What are Influencers and How do I identify which is Best for my Business?
Influencer marketing is not just about picking an individual with the highest number of followers and asking them to talk about your product.
On the contrary, influencer marketing has become a very deliberate and well thought out partnership process, marrying brands with the most compatible and strategically effective profiles on the internet.
So what are Influencers and How do I identify which is Best for my Business?
Influencer Marketing Explained
Influencer marketing takes someone with a large following and puts your product and brand name in their hands and onto their profile.
It is, in essence, a way of expanding your reach and getting your product under the noses of potential customers who may otherwise never come across your brand.
But in order for influencer marketing to be really effective, that influencer’s following needs to be as close to your ideal customer as possible - and that’s where strategy and compatibility come into play.
In order for an influencer to be a good match for your brand, they need to share the same values as you and they need to communicate with their audience in a way that compliments the way you want your brand to be perceived.
When you work with an influencer, you essentially let them become an extra arm on your company, and any posts they do are connected to your brand as a direct extension. Because of that, it has to be the right fit in every possible way.
How it Works
Influencers have power on social media - and when they talk about or recommend a brand, there are a ton of followers out there who will take their word for it and go and buy whatever their favourite influencers recommend.
In fact, 14% of 18-to-24-year-olds, and 11% of millennials have bought something within the last six months because an influencer recommended it - so the stats are pretty astonishing.
Influencers work on a variety of different levels depending on their status and their following.
Smaller influencers with a limited following might be happy to promote a product so long as they get to keep it for free, and it’s these smaller (or “micro”) influencers that are often easiest to get started with as they receive free items and gifts from businesses in return for a post or two for their followers.
Meanwhile, the biggest influencers and celebrities out there can rake in huge fees for a single Instagram or social media post - you only have to look at Kylie Jenner’s Instagram to see exactly how that can work!
The world of influencer marketing is BIG business and as such, influencers can literally pop up from anywhere.
How to identify the Best Influencers for Your Business
First you need to understand your realistic budget and expectations.
You can’t work with the biggest influencers unless you can afford to pay them, so be honest with yourself when you research the best influencers for your business and test your strategy with some micro-influencers to see how audiences respond to your products in the hands of influencers and target demographic users.
Once you know about budgeting and have decided on a strategy that works for you as a business, it all comes down to the way they align with your brand values and the way they present themselves and other brands online.
While many companies will provide guidelines as to the kind of post they want, influencers are content creators and should be given the freedom to present your product in the way that they see fit.
Finally, familiarise yourself with the regulations before you get started and make sure that your chosen influencers honours them too - for example, adding the hashtag #AD to any promoted post with gifted products and payment, for full transparency.
If not, both you and the influencer can get in trouble with advertising standards agencies and with your potential customers!
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