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Influencer marketing is a relatively new field, and many professionals still don’t fully understand what it entails. However, if you’re a small business owner, you can’t afford to ignore the potential and possibilities that come with influencer marketing.
Before discovering how to use influencers, you might be curious as to why they’re worth the investment in the first place.
Influencer marketing is just one degree removed from word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing, one of the most effective and traditional ways to spread awareness for your brand. According to McKinsey&Company, shoppers consider online reviews and recommendations from friends and family to be two out of three touch points (interactions with a business and its offerings) before making purchases. With WOM marketing, instead of convincing customers that you’re the best, your customers do it on your behalf.
Of course, WOM marketing isn’t the same thing as influencer marketing. In order to be FCC complaint, you must publicly disclose any influencer relationships. Fortunately, disclosure doesn’t typically impact the results you can achieve when partnering with an influencer:
- According to Nielsen, influencer marketing sees a return on investment 11 times higher than other digital marketing investments.
- eMarketer reports that 54 percent of women purchased something based on an influencer’s recommendation, and 45 percent of women follow a brand on social media based on an influencer’s recommendation.
To connect with the audience built by their online presences, many brands approach influencers to commission content on the influencer’s own channels. That’s not the only way that your brand can benefit from partnering with an influencer, however. Here are a few other ways that the power of influencers can harnessed when launching a marketing campaign.
- To sell a product: Is there a better way to create a buzz surrounding a new product launch?
- To host an event: What’s more exciting than the chance to meet your favorite online influencer in real life? Approaching an influencer to co-host an event instantly upgrades it to a “can’t miss” occasion.
- For a social media takeover: Invite your favorite influencer to share content on your brand’s social channels for the day. They’ll likely tell their followers where and when to tune in!
- To consult for your business: Top influencers are experts in building an audience. If your business is struggling with things like social media or email marketing, it may be worthwhile to pick their brains on the matter.
Your chosen influencer can provide a convincing testimonial to a highly-targeted demographic that represents the customers you’re trying to reach. Here are some practical steps to find and approach your ideal influencer:
- Use a tool like BuzzSumo or Upfluence to narrow down influencers by niche and audience.
- Create a list of influencers to contact. Begin your outreach process by following them on their blogs or social channels and engaging with their content.
- After you start building a relationship, get in touch through email to introduce yourself, your brand, and your business opportunity.
- Everyone is busy — don’t give up on connecting with a given influencer without following up.
Like many other aspects of marketing, figuring out how to use influencers is part science, part art. Be critical of any weaknesses in your current marketing strategy and consider how an influencer might be able to help fill that gap.
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