Influencer marketing is the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create high-impact conversations with customers about your brand, products or services.
Influencer marketing offers brands the potential to unify their marketing, PR, sales, product, digital marketing, and social media through powerful and relevant relationship-based communication. Both the ROI and marketing potential of influencer marketing are immense.
Certainly, the value of influence over customers is not a novel concept in marketing. But as online customer conversations continue to evolve so drastically, influencers are playing a critical role in breaking online clutter, creating relevant customer dialogue and bringing trust to the table for brands and marketers alike.
The Sun Sets on Outbound Advertising Tactics
It should be no surprise that an increasingly digital landscape is changing the way we do business, the way your customers access information, and how your customers or prospects make decisions.
Recent studies have found that 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by information found on social media. While outbound marketing and traditional advertising methods will always carry influence, the targeting and relationship-building potential of inbound marketing methods like influencer marketing offers greater yields and increasingly relevant customer relationships.
In HubSpot’s most recent State of Inbound study, a full 76% of B2B and B2C marketers reported inbound as their marketing approach of choice.
Also Read: Digital Marketing Opportunities For 2019
Why Influencers are the Lifeblood of Your Inbound Marketing
Utilizing an inbound approach to influencer marketing drives awareness, cultivates an audience, and bolsters owned media over time. The effects of influencer marketing on your inbound efforts include:
- improved word-of-mouth advertising
- increased number of expert opinions gained
- social proof
All of these factors are essential in gaining customer trust and loyalty. In fact, a recent Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all other forms of advertising. By starting with a relevant message and audience, mapping your best-fit influencers, and utilizing social engagement best-practices, your inbound marketing will reap massive rewards.
The Power of Influencers to Guide an Audience
In a highly social web, information travels like waves — and influencers are the wavemakers. They have the following, trust and influence to guide an audience toward loving, listening or leaving brands.
So, how is this different from public relations? Influencer marketing does not revolve around paid shills, or celebrity endorsements. It’s about unique, honest, legitimate relationships between the customer, brand and influencer. Which is exactly what makes influencer marketing so unique from other marketing tactics. When brands commit to influencers, they are also committing to being long-term advocates for their audience and customers.
The ROI Don’t Lie: Influencer Marketing Nets Huge Returns
Trust pays. In an era where consumers have never been hungrier for reviews, ratings, and word-of-mouth recommendations, influencers are the key to unlocking their trust and dollars.
Burst Media, a digital media company, conducted a study examining 48 influencer marketing programs, spanning 15 industries, and 662 web publishers and bloggers. What they found was astonishing. These influencer marketing studies demonstrated a 6-to-1 return on investment. So, what’s working so well? Many of the influencer campaigns examined in the study included sponsored blog posts, influencer-driven content and social syndication.
5 Steps to an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy
Ready to get started with influencer marketing? First, you should know what an influencer is, and how to identify the correct influencers for your brand. Here’s a hint: it’s about reach, relevance, and resonance.
Step #1: Define your Audience
Knowing your target customers and understanding who impacts how they evaluate, discover and buy your product (or service) is an integral step in kicking off any influencer effort.
Step #2: Discover the Right Influencers
Being influential is all about context. You will need to find people who produce and share content that can impact your business or your buyer’s decision making process.
Step #3: Monitor Influencers for Opportunities
It’s time to tap in and monitor what’s happening in real time. You’ll need to discover what your target influencers are writing about, talking about, and more importantly – what’s their audience up to?
Step #4: Take Action & Engage
In this step, you’ll start building a relationship using some simple actions. Following, sharing, and linking to your influencers will be the first step in a fruitful relationship.
Step #5: Measure Your Results
As you build relationships and send signals to your audience and influencers, you’ll want to keep track of your effectiveness. Are your online relationships translating into tangible events? Learn, iterate, and tinker.