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Does Your Brand Have Influence?

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Is your company doing all it can to leverage influencers in your field or industry to drive engagement and brings in new audiences?

I’ve written in this space over the years about how brands can put influencer marketing to work for them. Now as technology and the reach of social media makes connecting with and influencing a large audience more efficient than ever, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the topic.

According to entrepreneur.com, the prevalence of influencer marketing has quadrupled in the last two years. It’s now considered an essential part of marketing budgets for companies large and small, with 67% of marketers saying it helps them reach a more targeted audience.

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WHAT IS INFLUENCER MARKETING?

Skepticism about claims a brand makes about its products or services is often overcome when a friend or family member relates his or her experience with the brand and makes a thumbs-up (or thumbs-down) recommendation. In the absence of a friend or family member to make such a recommendation, consumers turn to the next best thing—someone they trust (an expert, celebrity, or other credible person) who they believe can make a genuine recommendation about the brand. This person is known as an influencer and is at the center of influencer marketing.

Examples of influencers include:

  • Celebrities
  • Known experts/authorities
  • Media personalities
  • Target audience peers with large social media followings
  • Bloggers
  • Reviewers
  • Power users of a brand’s products or services
  • Teams or groups
  • Anyone who can influence the purchase decision of another person

WHY DO IT?

There’s so much content available to consumers today that brands need to find a way to engage their audiences and get noticed. One way to do this is by utilizing influencers to help brands break through the clutter and build trust. In essence, consumers trust that if the influencer they choose to follow and believe in is a brand fan, they will be a fan of the brand, too.

According to www.emarketer.com, for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, a business makes $6.85. That’s a good return on investment that can’t be ignored.

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ATTRIBUTES OF INFLUENCERS

While the characteristics of what makes an effective influencer differs by brand and market, here are four essential attributes shared by most:

  • Credibility: Does the influencer have expertise and/or influence in your market? Do people look to him or her for recommendations on products or services like yours? Is the influencer credible?
  • Reach: Does the influencer have reach through social media channels, email lists, blogs, TV, radio, and/or other online venues to engage sizeable audiences?
  • Demographics: Do the demographics of your target audience closely match those of the influencer’s target audience? Will he or she reach people likely to be interested in hearing about/buying your products or services?
  • Desire: Does the influencer have the desire and conviction necessary to promote your brand and drive a desired behavior from your audience?

HOW IT WORKS

In return for helping to spread the word about a brand’s products and services to their fans through their social media platforms, websites, blogs, email blasts, and other channels (such as radio and TV), influencers typically get access to free products, new content for their blogs/social media, behind the scenes brand access, exclusive sponsorship and endorsement opportunities, the ability to earn money as an affiliate, and more.

Of course, the level of reward usually depends on the scope and effectiveness of the influencer’s “influence” on his or her audience. Typically, marketers are looking for influencers with built-in audiences in the thousands and tens of thousands, not just hundreds. Of course, the quality of those numbers is important. They can’t just be any audience.

Also, some form of written contract that outlines the influencer’s responsibilities and the brand’s, the nature of the relationship, expected participation levels, and rewards/compensation is usually put into place.

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FINDING INFLUENCERS

Finding an influencer can be easy . . . or difficult. You may already know an influencer or two in your market, so don’t discount your own first-hand knowledge or the knowledge of someone on your team.

Absent that, look to the social media platforms your customers frequent—places such as Instagram, Snapchat, Musical.ly, Twitter, Facebook, and Periscope. Use search features to see who’s talking about your industry and keywords and who seems to have the most influence. Reach out to that person to see if there’s potential to work together.

Similarly, use search engines to scope bloggers, authors, and experts who are actively posting, commenting, and writing about your industry or brand. Is there someone out there who’s using the same keywords as you to reach your audience? If so, drill down. Determine who has the most clout, the most followers . . . the most influence.

There are a number of free online tools designed to help you find influencers, including FollowerWonk,  Kred, and Klear.

Last, but not least, don’t be shy about asking your target customers who they consider to hold sway over their purchase decisions. They probably know better than anyone!

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

These days, influencer marketing is part of most marketing budgets for one main reason: it works. Creating a successful strategy for your brand can be challenging, though, but that’s OK. Barrel O'Monkeyz is here to help. If you need help seeing where you might plug influencer into your marketing toolkit, give Barrel O'Monkeyz a call.

We can also provide a free assessment of your current web strategies and help you answer the question, “Are my current online efforts contributing to my success?”

You can also check out Barrel O’Monkeyz white papers on a range of topics, from website development, social media, and inbound marketing, to digital marketing, brand development, and design. Each white paper is full of ideas and steps you need to take to turn your ideas into reality.

LET’S GET CREATIVE

Barrel O’Monkeyz is a San Diego-based strategic marketing agency specializing in Sports and Active Lifestyle markets. We serve as a seasoned, outsourced marketing team for companies looking to ramp up sales and launch new products. Our barrel is full of talent and creative arms ready to prove we don’t just monkey around! Contact Barrel O’Monkeyz Today

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