Leveraging influencers for marketing goals has been going on since the latter half of the 20th century, when the two-step flow model of communication was formally introduced. The premise behind it is very simple – you can modify behaviour and obtain a response from your target audience by focusing on an opinion leader from that group.
If an opinion leader or influencer is convinced and decides to use your product/service and put in a good word for your brand, his or her followers automatically become your potential customers and you will be able to make considerably more sales than you would without an influencer on your side.
While the original model applied to traditional mass media communication, today the same holds true for social media networks, which have given birth to a whole new generation of influencers. Given the global reach, ease of communication and viral factor involved here, your brand has a lot to gain by building relationships with these influencers.
If you have official social media profiles for your brand, chances are that you already have several fans and followers who can be considered influencers in one category or another. These people are your marketing assets. If you make loyal customers out of them, they will essentially become advocates for your product or service, doing much of the heavy lifting for you.
Several products and brands are already using influencer marketing and the big question is how can YOU include this in your marketing campaign and get the results you desire.
Searching for influencers
There are certain influencers who are already active on different social media networking websites such as Google+, Twitter and Facebook; but that doesn’t mean you start approaching them blindly.
Firstly, look for people who fall perfectly under your demographics. Hence, influencers who are either already talking about your brand, or your competitor’s brand can be your first pick. With technological advancements, there are several tools available which can measure the reach of a particular individual.
Find an individual who falls under your demographics, has a large reach and also has the influence to change opinions. Such people can easily become your influencers.
Tap your own network
Many marketers often realize it late that the best and strongest influencers are already in their network. These are the people who pay attention to their social media presence.
There is no doubt that celebrities make an impact for your brand if you sign them up, but they are far more costly as compared to influencers on social media. Just picture yourself as a customer; would you actually buy a product because your favourite celebrity uses it, or would you buy it if a trusted family member or friend has asked you to use it?
Look for such people in your own network and reach out to them.
Make it worth their time
A simple HR theory explains that each and every person likes to get rewarded and recognized, same is the case with the influencers you choose.
If you have managed to get your hands on a number of influencers, perhaps it’s time to reward them in order to crunch the results. For instance, you can reward your best players with demos, discounts and even give them more information regarding deals that are not even out in the market yet.
Give your influencers a reason to stick with you. They are not only in for monetary benefits and recognition is an aspect that will motivate such people to work harder in order to achieve results.
Marketers should focus on building strong personal relationships with their influencers. Find out about his/her likes and dislikes and then talk to them about their interests so they remain motivated to work.
There is a high possibility that influencers know more about the market as compared to you, so always be prepared for a plethora of strong questions which you might have to answer in order to win such people over.
Build relationships with such influencers at a personal level. Every time an influencer mentions about your product, you can give him/her recognition through your blog and website. Give a link to their profile wherever you are present on the web so that people know that he/she is being recognized by you. Secondly, write down the names of small influencers with the big ones so they feel motivated to get on top of the list.
Use every platform differently
Your tactics for every single social media website should be different. The way you post on Twitter is going to be different from the way you post on Google+ and Facebook.
For instance, you can Tweet about your product once every hour throughout the day in order to improve your readership and create awareness. On the other hand, Facebook is different.
If you keep posting an update every hour, people will stop taking interest in what you have to say. Similarly, some blogs have discussion platforms where you can get involved, contribute and make your presence known.
Follow trending topics and conversations
You need to find a way to remain involved in social media conversations. For instance, Play Station has an extraordinary presence on Twitter at the moment. Their updates are witty, youthful and to the point. Not every brand can follow this model, but they can learn how you need to remain intact with everyone who is connected through the online medium.
Always try to be gracious and a little critical and keep your social media presence up to date. Never shy away from expressing an opinion regarding different topics which revolve around your brand. This will help you by keeping others talking about you.
Social media is evolving on a daily basis. This is the reason why influencers as evolving as well. However, the way to build relationships with these people is not changing. You can use effective marketing tools to get yourself the best of influencers who are currently active on these social media websites.
Your job is to monitor these influencers, and how they change over time. This will help you adopt changes and go in the right direction. The time you spend here is definitely going to pay you back in the long run.