Marketing has always been an always-changing compilation of best practices. With the rapid progression of the internet, that evolution has sped up significantly. What was considered the world’s best ever marketing strategy six months ago might not even work today. The big evolution that we need to look at today is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing didn’t originate with social media; celebrities, athletes, and politicians alike have long been recruited to represent products. However, influencer marketing has evolved quickly, and today it encompasses many different ways and methods of working with different types of influencers. Influencer marketing has evolved to include a much wider range of marketing strategies.
In this post we will explain why, and how you can create a more valuable web influencer network that will benefit your business.
How Influencer Marketing Has Changed
A few years ago, celebrity influencers were all the rage. You might remember this with brands like ProActive that had large retainers of celebrities endorsing the brand on television. However, within the past few years, social media has allowed for more “everyday influencers” to be born. These bloggers and Instagram influencers have become experts with growing audiences and increasingly have partnered with brands. Micro-influencers have Instagram followings that are much smaller than many celebrities, but are still significant enough to help you gain traction. They post sponsored content less often than “bigger” influencers; when they do, it carries more weight. Studies have shown that everyday influencers are actually providing brands with higher levels of engagement than.
Why? The most persuasive types of social influence are authentic. User generated content is the most valuable influence currency you can have. Genuine user reviews carry more weight than a celebrity endorsement or expert-crafted copy could ever hope to; it’s why Millennials believe that UGC is 50% more trustworthy than any other type of marketing content. It’s the ultimate mark of customer approval, with a powerful combination of authenticity and social proof.
Today, these micro-influencers have become top influencers for some of the major fashion retailers. Brands like Old Navy, Charlotte Russe, GoPro, Sonos, and more all use micro-influencers in their marketing.
Best Influencer Marketing Tips: Influencer marketing is even more important today than it was five years ago-- it just looks a little different. To build your brand, audience, and customer base, use these best practices for a successful influencer marketing campaign:
- Display User-generated content (UGC) everywhere. Real customers can be powerful brand influencers and their content should be treated as such. Feature UGC everywhere you can; showcase it on social and in email campaigns and even in your store. The more you display it, the more reach and selling power it has. Check out this guide to learn the many different ways that your brand can use UGC.
- Prompt users to create UGC. Encouraging content creation should be an essential part of your marketing strategy; social campaigns (including contests) can inspire users to create content about your brand. Send out emails purely focusing on getting users to share photos of themselves with your products, place CTAs for social sharing on your site, and emphasize the use of branded hashtags so it’s easy to find on Instagram. When you build a social community, users are excited to be part of it.
- Connect with relevant industry experts- including businesses. Your brand experts don’t need to be famous, they can also be industry experts or brand partners with whom you have a shared mission, complimentary products and more. Your software partners, vendors, retailers, and more can also serve as influencers for your brand.
When looking for relevant micro-influencers, remember to not confuse size with influencer. You’re looking for high levels of engagement—this means lots of likes and lots of comments from their followings on each of their posts. How do you find brand influencers? You can often find them….
- Amongst your fans. These influencers are current customers and are fantastic because they already love your brand and will likely be receptive to promoting it.
- By searching relevant hashtags. Many micro-influencers will use the same (or similar) industry hashtags that your business does. Some may already work for other brands in your industry and may be open to partnering with you as well.
- Searching by location. Search for local social media users using a visual marketing platform such as Pixlee or through location tags on Instagram.
Final Thoughts While finding a celebrity to promote your brand definitely wouldn’t hurt (especially if you can afford it), it’s actually more effective to reach out to micro-influencers and actual customers to share about your brand. These testimonials are more powerful and persuasive, and give you all the tools you need to build brand awareness and sell your business’s products. No one is more passionate about your brand that your raving fans, after all—and you don’t even have to pay them to fake it.