— January 30, 2019
The rules and trends of marketing are in a state of constant change. Traditional forms of advertising such as radio ads, television commercials, banners, etc. are no longer the only ways to reach your target audience.
The rising popularity of social media platforms and mobile devices has created many new avenues for marketers. Based on my observations, one of the most highly effective forms of marketing is working with influencers.
Influencer marketing has become a necessity for marketers and brands these days. In fact, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2017, according to Linqia. This is not surprising considering the myriad of benefits your business can get by collaborating with influencers.
Before I shed light on these benefits, let me help you understand influencer marketing in greater detail.
Understanding Influencer Marketing
Influencers are typically characterized by a massive and devoted social media following. Unlike traditional celebrities, they maintain a friendly rapport with their fan base. They often give their followers a sneak-peek into their daily lives, thus forging stronger bonds with them. Owing to these extremely personal connections, influencers are able to earn the trust of their followers.
Influencer marketing involves working with a social media influencer in your niche to promote your brand and your products/services. Depending on your ultimate objective, you can choose from a variety of campaigns that involve influencers.
You could simply get an influencer to do a shout-out for your brand on their social media profiles. You could also collaborate with them to create engaging content or announce giveaways and contests.
Another effective strategy is to relinquish control of your social media profiles to an influencer for a mutually agreed time period. Guests posting, interviews, and Q&A sessions are some other common forms of influencer marketing.
H&M, the Swedish clothing retailer, often partners with fashion bloggers and models whose personal styles align with that of the brand. This has helped the fashion brand attract 2.7 million followers on Instagram. The screenshot below shows how H&M collaborated with fashion blogger, Julie Sarinana, to launch their 2017 catalog.
Image via Instagram
It is obvious that influencer marketing can be extremely helpful to grow your audience. However, you can also use it to fulfill a number of other objectives in order to maximize ROI. Let’s now take a look at some of the lesser known advantages of influencer marketing.
Build Brand Awareness
What is the biggest challenge that you face in terms of creating brand awareness? I’d say identifying and targeting the right audience is a herculean task. Owing to the huge amount of content floating around online, it has become even more difficult to reach your target audience. Collaborating with influencers helps you cut through this noise and reach the right ears.
This is because influencers have already done the hard work of building a loyal community of followers. All you have to do is get an influencer to feature your brand or review your product/service on their social media profiles or blog. Coming from a trusted influencer, such information often appears to be more genuine and draws their audience towards your brand.
Diversify Your Audience
If you are planning to launch new products or services, I recommend that you start investing in influencer marketing. Partnering with an influencer who has a diverse fan community can help you break into new markets and demographics.
This is because influencers are perceived as trusted industry experts. Therefore, when such an influencer recommends a new product or service, it automatically gets the attention of their followers.
Boost Audience Engagement
Do you often struggle to get likes and comments on your social media posts? I suggest that you try doing a podcast or announce a giveaway with a popular and relevant influencer.
Since influencers have a highly engaged fan base, working with them gives you direct access to this community of devoted followers. This, in turn, can improve the engagement on your social media posts.
Additionally, content featuring influencers is often perceived as authentic and trustworthy. When your audience engages with this content, they are more likely to share it on their own social media profiles. This enables you to expand your reach even further.
In my experience, with the right kind of content, this type of campaign also has the potential to become viral.
Reinforce Trust and Loyalty
Consumers no longer prefer brands that toot their own horns. Instead, they want to know what others have to say about your brand.
Influencers share a high level of trust with their followers. Partnering with them allows you to use this to your own advantage.
When an influencer recommends your product and advocates in favor of your brand, it acts as a stamp of approval. It strengthens your brand’s reputation by giving you more credibility. In the long run, this can help you gain the trust and loyalty of the influencer’s audience.
Revamp Your Content Strategy
Influencers create engaging content for their audiences on a regular basis. They have a clear understanding of the likes and preferences of their followers.
Thus, working with influencers can breathe new life into your content strategy. It keeps your content fresh and gives your audience a break from promotional content. In fact, according to the previously-cited Linqia report, influencer content largely outperforms brand-created content.
Improve Search Engine Rankings
One of the most often overlooked benefits of influencer marketing is how it can help you with SEO. In addition to helping you create better content, working with influencers increases the reach of your content.
And getting your content shared more can help you earn a number of genuine, high-quality backlinks. This strengthens your inbound link profile and ultimately, helps you climb up the ladder in Google search results.
Influencers have the power to mould purchase decisions and attract their audience towards your products or services. In fact, 33% of respondents in a gen.video study said that influencers on social media are their most trusted source for shopping inspiration.
Getting your brand endorsed by an influencer is likely to be far more effective than any self-promotional campaign in terms of leads generation. This can, in turn, help increase your revenue and contribute to the growth of your business.
In my opinion, ignoring the importance of influencer marketing is like sleeping under a rock. This form of marketing can help expand your reach and spread the word about your brand.
But the true power of influencer marketing lies in its ability to attract people to your brand without bombarding them with promotional jargon. It can also strengthen your online presence by improving your content marketing and SEO strategies.
Have you successfully used influencer marketing to grow your business? Please share your experience in the comments section below.