There’s been a lot of effort devoted in recent years to getting the ever-changing formula just right for marketing via social media. Some of the tactics have worked well and some have worked for a period of time and then lost their marketing power. But one effort that continues to evolve and deliver results is influencer marketing.
The gist of influencer marketing is that brands enlist others with large or loyal followings on social media to help spread the word to their communities about a brand’s products or services.
The Benefits of Influencer Marketing
- A single person can influence many people far better than any advertising or content marketing.
- Influencers can process access to an audience a brand might never reach on its own.
- influencer’s audience views them as a trusted source of information (and the brand by association).
- If a brand is a good fit with an influencer, some of their audience may opt to become part of the brand’s audience or followers as well.
Early on, marketers witnessed the influencer technique rise in popularity with bloggers. This earned marketing stemmed from unpaid or preexisting relationships with influencers who were natural brand advocates and often mentioned products for free. However, bloggers and those with larger social reach soon realized their value in the equation and looked to capitalize on it. That meant an increase in the number of sponsored posts and available paid placements whereby bloggers would certainly mention a product, but only if they were compensated (paid media). Often that meant big bucks were being demanded, but in many cases, the costs weren’t justified as they typically didn’t yield sufficient ROI.
Targeting bloggers that want to be compensated as influencers can work for retailers with larger budgets, but the average etailer can’t afford shelling out that kind of money with no guarantee of conversions or just a one-time spike when the post appears.
The key is developing long-term relationships with influencers and using more creative ways to find those that are the right fit for your brand. It’s not about appealing to the masses, but rather going small and finding those with a niche following that relates directly or tangentially to a product or service.
There’s great success to be had when using other social sources beyond blogs to undercover new influencers. Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social platforms have been invaluable in mining for influencers. Ten of thousands of people on these platforms have devoted - even rabid - followers. Although their respective quantity of followers may not be huge, the quality is there and so is a trust for products that are recommended.
It takes some time and searching to find the right influencers and create a target list of who to reach out to, but it’s worth the effort and can deliver big returns.
Durk Price is the CEO and Founder of eAccountable a digital performance agency specializing in retail representation and providing outsourced program management services (OPM) for numerous Internet Retailer Top 500 merchants. Connect with Durk Price on Google+ or LinkedIn and eAccountable on Facebook.