More and more, consumers are looking to other consumers—not companies—for information to guide their purchasing decisions. Word of mouth generates twice as many sales as paid advertising, and social media platforms are enabling customers to voice their opinions and recommendations.
Enter influencer marketing. Also referred to as influence marketing, influencer marketing focuses on specific individuals rather than entire target markets. It uses social media to pinpoint key people who have influence over potential buyers and then focuses marketing efforts and activities on them. This e-newsletter will detail three steps your organization can use to identify and engage influencers so that your company is the one they’re talking about.
- Step one—Find your influencers: A good social media influencer has three main attributes: relevance, reach and resonance. Their content should be relevant to your business, reach enough followers to provide it with value and resonate with those you are targeting. You may want to start with individual social networks, such as Facebook® and Twitter®. Look at not only how many followers, likes and comments a potential influencer has, but also at the types of conversations they are posting to ensure they resonate with your brand. Simple online searches are another way to find influencers. For instance, you may want to search for bloggers or critics who locally review restaurants, travel destinations, events or whatever else is relevant to your business.
- Step two—Engage your influencers: Begin interacting with your influencers by engaging with their social media posts, participating in their chats and commenting on their blog posts. You can also engage offline, perhaps by sending free product samples, a coupon or a fashion tote that earns a special discount. Membership to a VIP shoppers club or loyalty points offered for frequent purchases may also be appreciated.
Be sure to nurture these relationships to help them grow. Frequent, friendly tweets are a great way to check in and show your influencer you remember and value him or her. Influencers may also be grateful for an all-access pass to special sales or events. Who knows, they may even offer to speak at the event or post about it. Show gratitude for any promotion you’re given. An insulated bag or thermal vacuum mug, accompanied by a handwritten note or email message, makes a nice thank–you gift.
- Step three—Measure results: It is important to measure the results of your efforts. Track the relationships you’ve built and whether they bring you in-store visits, social media mentions, leads or more. If results aren’t occurring, you may need to reevaluate the type of influencers who are a fit for your organization.
Remember, consumers are looking to other consumers, not companies, to guide their buying journey. Ensure your organization comes recommended by those who may influence the purchasing decision.