There’s growing cynicism towards conventional forms of advertising, with many people claiming that they show up in every conceivable place, play to our most basic instincts, make ridiculous claims, and crowd out things that are more essential and interesting. At a time when the world is saturated by advertising, it can be difficult to trust any of the claims made by marketers.
However, cynicism can be easily eroded when recommendations for items come from family members, friends, or other influential individuals, which is where influencer marketing comes in. A recommendation from a trusted entity comes with more credibility than a general advertisement. In fact, a recent research revealed that 79 percent of social media users use the networks to find product information and recommendations.
What exactly is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing involves convincing influential people, celebrities, and bloggers with considerable followings to promote your brand or product on their personal online accounts, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, and Vine. This market influence stems from the person’s popularity, reputation, or expertise, and is similar to word-of-mouth marketing with the exception that it does not rely solely on explicit recommendations.
The influencer could be an individual, group, place, or even brand, provided it is highly visible and respected. So, businesses can use celebrities or bloggers to expose their products without much of the scepticism and cynicism associated with straight forward marketing.
Companies must form open and organic relationships with influencers, and also give them respect for them to accept to endorse the product. In some cases, this involves giving the influencer access to products that are yet to hit the market, or giving the influencer a tour of the production process.
There is one major drawback, however, which is the uncontrollable nature of influencer marketing compared to traditional forms of advertising. In most instances, the influencer will only add to the positive image of your product. But if they fall out of the public light or encounter legal trouble, this might adversely affect your product’s success.
So, you must be prepared to deal with a negative fallout in case the influencers you use reject or misrepresent your product or brand.
How to develop an influencer marketing plan
Both large and small businesses can take advantage of influencer marketing in different ways. For a small business with a limited advertising budget, an inexpensive online strategy involving social media or online product reviews can be very effective at the local or even national level.
Larger companies, on the other hand, have the resources to develop comprehensive strategies that stretch across multiple platforms. They can even form expensive and ongoing partnerships with celebrities to help position their products.
Whatever size of company you have, the first step of any influencer marketing plan should be setting the goals for the campaign. The goals for influencer marketing are usually less focused on increasing sales and more on increasing public awareness and creating a buzz.
Once you have defined your business goals, you can then identify the influencers who connect the best with your target audience. When approaching an influencer, it is important that you try to form an organic relationship that is not just based on endorsing and selling, but mutual respect so they can become genuine advocates for your product and brand.