The evolution of digital marketing has given rise to many new different concepts that are being increasingly used by individuals and brands to create awareness. One of them is the social media influencer. While this did not exist till about five years back, as of today, more and more brands are using influencers to build relationships with their customers.
So who are these social influencers?
Social influencers are social media users who, other than having a huge following, also have an established credibility with their audience. They have the power to influence others with their authenticity and trustworthiness. An influencer is neither a brand evangelist nor a brand advocate (although that can also be arranged for a fee). There are more like cheerleaders who extend the message in their immediate circle.
While many social influencers tend to have a large number of followers, at the end what really matters, is how many of them will mention, respond to or share an influencer’s posts. These influencers use different channels to reach their audience and they could be anything from blogs to the various social media networks.
How does one to identify social influencers?
Though the social influencer is a fairly new phenomenon, many bigwigs of the industry believe that this is nothing but the ancient “word of mouth” marketing that relies on technology to accelerate it. Leveraging the best influencers will not only help you reach their audience, but the audience’s network too.
Influencers with a huge number of active followers can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your product pages. There is a relationship component in influencer marketing as the audiences that you are looking to influence listen to the particular person because of the trust factor. Hence, when you are looking to identify a social influencer for your brand, you should keep the following “must-have” points in mind:
- Relevancy to the audience: Look for influencers that produce niche content and are relevant to your brand contextually.
- Authentic: Audiences trust influencers because they are authentic with their information. He or she must not be posting sponsored content as they will dilute the purpose.
- Active and makes frequent posts: There is a direct correlation between the frequency of posts and the return of the customer. The more the influencer posts, the more your brand name will spread.
- Huge reach: Don’t look at reaching a target audience; instead opt for someone who has a wide range of audiences that can be influenced.
Why is social influencing marketing important today?
A report by The Guardian states that 69% of the customers will use the Internet as their main source of information within the next five years. Also, a recent study by McKinsey found that online word of mouth advertising drives twice as many sales as paid advertising leading to a 37% higher retention rate.
If we are to go by these studies, it is pretty much clear that the best way to drive sales is to identify social influencers aligned to your brand and leverage their voices to communicate your brand’s message.
According to another study, 88% of buyers consider online reviews very important when making a purchase. The millennials, who represent an enormous segment of the purchasing population, rely on a brand’s story more than other buyers when making purchasing decisions. Also, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. It’s time that you started using social influencers more than you did!
How to engage influencers?
To get social influencers to help you, you have to again build a relationship with them and it has to be done subtly. Building relationships take time but once the connection is created, activating influencers becomes a lot more seamless and effective. After connecting with time, give them engagement. Interact with them on different platforms through the content they are sharing and also participate in the conversation they start. Apart from participating in their posts and conversations, you can also grab their attention through: media kits, contests, shareable content, hashtags, and with creative contents like infographics, videos etc. This can grow into a mutually beneficial relationship.
How do you leverage the services of influencers?
There are various ways that you can make the most of social influencers. Listed below are a few of them:
- Create an experience: For the influencer to talk about your product it can’t just be a review, it has to be an experience that he or she can feel and enough to share it forward with their audiences.
- Customize the campaign: Each campaign has to be customized to fit the social influencer that can be steered by the influencer in a way native to his or her audience.
- Track the progress: You must track and monitor the progress so that if required you can tweak the campaign in between to suit the required results.
At Unspun we help customers identify the social influencers who meet their requirements and in the process help with influencer marketing.