Do you have that friend you go to for book recommendations, date night ideas and the occasional vent session? If you are lucky, you do have a bestie who is there for you to share their fave ideas and help you when you need it. In a way, an influencer is like a best friend you can trust to show you what is fun, hip and happening in the world of social media.
Although most people don’t have a close relationship with the influencers they follow on social media, you can think of these people (both celebrities and everyday people like you and I) as entrepreneurs who have gained a following and created a community around their personality as a brand. Companies will find influencers whose audience matches their target market and pay them to do brand endorsements and the like. This is called influencer marketing and, whether you intend to use it or not, it is something you should know about. (Read how P&A uses local influencers for clients!)
Like paid promotions on social media, if you aren’t doing it, your competitors probably are. The same goes for influencer marketing. You may think of an influencer as someone famous, but chances are they have just gained a following because they are good at what they do: marketing themselves. As with everything, there are pros and cons to inviting an influencer into your marketing strategy.
Why use the help of an influencer?
Back in the day, television was the largest source of mainstream media, aside from print. Target audiences could easily be ascertained from Nielsen ratings. It’s hard to image those pre-streaming, pre-cable days … when you could hit your audience without a lot of effort. Three or four stations in every city … easy peasy! Cable + streaming + internet and social media … brands must work hard to find their audience. Working with an influencer can help your business to zero in on a sizable chunk of that audience (aka the influencer’s followers).
Working with an influencer on social media allows you to tap into a niche market that may not otherwise see your posts. The catch is you need to have something up your sleeve that will make the users want to visit your website, purchase your product, and follow your social media account. It isn’t impossible to create a good strategy here, but it does take some planning.
That’s a hard pass
One concern when working with an influencer is that your brand is in someone else’s hands. You must make sure this representative aligns with your brand’s mission and will take care of your company’s reputation. Professionalism, maturity and non-offensive language are all highly important to many companies that typically have a legally binding contract for the influencer to sign. Trusting your influencer is highly important and creating a good relationship with them could make or break your successful marketing endeavors.
Before you buy
One interesting thing about influencer marketing is that it is driven so much by the preferences, likes and opinions of consumers. Trends come and go, and influencers do, too. In fact, what was popular a few years (or even months) ago on one particular social platform has probably gone the way of bell bottoms now. Oh wait, they are back?!?! How will we ever keep up?
One thing is for sure: social media may evolve, but it is here to stay and so is its impact on our marketing strategies. Influencers will always be around in one way or another, creating interesting content to attract a growing community of followers. Their methods of rolling a brand’s product seamlessly into their content will always be an important part of what they are able to do to capture your target audience.