Marketers are always striving to fine-tune their audience targeting methods. This is particularly true in social, a space where focused, meaningful engagements with the right consumers in the right channels at the right time can amplify brand awareness — and increase profitability — exponentially. One strategy that’s performed exceptionally well in this area is influencer marketing.
A successful social influencer has the potential to shape an audience’s awareness, actions and purchase decisions in ways brands cannot. Their fans and followers view them as an objective source of information and advice. In fact, connections with these individuals are arguably some of a brand’s most profitable relationships because they enable brands to tap into a network of trust, create advocacy and generate actionable insights.
Influencers are all around you. They are a diverse mix of people who represent an even more diverse mix of interests. They don’t have to be celebrities. They don’t need to hold a degree. They don’t even have to be well-known to you. They just have to be “famous” within the circle of people (i.e., the targeted consumers) you are trying to reach. If they have a strong connection with — and influence over — your audience, then their value to you is virtually unlimited.
Say, for example, your company is launching a new sports drink. So far it’s tested well, but you’re over a year into launch and your product has yet to really take off. You could use the targeted, brand-boosting power of a social influencer — someone who knows everything there is to know about sports drinks. He or she has tried them all and, moreover, this person has an avid following who shares his or her passion and relies on said sports drink aficionado to keep them up to date on the latest, greatest electrolyte-replacing, delicious-tasting recovery drink. So you make a deal with this person (financial compensation, free product, special promotions, etc.). After that, he or she tries your product, loves it and then blogs, Tweets, Facebooks, YouTubes or [insert "verbified” version of social platform name here] about it. Their followers respond. You see sales begin to rise and, the next thing you know, you’re getting posts on your Facebook fan page asking when the next flavor is going to launch. This is, of course, a best-case scenario, but it’s a realistic one nonetheless. The point: When it’s done right, social influencer marketing works, and it works well.
As you can most likely guess, finding the right influencers can be a bit of a scavenger hunt, but they are a highly valuable resource to identify and leverage for brands. There are millions of very focused influencers and advocates talking about everything from Shih Tzus and organic gardening to knife sharpening and everything in between. Many are ardent people talking about the things they’re most passionate about on places like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube and personal blogs. Many of them are considered “subject matter experts” and people who have a breadth of information and understanding about specific topics. Those are the folks who marketers want to engage and connect with — people whose expertise and reach can be leveraged on our clients’ behalf.
At Engauge, we have a team dedicated to influencer marketing. Equipped with extensive, hands-on knowledge on the subject, they can work with you to develop an influencer marketing strategy that can enhance your brand’s presence, increase its reach and elevate its success. For more information, including a copy of the Engauge paper “Enfluence: Social Influence Study,” click here.