January usually sees me deep in research mode. Now combine that with my daily social media diet and I’ve become hyper aware of being ‘influenced’. Do you know who’s influencing your audience?
Now you’ve likely heard the term ‘influencer’ or maybe even ‘micro influencer’ and if you’re a marketer or business owner, you might be wondering if you need these people championing your business. We’ll get to that. But first, let’s talk about who these people are.
“Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the high amount of trust that social influencers have built up with their following, and recommendations from them serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.” (Sprout Social)
Social Media Influencers are Everywhere
Here’s where you'll see influencers:
A Mommy on Instagram who shows off her baby’s OOTD (Outfit of the Day…I only learned that acronym recently!). She’ll tag the brands her baby is wearing and point out that it’s either an ad or the item has been gifted or both!
That YouTuber your kid watches religiously who always has a bottle of Snapple on his desk. Note: Snapple pays him for that endorsement
ANY Kardashian…who will either promote their own brands on their social media feeds or like Khloe, endorse Febreze (yeah, it's weird)
Each of the influencers above have one thing in common. They are monetizing their social media following; whether they’re promoting their brands or someone else’s. The amount they make depends on how large (and engaged) their following is.
80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective (Smart Insights)
Influencer marketing works and it’s growing. PR Agencies; once exclusively focused on getting media coverage, now have entire influencer marketing departments. And it’s because a company’s return on investment can be easily tracked.
"Get 10% off your first order with code: Jenn". That code gets tracked. Even without a code, brands can see where traffic to their website is coming from.
Influencer Marketing and your Small Business
So, here’s the big question: Should you add influencer marketing to your strategy?
First off, it all depends what you’re selling and to whom!
Online retailers should definitely consider the impact influencer marketing can have on their bottom line. Selling a line of tasty protein shakes? You might want to tap into a fitness influencer on Instagram for a partnership.
On the other hand, if you’re a law firm marketing divorce services, it might be a bit challenging to find a client who’s willing to advertise on your behalf.
Let’s say you do have a product or service that’s ripe for influencer marketing, how much will this set you back?
The cost depends on how large (and engaged) their audience is and the level (and length) of exposure you’re looking to receive. Professional social media influencers have media kits available OR agents you can negotiate with on their behalf.
Where do you find these people?
Do some research: If Instagram is your channel of choice, search hashtags that relate to your business to discover the influencers in your target market. Send them a DM or have a look at their story highlights for information on how to get in touch.
Hire an agency: If you don’t have the time or the interest in doing this yourself, do a quick search for local PR agencies who can look after this for you.
Influencers should be able to provide you with stats on their social media reach and engagement, testimonials from brands they’ve worked with and a contract that states their commitment (and yours).
You Already Have Influencers
Let’s say your business isn’t quite fit for a shout-out on the 'Gram'. You can still harness the power that influencers wield through good ole’ fashioned (and hyper effective!) client testimonials.
Think about how many times a day you’re influenced by friends and strangers alike.
“Hey Facebook friends, what’s the best sushi place in town?”
“I just received the best service ever from Estate Lawn Care. Tell Dino I sent ya!”
“Anyone have any recommendations on baby strollers?”
Whether it’s our friend Becky telling us we have to try the butter tarts from The Maid’s Cottage or the cute outfit we saw our favourite celebrity wearing on Instagram, we’re always giving and receiving advice on where to shop and what to buy.
88% of consumers say reviews influence their online purchasing decisions (Vendasta).
Harness those testimonials and referrals and be sure they’re splattered across your website and social channels. They’ll influence friends and strangers alike to give you a try.
Wanna talk influencer strategy?