It can be categorically stated that not all marketing strategies are equal. The difference between them is the difference between success and failure. While this may seem obvious, most of the time the only way to tell the difference is to try different strategies and see what works.
That worked in the past. It does work to a certain degree today. However, with the new technology at the world’s disposal, other people have shared what does and does not work for them. And this information is very helpful when the subject is in a lesser-known field—such as influencer marketing.
In its essence, every influence-based marketing method is a marketing method that targets influential people, particularly on social media. But there are many different influencers and ways of reaching them. Between the multiple social media platforms and the vast amount of users, with the constant flow of word-of-mouth marketing – how does a company even begin?
There are three types of influencers in the world.
1. Mega. These are the types of influencers that people default to when they think about social media influencers. With over a million followers on their social media pages, they generally have a very small percentage of post engagement. They are also usually selling their own brand. Celebrities in all sorts of fields are a main part of this group, as are the rising social media giants.
2. Macro. Bloggers, company executives, journalists, and smaller band groups fall into the macro group of influencers. These people have ten thousand to a million followers and generally have up to a quarter percent post engagement. Even though they can be promoting their own brand, they are more likely to engage and respond to other people than mega influencers.
3. Micro. Anyone on social media who has five hundred to ten thousand followers. They have a post engagement rate from five percent to fifty percent and are the most likely to talk about the newest product on the block.
Not everyone on social media falls into one of these three categories. However, for the purposes of influencer targeting, these are the three categories which matter the most. But what makes a macro or micro influencer a good target for influencer marketers?
Knowing the Key Characteristics of Good Influencers
Now that we have described influencers in general, we can move on to what makes the best influencers for marketing purposes. Regardless of the product or service being marketed, there are five key characteristics that define the best of the best.
Communication is the top attribute of a social media influencer. The best influencers communicate regularly and often with their followers and audience. When they are posting about a product or service, people will see it much sooner because they know the person updates regularly.
The power of social media will turn on misrepresented products faster than a striking snake. This is where trust comes into the equation. Trust must form the bridge from the supplier through the influencer to the targeted audience. Otherwise, the product or service will lose its credibility.
Tying closely in with trust is truth. This does not mean that the product or service needs to have its flaws illustrated in the advertisements or during the process of influencer targeting! Instead, it needs to be described for what it is, without an overdrive of flashy language or perfect images.
Persuasion is the bread and butter of the marketing world. If the person behind the social media account cannot write persuasively, it is better to target someone else. This is particularly true for micro influencers who otherwise don’t have much to offer.
Last, but not least, is consistency. Do the targeted people post regularly? Do they post often? One out of two is fine here, but it is best to have both. These people have gathered a following who expect regular posts and/or lots of content for their enjoyment—meaning lots of exposure for the posted content. That’s just what marketers want!
Putting It All Out There
With this information, we can move on to crafting effective influencer marketing strategies that will help every company or individual target the best influencers for them.
The best strategies rest on these three pillars:
1. Relationships. Start with established contacts. Ask them to simply post, retweet, share or otherwise cover the product or service as a favor. Or offer an exchange—swap coverage. As business networks grow, the reach of the company’s potential influencers grow alongside them. Utilize those networks to their fullest potential!
2. Research. Before targeting influencers, research them fully. Find people who would be genuinely excited about the product or service offered. Perhaps offer them a free sample or a discount in a personalized note to their account. Make it appealing and attractive to them by using the power of research.
3. Goals. Set goals to reach. This type of marketing is highly spontaneous and organic, but it still needs drive in some shape or form. Make low-cost, effective, engaging marketing a reality, not a dream!
There is so much potential in this lesser-known field. Compared to the traditional methods of marketing, influence-based marketing is inexpensive, effective and successful. All it asks for is a network of contacts, some thoughtful influencer marketing strategies, some dedicated time, and a committed person or two.