This column is authored by technology blogger, Vivian Michaels
During the early stages of internet marketing, people tended to opt for simple strategies such as marketing their products and services on a social media platform, ranking their website in Google and posting content to forums to help them drive traffic back to their website. In the past few years, however, the way we market our brands on the internet has changed significantly. Ranking in Google is becoming more difficult with every passing year, as more companies are now also trying to rank for the keywords you are targeting; thus increasing your competition. Social media networks are overcrowded by competitors and forums don’t tend to work as effectively as they did a while back. For these reasons, new strategies are always being developed by the “gurus” of Internet Marketing, which allow brands to better promote their products and services to the right audience.
In the last few years, a relatively old concept was taken, twisted and perfected, and implemented into the marketing strategies of many brands. The technique we are referring to is influencer marketing, a strategy for promoting a business by utilizing the face, voice or other skills of someone that people can connect with on a more personal level – and, of course, someone that has nothing to do with the brand that is being promoted. Influencer marketing is now viewed as the most successful strategy that brands and companies can utilize to expand their engagement, reach, sales, leads and all other aspects related to a successful internet marketing strategy.
What You Should Know About Influencer Marketing
Let’s get started by looking at some vital statistics about influencer marketing, especially how this particular marketing strategy has grown in just the last couple of years.
• eMarketer reports that approximately 86% of all internet marketers have utilized influencer marketing in some way during 2016.
• According to a recent report that was compiled by AdWeek, approximately 40% of consumers have made a purchase after they saw an influencer they followed use in on one of the most popular channels used for influencer marketing, which includes YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Vine.
• Research suggests that people do not pay attention to advertisements anymore. According to Adotas, only 14% of internet users are able to remember information about the last advertisement they saw while browsing the internet.
What’s more, according to another report published by AdWeek, about 94% of all brands and companies that have utilized influencer marketing as part of their social media outreach campaign in the past year reports that their brand was able to experience positive effects from the efforts made by the influencer. The problem, however, seems that it is still relatively difficult for brands to accurately track the performance of influencer marketing; thus the ROI on these investments cannot be determined at an accuracy level they would hope for. Still, brands have been able to see an increase in customer engagement, audience growth and an increase in sales after utilizing this particular form of marketing.
How You Can Dig Into This Goldmine, Too
For many brands, influencer marketing is still somewhat of a mystery. They are not entirely sure how they can get started, who to contact, where to find an influencer and, of course, there’s the risk that they may do something wrong and end up wasting money. Fortunately, the process of utilizing influencer marketing for brands is becoming easier than ever before. There are also many agencies out there with experienced staff that can help brands connect with the right influencers to grow their business and takes their brand to a new level.
Should the use of an agency not be something your brand would like to opt for, then there is no need to set this marketing tactic aside as learning how to get started with influencer marketing is not hard at all. CopyPress recommends starting out with a planning phase, which will allow you to determine your goals, the purpose of the marketing strategy and how you would like to implement this strategy into your existing campaigns. You need to decide who you want to reach (your target audience), what products and services from your brand you wish to expose through influencer marketing, and what you expect from the campaign you wish to launch.
Once you have these facts on paper, things will start to get easier as the implementation phase of influencer marketing is much more efficient when you have a plan to work from. From this point, you can start to look at where the particular target audience you wish to target is most active on – this may include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even blogs. Instagram and SnapChat are also two channels that are very popular amongst brands. YouTube is most popular amongst those who are trying to target a younger audience. Remember to choose a channel where your brand is already active on or have used in the past as part of a social media marketing campaign as this will make sure people can, in fact, connect with you on that particular platform.
Identifying the most appropriate platform for your first influencer marketing platform will also make the search for the perfect influencer easier. When you have discovered the best platform, you can start to search for potential influencers on that platform that matches your criteria. Marketing Zen reports that micro-influencers are now being preferred over the larger influencers since they are more cost-effective and their followers are often more engaging.
The final step to a successful influencer marketing campaign is to contact multiple influencers that you identified as potential influencers for your particular campaign. It is important to negotiate a good deal with influencers and to ask them what exactly they can offer you. While some influencers will help you out from start to finish, others will expect you to compile everything and simply post on their channels on your behalf.
While promoting your brand’s offerings on social media channels, your own website, and blog, as well as on guest blogs are still an effective strategy for driving traffic and essential for the success of your business, influencer marketing now poses as the most effective way of driving more engagement to your brand. Not only are you able to get third-party involved in your brand, but you are also able to use their connection with the individuals that are following them to create a more personalized approach to increasing your reach.