Every business, whether it’s a brick and mortar or e-commerce, requires a successful marketing strategy in order to succeed. More often than not, a startup fails not because of its product or service’s shortcomings, but because that product or service never gained traction. In this article, we’re going to discuss and even show you how to utilize influencer marketing to gain momentum for your business.
The traditional, and still relevant, form of marketing is thinking about your target audience and planning your marketing tactics around them. By critically analyzing your target audience, putting yourself in their shoes, and understanding how they think, you are able to create marketing techniques that directly appeal to your audience’s whims, desires, and needs.
While this form of marketing continues to prove successful and universal across business boundaries, a new type of marketing has surfaced: Influencer marketing.
First off, what is influencer marketing? Influencer marketing is when you focus on influential figures rather than your ordinary target audience. Influencer marketing pays attention to people who have potential influence over your consumers, and then it creates marketing strategies around those people.
Why does this work?
Influencer marketing conforms to the “two-step flow of communication”, which holds that “most people form their opinions under the influence of opinion leaders, who in turn are influenced by the mass media”. Unlike the one-step flow, where consumers are directly influenced by mass media, the two-step model states that more often people “ form their opinions based on opinion leaders who interpret media messages and put them into context.” Put simply, influencer marketing operates under the assumption that people are more influenced by public, influential, and well-followed individuals than the media itself. Consumers will be more likely listen to other people than a large, non-tangible, unreliable, and fickle entity that is the mass media.
Who are influencers and where can I find them?
Influencers can be virtually anyone who is an opinion leader with a substantial following. They can range from celebrities, activists, entertainers, actors, politicians, bloggers, educators, or just plain trendsetters. The common denominator among all of these different individuals is that they all possess value because of the influence they have over other people.
Now as to where you can find influencers, social media is the best place to start. Instagram alone has gathered a global value of 1.07 billion U.S. dollars. The influencer marketing industry has increased exponentially, and a large part of its activity revolves around social media.
How can I use social media to engage with influencers?
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube provide space for influencers to tap into their following and express themselves. These spaces are avenues where people can really make their voices heard, and marketers have caught on to that.
There are four steps of influencer marketing that can be applied to social media platforms.
- Identify your influencers
- As much as you’ve always wanted to meet your favorite TV star, you can’t just choose any old influencer to collaborate with. You need to identify the right person, the one that you know will sway your consumers and appeal to them the most. They need to have the “ear of your target market” — but it’s critical you find your ideal influencer. This is the hardest step.
- Marketing to those influencers
- Once you’ve found your influencer, your job is to market to them. You want to increase their awareness of your business, what you can offer them, and most importantly, what value you can provide for them.
- Market through those influencers
- Once you’ve developed trust between you and your influencer, you can start using that influencer to drive sales, website traffic, or general awareness of your business.
- Market with those influencers
- The last step is to turn your influencer into strong advocates of your business. Think about how you can become symbiotic partners in a business relationship — what can you give them and what can they give you?
Collaborating with influencers is a brilliant and creative way to market your business. By orienting your marketing plan around influential figures, you can boost your business’s reputation, increase your network of contacts, and most importantly, successfully market your business!
Check out these short videos that show you how to use Instagram DM’s to engage with influencers online!