So what is an influencer? Who are they and why do thousands of people follow their every move? What makes these individuals trustworthy when it comes to specific products or services that they endorse? Well, this article will help you understand how crucial an influencer is to a great marketing strategy and how helpful they really can be to your business and brand awareness.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is an individual who has a large following on a social media platform who has established credibility in a specific industry, and has created a strong community of loyal followers. These influencers usually have knowledge and expertise on a specific topic such as fashion or fitness. They also have a charismatic personality which enabled them to cultivate a community keeping their followers engaged in the content they post.
Why is an influencer important to your marketing strategy?
Before social media took over how we consume information, television was one of the greatest mass media platforms, so it was obvious where marketers were spending their budgets. Many marketers were able to target their audiences based on TV channels or shows. Now due to ever-growing social media platforms, it's becoming increasingly difficult to narrow down marketing tactics – a single user may be active on 5-10 different social media platforms. This makes it difficult to capture the attention of your target audience. This is where influencers come to the rescue.
Using a social media influencer allows brands to target a specific audience, a method which has already been proven effective, as the audience follows and engages with the influencer on a regular basis. Many consumers have become skeptical of branded ads on social media, but putting them behind an already trusted social media influencer eliminates that issue. Not only will this influencer help raise brand awareness and engagement for your brand, but they will also help improve your credibility and trustworthiness as a brand.
How do you choose a strong influencer?
When choosing the right influencer for your brand, it's important to consider a few things. First and most important, you should look into each influencer’s relevance and reach. In order to make your brand exposure impactful, the influencer must align with your brand image and have a substantial follower base. You also want to make sure you’re finding an influencer that has cultivated trust with their followers. The point of the influencer is to have a following that’s already loyal – without that, the influencer won’t be playing the crucial role you need in order to grow. It’s also important to find an influencer who regularly posts organic content and doesn't have a feed that’s flooded with sponsorships. An influencer with tons of paid posts will most likely have a lower engagement rate compared to an influencer who typically posts organic content. Lastly, make sure to learn about the influencer before reaching out!
How do you leverage your influencer in paid media?
Now that you have an influencer, how are you going to leverage them to help grow your brand? Is your goal going to be top of funnel, driving traffic to your desired landing page, or is it bottom-funnel, driving conversions for your product or service? There are many ways to leverage influencers, one may be through whitelisting their services on various social media platforms. This means the influencer grants you advertising permission to use their handles, content, and audiences. As a brand, this allows you to expand your reach to a relevant and highly receptive audience. You can leverage influencer-generated content to create ads, giving your paid efforts a more organic feel. These ads can then be posted from your brand account, showcasing the influencer as a brand partner, or posted directly from the influencer’s handle which often establishes an added layer of credibility.
Another way you are able to leverage an influencer partnership is through their audiences. With access to their audience data, you are now able to target their followers with your own content. You can also expand on this user base by creating a lookalike to further extend your reach to similar users as well as retarget people who’ve engaged with the influencer ads. An influencer partnership can go a long way in boosting engagement as well as overall sales for your brand.
For many brands, a social media influencer can be the key to the brand exposure they were looking for. There are many great companies out there which have amazing products but not the right brand awareness and an influencer can help change that. Influencers give brands the ability to tap into highly engaged audiences. Influencer marketing is taking social media by storm, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.