In a world full of traditional advertising, what really stands out to the average consumer?
If it’s not the big billboards, the Internet banners, Newspaper ads, Radio spots, or those (highly annoying) ads that sometimes freak us out by zooming across our web pages – then what is it?
Here’s a Clue – It’s People!
People are turning to other people for advice. Not just friend to friend, but more specifically, other people on social media. They make their decisions on what their peers, celebrities and others do, wear, and say. They aren’t turning to the ad section of the newspaper, looking for paper coupons, or even paying much attention to the ad banners adorning their favourite websites.
What’s a company to do?
Some might say that the answer to this problem is influencer marketing. Word of mouth goes a long way these days.
As its name implies, influencer marketing is the strategy of marketing by way of influential people. Once a product is in the hands of the people with influence, they inadvertently do the advertising of the product. With their vast following, they give a product or brand exposure.
Moving outwards from the basics, it is characterized by its non-traditional strategies and target audience.
Who Are Influencers?
One of the top characteristics of this type of marketing is that it is targeted to a certain group of people—influencers. Examples of influencers include anyone who will bring the product to a large group of people’s attention, thereby facilitating sales.
In the past, these sorts of people had a much more limited range. Today, as more and more people rely on social media, these people have immense amounts of influence in many, many different fields.
However, not every person with a large following on ‘fill-in-the-blank’ social media account will be a good influencer. Many smaller fish in the pond can be far more influential than getting a product into one social media giant’s hands. This is particularly true in b2b (business-to-business) marketing, where the aims may be on lesser-known items rather than direct-to-consumer goods.
It’s All About Relationships
One of the most amazing things about social media is how it lets people get to know one another. Even though a social media account may not convey much actual information, it still provides people a personal connection to the person behind the account.
Good influencers use this to their advantage. And if the right connections are made, the influencer will use that word of mouth power to a company’s advantage as well.
But in order to utilize that potential, the company needs to have some kind of relationship, preferably personal, with the influencer. Generally, these relationships are easier to form with companies or people with medium to smaller followings.
A simple email or a comment on their wall might be enough to get those influencer relations started. Another fast way to start a company’s influencer relations is to offer the targeted group or individual some exposure in return for them to recommend the first company. Both groups then profit off a low expense of time and effort—ideal for everyone!
Honesty and Transparency
This form of marketing is not without its potential pitfalls.
One of its particular traps is that consumers will be very quick to criticize a subpar product on the same social media platform that promoted it in the first place. Inadvertently driving away customers and lowering the public’s opinion of the company, brand or product.
Honesty and transparency are the solutions to this challenge.
In all types of influencer marketing, the product or service needs to be described for what it is. This does not mean that potential flaws and drawbacks need to be illustrated. Instead, the product should be accurately described to its fullest potential without flowery, misleading information.
People then will realize that the product or service is genuinely useful and will have a much better experience, which leads to happy customers. They then will be much more likely to be repeat customers, share the original posting on their own social media, and hopefully become influencers in their own right! Generating brand loyalty.
Advantages Over Traditional Marketing
The advantages of influence-based marketing should not be taken lightly or dismissed as an interesting extra to a company’s overall marketing plan. Here are some of the areas in which influence marketing has distinct advantages over traditional marketing strategies.
Instead of designing and paying for places to showcase advertisements, which can become expensive, marketing to influencers generally requires only a small amount of time and a friendly personal note to the influencer.
Instead of casting a wide net in unknown waters, companies small and large can choose exactly who they want to target, tailoring their plan precisely to the influencer instead to trying to appeal to a wide, diverse audience.
Social media is practically everywhere in the world today. It’s like networking on steroids.
Whereas traditional advertising only reaches the people it can interest, influencers’ posts can reach across the globe with the click of a mouse.
Depending on the amount of sharing of the original content, this type of advertising can influence people who would never look at a traditional ad for that product.
Utilizing this marketing strategy might even make your product go viral.
Once influencer relations are in place and content is being shared, there is not much else to be done to market that particular product other than to keep on posting. Oh, and don’t forget to engage in those posts too. The more engagement, the better the reach.
Influencer marketing has the capability of consuming less resources than other traditional marketing strategies, freeing up team members for other tasks.
Influencer marketing is definitely a big part of advertising of the future. A simple push in the right direction is all it takes for in order to provide amazing results. Why not harness its power for your company today?
Who do you know that’s influential that could help give your company, brand or product a boost?