Today “Influencer Marketing” is gaining popularity and there is a lot of buzz surrounding it. The term “influencer” is wriggling its way through the tangled web. Marketers create content with the intention to engage their target customers and to win them through persuasion. But today’s consumers are well aware and very perceptive. They do not want any kind of interference with their decision making. The minute anything smells of “ad” they get put off and just move on. Today’s savvy customers have an identified set of sources they trust and not look at companies, as they did in the past. Even one positive feedback or recommendation from these sources can carry more weight than the brand’s most wonderfully crafted content. Undeniably, the brand-crafted content has its own place and value and is required in building the brand’s trust with the customers. But then one can’t ignore the fact that most of the times the content that has the maximum effect is the one which comes from sources your customers trust and relate with.
Who are these Influencers?
In today’s time, the word of mouth recommendations and criticisms spread very quickly through the social media. Influencers are people who are active on social media and blogs. They also are brand advocates and niche promoters who are consolidating massive followings.
This new type of savvy contributors often know more about ways to engage with digital medium through content and social media and not very proficient in engaging with brands or agencies. It is the niche content that they generate focused on a very specific topic that makes them so influential and famous. There is no scarcity of such bloggers today. These contributors can be classified based on their target segments e.g. cooks, technology geeks, sports buffs, pet lovers or even something like mothers of toddlers or teens.
The consumer today are easily influenced by fellow consumers for their purchasing decisions. They now look at and follow what these people post on their snapchat, Facebook pages, Instagram, YouTube accounts, Pinterest and Twitter feeds. Whatever be their background or area of choice, these social media influencers are selecting their niche and attracting audience in large numbers. By creating branded content with social media influencers, brands can amplify their message and seduce their niches.
Why Does Your Brand Need Influencers?
With the decline in traditional outbound marketing practices, influencer marketing is becoming one of the most convincing ways to draw the attention of the customers. Modern day consumers don’t pay attention to the billboard advertisements and are not lured by the commercials. They are independent and want to research a brand on their own and they go with word of mouth of a trusted friend.
Thus an influencer is the mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. This idea of brands partnering with such savvy bloggers and other social media influencers is often referred to as “influencer marketing”. The entire concept is based on identifying these “trusted” sources for your target customer segment and collaborating with them to generate and distribute the suitable content to your audience.
When you partner with an influencer, they not only bring their audience but also bring their audience’s network as well. Because these influencers have a loyal audiences following them, they have the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, and flat-out sell your product through their recommendation or story about their experience.
Steps to Engage With Niche Influencers
Although Influencer marketing has many advantages, it may not yield the desired results if you are not partnering with the right influencers. You need to able gauge and measure the amount of impact your partner is able to make. And this will need a deeper analysis than a simple metric like number of unique visitors or number of clicks.
Here are five recommended steps to take when you are in the process of identifying your partners for “influencer marketing” for your brand.
Foremost understand the niche which you want to target. You should have a clear cut idea of the consumer demographic, relevant topics of discussion, and how your brand fits into the niche. You need to first assess if the influencer’s content aligns well with the messaging you intend for your brand before you even start looking at any kind of metrics. Like for example, just anyone who is blogging on food recipes may not always align in terms of their content with your specific “heath food” brand. Read through that blogger’s archived posts to get a sense for what kind of consumer they are
A proper research is required in Identifying influencers. If you know your niche well, you will notice names which come up frequently, either as content authors or references. Use these names as a starting point and jump in. Find out who they follow, search across related keywords and hashtags. Most often when it comes to choosing an important influencer, it’s a matter of quality over quantity
Niche influencer marketing is not like the traditional B2C marketing where the influencers and their followers passively consume the brand’s message. Now the brands should seek to proactively involve with influencers by showing interest in their content. The aim is to add valued input to the conversation and establish a relationship and prove yourself as a useful member of the community. Depending on how interactive the audience is with a particular blogger, how many times they secure a return visit can tell you how well they are able to connect and engage with the audience and this will assert the value they are able to bring to the brand.
When reaching out to influencers, it is better to be as accurate and thorough as possible about your proposal; you don’t want to leave any kind of ambiguity in the mind of the influencers as to what exactly it is that you want them to do. This involves careful planning and thought you’re your end about your own goals. Whether it’s creating relevant content or a developing a marketing campaign, use this step to plan and prepare before you connect with the influencer. You may have new content which fits well within the influencer’s range of discussion, or you may choose to use the influencer’s expertise as a jumping-off point. Give them the platform and make it as easy as possible for them to get involved
You may reach out to influencers online, still use the same business etiquette which you would use in person. Make sure your request is proportional to your relationship with the influencer and frame the conversation accordingly.
Niche influence marketing is not about taking over an influencer’s feed, but about asking him/her to provide her own perspective. Just as content marketing values connecting with the customer experience, you should connect with influencers as partners with their own brands to curate
Leveraging Their Influence
It is perceived that bloggers who have a lesser share of sponsored content are able to garner more trust and appear more genuine. First hand experiences that include personal use or reference of a product, service, or brand are more trusted than direct product reviews. Furthermore, compelling and engaging stories also get more shares and comments than product reviews and deals.
For your niche area, you can collaborate with bloggers to come up with content that is of good quality, is authentic and resonates well with well with target audience.
Also your company and your brand should look at building relationships with these influencers through constant interactions, loyalty programs, and exclusive discounts. These strategies show that companies are willing to go these few steps farther to show appreciation for what influencer can do for them. Remember that these influencers are doing the heavy lifting for your company – so it’s important to keep them on your team and working for your brand.