For decades, companies have used famous faces to market their products. From print ads to TV commercials, using a high-profile person to create rapport and demand is nothing new. But as our culture moves to digital, brands are having to up their marketing and advertising game, in a whole new way.
Today’s consumers prefer authenticity over traditional advertising. They want reviews, ratings, and testimonials from people with similar tastes as them. That’s where Influencer Marketing comes into play.
Today, I’d like to dive into the state of influencer marketing and how you can use it to supercharge your businesses’ inbound marketing strategy.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing uses people with authority, expertise, and popularity to influence consumers to take an action. (i.e make a purchase, write a review, fill out a form.) Influencers typically have solid followings online (think blogs or social media) and a notable impact within their online community and network.
- Influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.
- Twitter users report a 5.2x increase in purchase intent when exposed to promotional content from influencers.
- 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.
Influencer Marketing and Your Inbound Strategy
Utilizing an inbound approach with an influencer marketing campaign can drive awareness, cultivate a qualified audience and strengthen owned media over time. So how do you tie these two together?
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Have an influencer write a blog post about your business.
- Have an influencer share your product or information about your business on their social media accounts. (i.e Instagram, one of the most popular approaches)
- Ask an influencer if you can create a guest blog post for thier website and link back to your website.
- Do all of the above.
Qualifying Potential Influencers
Before reaching out to a potential influencer, you’ll need to consider what Hootsuite calls, “The R’s of influence.” Ask yourself these questions when qualifying a potential influence as a “best-fit”r:
- Relevance: Is the influencer is sharing content and developing a following relevant to your business and the particular market segment you want to target?
- Reach: Will the number of people you could potentially reach through the influencer’s follower base bring value to your business?
- Resonance: Is potential level of engagement the influencer can create with an audience both valuable and relevant to your brand?
Fun Fact: There is such a thing as "fake influencers." Instagram is cracking down on this, but some users have been able to cheat the system and buy thousands of fake followers, known as bots. The best way to avoid these fake influencers is to do your research. If you find someone on social media that you think is a good fit, follow up by visiting their blog or website. Confirm their social media posts have an equal amount of engagement compared to their follower count.
How Much Do Influencers Cost
The cost of influencer marketing really depends on the factors that go into your campaign. For example, will the influencer post on one network or across all of their channels? How large is their following? What is their engagement rates like? Once you’re able to factor all of these details in, you’ll have a better ideas of the costs involved. Influencers can charge anywhere from a couple hundred to millions of dollars .
According to Chelsea Naftelberg, Associate Director of Content and Partnerships at Social Media Agency, Attention, Instagram posts can cost around $1,000 per 100,000 followers. For social stars with less than 50,000 followers, you can start your bid at $250 per post, then add $1,000 for every 100,000 follower.
For well-known celebrities, the price is much higher. Hollywood Branded reports that Kim Kardashian, charges over $250,000 per Instagram post. (WOW!)
How to Approach an Influencer
The best way to approach an influencer is by first building a relationship with them. Start by following them on social media, signing up for their email address, and engaging with their content. Get to know them inside and out. Once they have you on their radar, reach out to them with a personal email. For top VIP’s, you’ll likely work with a gatekeeper such as an agent or publicist.
If you don’t hear back, don’t freak out yet. Just continue to nurture the relationship and follow up, follow up, follow up.
By curating a relevant message and audience, mapping out your “best-fit” influencers and utilizing social engagement best-practices, your inbound marketing can reap massive rewards. Those include improved word-of mouth marketing, an increased number of expert opinions gained and social proof. All of these factors are essential in gaining customer trust and loyalty. Those pay the bills.
The Future of Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing will continue to grow, but marketing’s big trend-forecasting focus right how is predicting how it change and evolve with consumer demand. One hyphenated word: Micro-influencers.
While the cast of the current Bachelorette may be able to reach millions of people through social media, their audiences tend to be fragmented. And for some businesses, it may make more sense to reach a highly-targeted audience instead.
That’s where micro-influencers come into place. Micro-influencers are people with a smaller, more loyal following that can be just as powerful with your message. These types of influencers are not only more affordable, they’re also able to share more highly targeted content. Small businesses, or those with a smaller marketing budget, should consider using micro-influencers.
The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Influencer marketing presents a glorious opportunity for brands to leverage the power of word-of-mouth through personalities that consumers already follow, trust and admire
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you need to know about Influencer Marketing. When you combine this type of marketing with your inbound strategy, you maximize ROI by increasing word of mouth marketing, customer reviews, expert opinions, and social proof.