Roping in a famous personage to sing the praises of a product or service, thus persuading people to buy that offering, is an age-old practice among marketers. But, with growing domination of social media over our lives, the rules of the familiar game have changed. Big-time entertainers or sports stars are not the only celebrities or influencers we have today, social media sensations have also joined the celebrity brigade in their own right. They enjoy huge and devoted fan bases. Fans ensure their content goes viral instantly and tend to follow their advice when making purchase decisions. Brands, mainly the B2C ones, who play their cards right are tapping the power of this new influence economy to connect better with the target audience.
According to the survey titled “The State of Influencer Marketing 2018” from Linqia, a staggering number (92%) of marketers who have used influencer marketing last year have found it to be effective. So, it’s understandable why 30% of them are willing to spend between $25,000 and $50,000 and 25% between $50,000 and $1,00,000 per influencer marketing campaign in 2018. Without room for any doubt, these telling figures suggest how generously marketers are funding their influencer marketing ambitions. Further, they are interested in establishing an enduring relationship with influencers. Activate, the firm behind blog discovery platform Bloglovin’, reveals that nearly one-fifth (19.39%) of marketers have worked with more than 5 influencers for six months or longer.
You might be wondering if B2B marketers are missing from the influencer marketing scene, or if the tactic is suitable in the B2B context or not? Yeah, it’s 100% suitable. And, although not in droves like consumer-facing companies, but B2B marketers are increasingly exploring the channel. From enterprise software giants Salesforce and SAP to accounting major PwC to small startups, B2B marketers demonstrate they are not slowpokes.
If they can; so can you. Before we list the steps involved in getting your maiden influencer marketing trip off the ground, here’s a quick formal definition of the term and some advantages of applying it.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a concept existing in close proximity to two other manifestations of marketing: social and content. It’s a sort of digital word-of-mouth that employs influencers (someone who shapes the opinions of individuals in a specific niche) to disseminate a company’s brand message, thereby boosting sales. In a sense, influencers are expert storytellers. According to a TapInfluence study, more authentic storytelling for their brand is the number one reason marketers consider influencer marketing as important.
Advantages of influencer marketing
- Influencer marketing will provide social proof to your prospective customers. Now-a-days customers are very well-informed, they will take a crack at your products or services only when they are convinced that others have a positive experience by using them. Since influencers are industry luminaries and consumers trust them, they can easily encourage consumers to convert.
- Influencers will help you achieve organic reach. As an obvious consequence, your brand awareness will move up and eventually you are introduced to a larger audience. Almost four-fifths (78%) of marketing professionals in 2018 have told Activate that brand awareness is the biggest motivation to forge influencer partnerships.
- Credible voices resonate with consumers at once. Influencers develop content from a position of authority because they have earned their spurs as thought leaders. If they speak or write on your behalf, your credibility increases in the eyes of an army of followers.
- Through influencer marketing your SEO efforts are going to get a shot in the arm. You are in possession of premium quality inbound links by way of cross-promotion.
Such is the magnetism of top influencers that even the simplest content from them can trigger a deluge of comments, likes, and shares. What does it mean? It means consumers are getting more engaged with you. In fact, the TapInfluence study indicates that to marketers, engagement is the most significant measure of their influencer marketing performance.
Steps required to embark on the journey
- Set the ball rolling by zeroing in on the right influencer. But how do you find that perfect fit? Start scouring the social space for people who have considerable expertise in your area of operation. See who is frequently mentioning topics and keywords that are in sync with what your business does. You should also keep a close watch on who are the persons your customers mostly prefer to engage with. Industry conferences and insider publications are also rich sources you must check out during influencer hunting. Don’t restrict your search to outsiders. An employee of yours can be an influencer. Be sure to know which employees are popular in the community and regular attendees at networking events.
- Think carefully what brand story you want to share with your customers. In other words, what message you will convey to them. It includes answers to some critical questions related to your business: What inspired you to launch the company? What are the products and services you are dealing in? Who are making your initiative possible? Remember, whatever you tell it must have relevance to your customers.
- Once you have selected your influencers, it’s time to carry forward the collaboration. You can do so by a host of simple engagement tactics. Make a point of liking and sharing their content that align with your target audience. With their permission, you can go for mutual link sharing to enhance your domain authority. Try to guest blog on your influencers’ blogs and earn backlinks in the process. Apart from these hacks, you can use your satisfied customers as potent influencers by promoting their favorable reviews they have posted on different crowdsourced review platforms.
With total number of internet users globally standing at 3.6 billion or greater than half of world’s population and daily time spent on social networking sites being clocked at 135 minutes, the talismanic impact of influencer marketing is hard to ignore. Don’t blow your chance!