There are thousands of online personalities who are doing paid and unpaid affiliate advertising with worldwide brands. Social media has made it simple and cheap for brands to secure a huge reach for their product if they can secure an influencer with a strong presence and dedicated following. They can achieve this for little to no cost in comparison to large-scale marketing campaigns such as billboards and in some cases television commercials.
So, what is Social Media Influencer Marketing exactly?
Social media influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as whole. By identifying the individuals who have influence over their target market, brands can hyper-target their audience by offering the Influencer products or paid affiliations for posts on their social media feeds. It is, at its most general level a combination of marketing tools. It is a play on the idea of celebrity product endorsement, but adapted to play into our modern day market landscape which is highly content-driven.
Influencers vs. Celebrities - there is a difference, and it’s crucial!
It is important for brands who are considering IM to remember that Influencers are different from Viral Celebrities. Throwing money at an influencer to say good things about your brand likely won’t work. This is because Influencers who are truly successful with devout followings have spent countless hours creating and building content, fine tuning their brand, and creating trust within their following; and this trust (and their reputation) is not something they are going to put on the line -or feed- for a brand or idea that they don’t fully believe in. After all, it is their personal name that is going to be associated with the product.
As well, don’t expect IM to work for quick payouts. It is about longevity, and building a reputation for your brand that is strong, reliable and synonymous with what your brand has to offer. This takes time and strategy, so if all bets are placed on short term results, an social media influencer marketing strategy will not have a good success rate.
Adjust your strategy to make appropriate use of different influencers. If the aim is to have a successful IM campaign (or multiple), one size definitely does not fit all: each individual campaign should be extensively planned and executed to cater to the specific influencer. Even better, collaborate and take the influencers input in the direction of the strategy, as they will know best what their following responds to.
Numbers Aren’t Everything!
Influence is about more than just followers or popularity. Today, there are plenty of apps that can help any person fake their way to Internet fame, such as apps that allow you to buy followers, or bots that engage with other accounts in order to drive up your own account’s engagement. Ensure that you have a bullet-proof vetting process for the influencers who you collaborate with, because it is also your brand that will be front and center for the ads. What’s more, is that many people (let alone aspiring influencers) will jump at the opportunity to receive anything free (or paid).
Make Sure to Engage - Authentically
The first step is to focus on the Influencer as your target market. Put out content that they want to see, and invite them into your space as a common interest, Then, get in touch. Getting in touch with influencers is incredibly important, not only liking their posts, but commenting in a meaningful way (not sounding like a bot, or being a bot!). Introduce yourself slowly and organically to them and their following. When finally taking the step to directly approach an influencer about a collaboration, you’ll have a much better chance of landing it if this isn’t the first time they’re seeing or hearing from your brand.
Overall, Influencer Marketing can be arguably the most powerful tool for modern day brands to grow their reputation - and fast. However, in order to successfully implement IM into your wheelhouse, it needs to meticulously executed in order to be effective. IM is not a quick-solution for the short term, and in fact can have quite the opposite effect if not given it’s due diligence.
Co-Founder and CEO