“Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method.” (Digital Marketing Institute). Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is influencer marketing, and a critical component of public relations and social media strategies. Influencer marketing focuses on viewer engagement with a recommendation from someone the consumer trusts, using individuals and organizations to influence consumer decisions and provide additional brand exposure.
It has been a growing trend over the last several years, providing benefit to both brands and the most commonly-used influencer: the blogger. But you’re not limited to the traditional blogger. Brands are increasingly experimenting with campaigns that incorporate and engage influential people who communicate their brand advocacy via other mediums. For example, Instagram is an incredibly popular platform for fashion/beauty. However, a recent poll found that blogs and Facebook posts have been the most effective platforms for influencer ROI overall. And, 51% of marketers surveyed believed that influencer marketing acquired higher-quality customers. (Tomoson). As influencers expand and evolve, we’ll be watching to see how these percentages change over time as tracking ROI is always top-of-mind for marketers.
Influencers can be classified as paid (advertising and sponsored content), earned (publicity and media relations), shared (social media) and owned (website and content) media (aka PESO model). When properly done, they provide a genuine perspective on the brand they are promoting, fostering significant engagement and user-generated content. It’s social influence and content marketing with a creative twist, resulting in quality content that can then be owned and shared by the brand.
By not limiting yourself to traditional bloggers and with the increase in experiential marketing, opportunities are endless for creating unique and memorable campaigns.
Think of the key decision-makers for your industry and the people that influence their decisions. Who speaks to the people you want to get in front of? And how can you turn them into proponents of your brand? With influencer marketing, it is often through compensation, but it could also simply be through brand advocacy – an affinity for who you are.
Ever hear of a nanoinfluencer? It’s the new buzzword in the influencer community and opens the door for lower budgets and highly targeted campaigns, utilizing accounts with social followings of only 1,000 or less. This widens the spectrum of who an influencer can really be.
Influencers and brand advocates can be any one of following:
- Authors (Bloggers & Books)
- Employees (aka employee advocacy)
- Corporate Executives
- Association Members
- Schools & Teachers
- Shareholders & Investors
- Gamers (heard of Twitch?)
So, once you’ve identified your influencers, what can they do to for you?
- Promote or attend your events
- Share your thought leadership (blogs or social media)
- Author an original piece and include your brand
- Showcase a unique or behind-the-scenes experience you have provided them
- Make appearances in your traditional marketing efforts to key audiences
- Talk about your brand in a podcast (trending in 2019…)
Time to get creative and think outside the box.