How SMBs Can Utilize Influencers in their Market

marketingAs we move further into the future, the digital spaces we frequent evolve and entrepreneurs and small business owners must adapt their marketing plans with the changing industry. With the increased use of social media, we are seeing vast shifts in the creative possibilities that come with marketing these new channels. Among these possibilities is the burgeoning field of influencer marketing.

This article will lay out what influencer marketing is, why it’s relevant and what it can do for your small business.

What is Influencer Marketing?

An influencer is perceived as a leader in a particular field. This is represented through their social media and blog presence on various channels. They tend to have large quantities of followers and fans, many that will trust their word on a product. The key idea to influencer marketing is getting these individuals to leverage their influence among their following for the benefit of your organization, whether that means you are relaying your brand’s message or a specific product.

For example, many brands are teaming up with selfie-photographers on Instagram to reach all new audiences.

“This sound a lot like word-of-mouth advertising,” you say. Well, it is like word-of-mouth marketing, however, there are some major differences between the two. Influencer marketing is the concept of engaging targeted and specific individuals to use their grasp on a certain audience and use their influence to market to them. Word-of-mouth marketing is the avenue through which this communication occurs. Meaning that almost all influencer marketing uses word-of-mouth marketing, but not all word-of-mouth marketing is influencer driven.

What are the Key Elements of Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a highly specific, highly targeted discipline all in its own and you’ll need to understand each piece individually before beginning an engagement with an influencer.

  1. Find the right media channel that fits their product: This can be tricky. For example, some products, like make-up, will work best on YouTube where influencers can promote products through tutorials and how-to guides; some brands, like food companies, will find more success on Instagram, where pictures of delicious meals using their product can be found. In order to determine which channel is right for your organization, you’ll have to look at your target audience and imagine what appeals to them most and what websites they would use.
  2. Identify key brand or product influencers: Once you know the right channels, you’ll likely have already found a few key influencers in the industry. Try to find an influencer who appeals to your target audience.
  3. Create a marketing campaign directed at these influencers. This marketing is different than the final marketing that you’ll have the influencers carry out on your behalf.
  4. Create a secondary marketing campaign for the influencers to implement to drive greater awareness about your brand to a target audience.
  5. Track key metrics relating to search, sales and brand awareness.

Following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to discovering an influencer (or influencers) to collaborate with to the benefit of both of your brands.

Why Should You Use Influencer Marketing?

Do you think that you are more likely to buy a product that has been recommended by a friend or if it’s offered up to you by the brand? Well, according to research conducted by influencer marketing platform The Shelf, 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even if they don’t know them in real life, over commercialized promotional content that comes straight from the brand itself.

You don’t have to have an amazingly crafted ecommerce store to implement this marketing method either. Even the best ecommerce website builders will have functionality for influencer and content marketing. Remember, the best way to tackle any marketing campaign is through an integrated approach. For example, if/when your influencer promotes your brand on their blog or channel, share their endorsement across your company’s social media accounts and even consider publishing it on your website. It can be used almost interchangeably with the way a customer testimonial is used.

If the campaign drives traffic and converts well, then you have had a successful implementation of influencer marketing for your ecommerce page!

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