What is Influencer Marketing?

In this rapidly evolving world of technology, not all of us can keep up with all that is happening around us; we have other commitments and priorities, and maintaining a social media presence is not one of them. However, there are a few of us who do this for a living, and they are our gateway to the social media world.

These people are known as influencers and have an adequate influence on the virtual platforms of social media, while also being popular enough in the real world to get endorsements, brand deals, and more.

The question that arises here is, why are we talking about these influencers, a majority of whom are still young enough to be in school? And how can we, as a business, create a win-win opportunity for both parties? Keep reading to find out more.

More about Influencer Marketing

The term “Influence” refers to swaying opinion, either by solidifying it, or deviating from it. When a brand collaborates with an influencer to use their social media outreach and following to influence their target audience to make a buying decision in their favor, they are utilizing influencer marketing. These influencers can be experts in a domain that may be related to a specific industry, or they may just be popular based on charisma and other talents.

Either way, a person who has the influence on your potential customers, is a profitable channel for advertising your product or service. The only prerequisite to being an influencer, therefore, is to be well-liked enough so people would appreciate your opinion and give you their attention.

A misconception about influencers is that they must have a large following. This is not true, although it is preferable. Influencers with a smaller following, or micro-influencers, also have a good enough reach and influence on their audience, which may even be enough to drive more brand engagement than some other bigger social media personalities may have.

Why consider Influencer Marketing?

Every marketing campaign is built with some goals in mind. These goals may be short or long-term, based on which certain strategies are adopted. When it comes to Influencer marketing, marketers use this collaboration opportunity as a means to achieve short-term goals while gaining an audience much larger than their own. The objective is to convert another’s audience to become the brand’s audience too, and Influencer marketing is a big driver of brand awareness and visibility.

A big reason to opt for influencer marketing is because of the return on investment. If you have a product or service that you want to advertise, instead of spending a large amount of money on creating commercials, adverts, or posters, send a PR package to an influencer with a reasonable following, and ask them to unbox the product and share their experience. The return on investment for an influencer marketing strategy is much better than conventional marketing techniques, especially if your target audience is the youth that is consistently on social media.

Although influencer marketing achieves short-term goals, like introducing a new product to the market or getting more traction for an upcoming event, this strategy also achieves long-term goals. When working with an influencer, remember that they too are just people. Approaching an influencer with a lasting relationship in mind, would most definitely benefit your brand in the long run.

As they grow, you grow too, and the audience begins to associate your brand with an excellent influencer on social media, and they become your brand ambassador. It all depends on your mindset when considering influencer marketing, and the rest is what you make of it.

Lastly, the followers of an influencer trust that person because they relate to them greatly. When a person sees their favorite influencer using a product that they might consider, they are more likely to buy that product on the basis of influencer loyalty. If this concept is emphasized long enough, the influencer loyalty can be converted to brand loyalty for the business benefit as well.

How to develop an Effective Influencer Marketing strategy?

Now that you know how a social influencer can help build a profitable marketing campaign for your brand, you must know how you can devise an excellent applicable strategy for the same. For this, keep these things in mind, as you would for a regular marketing strategy: Budget, Approach, Channel, Implementation.

With the perfect balance of these three elements, you will nail your influencer marketing strategy. In this section, we will learn a bit more about all four, and how you can use them to your advantage.

Budget: Every marketing strategy has an allocated amount that is set aside from the overall marketing budget. Based on the priorities of the marketing team, you must recognize which influencer you are targeting and what the appropriate budget for them should be. Influencer marketing involves influencer-specific discount codes, vouchers, giveaways, and more. Start with building a clear strategy on how you will structure your budget to include these prizes and how you will compensate the influencer as well; these include one-time payments, PR packages, pay-per-like/view, etc.

Approach: The bigger an influencer is, the more convincing you need to be, not only in terms of incentive but the brand itself. Influencers are cautious about who they endorse, as they are ultimately responsible for every collaboration they are involved with. Make sure you put your brand forward as a reliable, relevant brand for their followers. Understand that every influencer is different. A plan formulated for one influencer will not work for another. You must build a dedicated plan for every influencer, based on their audience, their activities, relations and more.

Channel: Here, channel defines both the influencer and the social media platform they use. Based on who you want your brand to appeal to, what kind of internet channel they use, and what your brand stands for, you will have to make a decision about who to approach and what platform you are targeting. This requires research as well as assertive knowledge and clarity about your own brand and everything it provides, be it a product or a service. Know yourself, the influencer, and the platform for a successful collaboration.

Implementation: After your overall strategy is finalized, it is time to put it in action. There will be room for trial and error, so work with the influencer to see what works and what doesn’t, and be flexible as you are dealing with a person of influence, and not a client or a customer. It’s all about hitting the right spot of rapport and communication. If you get that right, you have made a very successful business partnership.

The bottom line, Influencer marketing is not as easy as it seems. There are many factors to consider, and it is imperative to have a calculated approach. If done right, Influencer marketing can help you reach new audiences, build a strong customer base, and get the most out of your little investment.

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