Consumers may have moved to the digital marketplace, but the most effective sales strategy all, for digital marketing pros and average consumers alike, is still word of mouth.
The old, tried-and-true method of asking for recommendations from friends or people we trust may have evolved over the years. But at its core, it continues to work because of one crucial thing: Trust.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Now that our purchases are happening mostly online, brands are bringing the conversation to online platforms where consumers spend most of their time.
This strategy is called influencer marketing.
It is a type of paid advertising strategy that involves collaborating with influencers to promote brand awareness, influence purchase decisions, and drive revenue.
According to a report by Morning Consult, 56% of social media users made a purchase after seeing a post about a product online. And if the numbers are any indication of its rewards, we can safely say this strategy isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, businesses are spending the big bucks on influencers, with some brands even spending up to $100,000 per post in influencer collaborations. The reason? It works.
For every 1% increase in brand spending for influencer marketing, they get a 0.46% increase in engagement that drives ROI.
Where Do Influencers Fit in Modern Advertising?
Influencers are people with significant following and engagement on social media. The biggest names are A-list celebrities, like sports superstars, fashion icons, and movie stars.
By simply posting a picture or story of themselves using a product or recommending a service, they can influence the buying decisions of their millions of followers.
But celebrities are not the only ones that wield this much power over our buying behavior.
There are influencers with a smaller following but who can be as effective as mega-influencers at swaying consumers into supporting a brand.
These influencers fall under the nano-influencer or micro-influencer categories and have a following of about 10,000 to 100,000.
But why exactly is influencer marketing so effective as an advertising strategy?
Customers Trust Influencers More than the Brands Themselves
The first and biggest reason why influencer marketing works is that consumers trust what influencers say about a brand more than what brands say about themselves.
Think of it this way: If you had to sell baked goods that you made yourself, people would know you have a strong bias towards your own products and are less likely to view them objectively.
But if someone other than yourself said your baked goods are like a taste of home and heaven all in one bite, then consumers are more likely to believe them. That’s because of the belief that they don’t have biased opinions about the products that you sell.
In other words, self-promotion may work to some extent. But it doesn’t work half as well as when people not related to your brand recommend you.
Influencers Foster Personal, Authentic Engagement
Influencers have a huge influence on people because they operate on authenticity, trust, and transparency.
One of the most prominent influencer marketing trends today is the push for authentic content and content creators. People are wary of polished, perfect, airbrushed models who sell ideas that are unattainable or unrealistic.
This is why although celebrities can be influencers themselves, they are not necessarily the best people to collaborate with when you want to focus on creating long-term, authentic engagement with your audience.
Smaller-reach or niche influencers are proving to be much more persuasive because they are often perceived to be real. And that’s what people want to see nowadays.
The Right Influencers Can Bring in Revenue
If you find the right fit for your brand, influencer marketing campaigns can bring in massive ROI.
However, choosing the right influencers is not as simple as picking the ones with the most followers or highest engagement. It takes careful study and evaluation before moving on to influencer outreach.
How to Find the Right Influencers for Your Brand
Choosing an influencer is like choosing an ambassador for your brand. You need to make sure it’s a perfect match, or else it can easily cause a PR disaster at worst or not enough engagement at best.
Here’s how to find influencers that will help your brand, instead of harm it:
Define Your Brand’s Identity and Goals First
Before you start looking, make sure that you know who you are first. Having a clear idea of your brand identity will make it easier to find people who match your core messages, vision, and direction.
This means understanding the following:
Your values. What principles do you adhere to as a company? These may also include your beliefs, such as beauty in diversity, providing equal opportunities, or sustainability.
Your audience. Building personas that clearly define your target market helps to define who you want to reach and how best to bse relevant to them.
What you want to achieve. Identify the results that you want to achieve or the direction that you want your campaign to take.
Your causes. Does your brand stand for any notable causes? You’ll want to make sure to collaborate with influencers that support those causes, and not oppose them, in order to maintain authenticity and stay consistent.
Look Within Your Brand’s Engagement
You don’t have to look far to identify influencers that can help your brand. You can start by looking within your own social media engagement.
Filter through the people that engage with your brand, by finding notable voices that command attention within your niche, and see if they have a large enough reach, based on what you want to achieve.
Influencers that are genuinely interested in your brand are great at promoting your brand through sharing their honest opinions and experiences. Nothing beats real, unbiased opinions for growing your brand’s reach and credibility.
Look at Metrics that Matter to You
If you don’t find influencers within your brand’s engagement, you can sort through those that are considered trustworthy in your industry.
One effective hack is searching through hashtags that are related to your niche and identifying influencers with the most engagement and following.
Other than the number of followers, through, there are other metrics that you’ll want to consider when considering an influencer, such as:
Tone and visual appeal. How do they present their content? Does it align with how you want your brand to be perceived?
Kind of engagement. Are their audiences supportive of their posts? What kind of engagement do their posts generate? Is it involved and personal? Are they deeply involved?
Values. No matter the following, if it’s an influencer that doesn’t adhere to the same principles that you do, it just won’t work. Find someone who genuinely matches your vision and values to keep the messages consistent throughout your channels.
Work with a Marketing Pro
Finding an influencer who is a 100 percent match is easier said than done. There are thousands of voices on the Internet today, and the number of influencers just keeps rising.
Sorting through influencers and finding the right fit is time consuming, complicated work. Get it wrong, and you may not see the returns that you expect.
Instead of manually combing through the Internet to find the right one, you can collaborate with a digital marketing experts that can connect you with the right influencer that matches your identity, values, and direction.
Marketing experts can also take the load of measuring metrics off your shoulders. They are able to identify relevant benchmarks, KPIs, and measurable results that can make your campaign a marketing triumph.