a good idea about how you’ll get maximum impact.
Services influencers can offer include:
- Posting social media posts using your product(s) or service(s) to their followers
- Tagging your business and products/services in their posts
- Reviewing your product or service – via blogging, vlogging or email
- Appearing in your advertising as an official sponsor
- Appearing at your conferences
- Speaking at events and/or appearing on panels
Most influencers will take an active role in developing content to promote your business and will have guidelines about what they’re willing (and unwilling) to do. In every case, having a clear view around how (and why) you want to integrate influencers into your marketing plan will help you select the right person for the job and get the most out of your relationship.
Do they work for B2B?
Whilst consumer marketing is the first thing that comes to mind when you talk influencer marketing, there’s also a compelling case for using influencers in B2B.
This was backed by a recent case study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions for TapInfluence which found that influencer content generated 11x higher ROI than the average display ad after 12 months.
You don’t always have to have a big budget either.
In a campaign for IBM Verse, the company let its employees do the influencing, encouraging and empowering them to promote their products on social media. The results included 50,000 new registrations to IBM Verse in the first two weeks of launch.
And that leads us to micro-influencers.
There’s a growing trend (including a growing list of agencies) which are connecting businesses with regular people, with small followings, to promote their products and services. We often associate influencer marketing with paying big money to celebrities and well-known figures. Whilst this is still a tried and true means of marketing, using regular people with a smaller circle of influence is also proving to be highly impactful.
So, the bottom line is this:
As long as we continue to be influenced by our peers, idols, authoritative figures and celebs, influencer marketing will have its place. Just remember that you need to understand why you want to engage with it, and how it can fit into your marketing plan. Agencies like ours, can help you connect with influencers as well as curate impactful content to share.
But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Aussie superstar Chris Hemsworth has to say about it…