One of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to grow your business today is via social media.
But only if you’re doing it right.
At its best, social media can be a great way to connect with potential customers, cultivate a following, draw new prospects in, and even make sales. At its worst, it can be a tremendous time sink. At its worst, it can be a tremendous time sink.
Additionally, you have to consider that growing an online following from the ground up, can be time-consuming and expensive. And for many social media platforms today, you have to pay to play; running ad campaigns if you want to get noticed.
Fortunately, there’s a shortcut that many big-name brands and smaller businesses alike are using to bring awareness and grow their following: teaming up with Social Media Influencers.
Influencers may get a bad rap from time to time, but it’s important to give credit where it’s due. There’s a reason that influencers and even micro-influencers get paid what they do to post what they do: it’s an effective way to drum up publicity and fast.
Brands have caught onto this, and have been using influencer marketing for years to build publicity and generate awareness for their products.
In a world where it’s easier than ever to start a business, there’s more competition than ever. And it’s even more important that you have a way to stand out from the crowd.
Influencers can help you to gain the publicity that you need, when you need it –and they can also help to lend a great deal of credibility to your brand as well; which is especially important if you’re just starting out, or if you’re thinking of launching a new product.
Here are five ways that influencers can help your business.
They Can Help to Build Trust
First up, using an influencer can help you build much-needed trust with your target audience.
It makes sense if you think about it. Who are you more likely to believe: a company talking about how great their products are, or a third-party who is vouching for them?
You can talk all day about the benefits and features of what you’re offering, but at the end of the day, a lot of that will just be white noise. But find someone with an already-established following who can attest to how great your products are, and you’ll be able to forge an instant connection.
One important element of social media is that users frequently follow public figures, celebrities, and companies. But it’s not just giant corporations or well-known celebrities that people are following, there’s been a rise in the micro-influencer in recent years as well. That is, influencers who have a slightly smaller following, but often, a loyal following of fans.
Influencers have built trust and support from their followers, meaning that when they share information about your brand or product their followers will pay attention, allowing you to shortcut the trust-building process and move prospects on down the funnel.
They’ll Help You to Instantly Reach Your Target Audience
In addition to trust, when it comes to partnering with influencers, you’ll be able to benefit from the scale of their audience as well.
You may not have access to 50,000 warm leads, but guess who does? Influencers.
Just make sure you look for an influencer that shares the same target audience that you do. Partnering with them can save you time and money because you won’t need to invest in organically building your own following from scratch.
Since social media channels and demographics differ among age groups, and influencers are able to successfully build followers in their niche field on individual platforms. This can help your brand and company to more effectively engage with your target market.
They Can Boost Your Conversion Rates
When an influencer endorses your company, product, or brand, their followers will pay attention. Individuals put increasingly significant weight into the opinions and endorsements of influencers. When an influencer gives a valid recommendation, their followers are more likely to continue buying or supporting those brands and products. This can help to drive traffic, and boost your conversion rates.
Influencers, in one sense, are similar to expert consumer reviewers. Their opinions of brands and products are important because their followers typically share similar values and perspectives, meaning an influencer endorsement can lead to not only increased sales, but better visibility as well.
The power of personal recommendations can be an especially good reason to follow up every influencer campaign with a discount code or coupon of some variety that rewards people for passing the word on. A discount code that both rewards the customer, and the new prospect can be an effective way to grow your customer base.
They’ll Help You Build Relationships With Your Audience
As we’ve seen, using a social media influencer allows you to tap into an already-existing audience that’s engaged and listening, saving you from having to grow your own from the ground up.
When content involving your brand or company is shared, it can lead to increased traffic and sales, and strengthen your connection with your customer base –especially if you enlist an influencer to serve as the face of your brand, and provide ongoing sponsored posts.
When assessing potential influencers, look at the comments on their posts. Do they generally get a decent amount of feedback on things that they share? Do they respond to follower comments? This can give you a good idea about how engaged their audience is.
In many cases, you’ll find that the smaller, more niche influencers will have better engagement rates than celebrity influencers –which is good news for your budget.
The right influencers will help their audience to connect with your brand and humanize your company, helping people to warm to your faster.
It Can Be Cost-Effective
Sure, some influencers get $100,000 per sponsored post, but there are plenty of smaller, more niche influencers out there who don’t cost the earth. You don’t need to team up with the Kardashians to get your products noticed.
Micro-influencers provide you with the ability to run a highly-effective marketing campaign. Rising social media influencers can offer you a budget-friendly influencer option and can be extremely useful if you are in a niche market.
Since influencers have the ability to maximize the reach of social media posts, even a micro-influencer or rising influencer can reach an extremely large number of potential customers.
See: Are influencers right for your business?
Tips for Getting Started With Influencer Marketing
So how do you get started with influencer marketing?
Here are a few tips for success now:
Identify Your Target Audience
First of all, you need to determine who your target audience is. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you won’t be able to reach them in the first place, so make sure you take the time to identify exactly who your audience is. This will allow you to create campaigns and content that are designed to reach them. When it comes to influencer marketing, it’ll allow you to find an influencer who shares the same audience that you do –a crucial part of campaign success.
Define Your Campaign Goals
Next up, why are you hiring an influencer? “Generating publicity” is a common goal, but it’s a bit too vague. For best results, you’ll want to get more specific, so consider taking an extremely goal-oriented approach.
Consider teaming up your influencer promotion with a specific campaign, that way, you’ll be able to really dial in your efforts, and, ideally, get the most out of your instant boost of publicity. You’ll also be able to measure the success of the campaign more easily as well.
Adding a time-sensitive offer into the mix could help to give uncertain prospects the boost they need to take action. How could an influencer help you to reach your campaign goals? Let’s say you have a shop selling t-shirts. You could run a Black Friday promotion, using an influencer or two to help spread the word.
Start by creating a hashtag that they can use all over social media, and ensure that their posts send their followers to a landing page where they get a heavy discount if they enter in a code that the influencer shares as part of the giveaway.
Or, offer a “free slogan of your choice” on any t-shirt for a limited time only. If you’re running a campaign like this, make sure you send the influencers some cool t-shirts with the slogan of their choice early on as well.
Whatever your ideal outcome is, get specific. Determine your goals and what metrics you’ll be using as a gauge of success. This could include the number of sponsored messages, new followers, sales, and more. Maybe your goal is to sell 3,000 t-shirts. Maybe it’s to grow your email list to 5,000 warm leads. Whatever it is, really dial in and get specific on what you’re looking for. It’ll help to drive the success of your campaign.
Once you’ve found someone who aligns with your company and who seems like a great fit, reach out. They may be willing to work with you. Remember, some of the newer influencers may be less business-minded than more experienced influencers, but be patient. The benefit of using a newer influencer is that they’ll be far more affordable.
The downside, though, is that they may not have the level of professionalism that you’d be able to expect from a seasoned pro. They might also have a smaller following, but again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Often, it’s better to have an influencer with a smaller but is more engaged with their audience, than it is one who has a wider following, but lower engagement rates.
This is what you’ll often find when you start moving up to celebrity influencers. (Not to mention, you’ll have to spend a great deal more per sponsored post!) Remember: it’s not all about the number of followers, but how engaged their audience is.
How can you tell what their engagement is like? Here’s what I do:
Take the last four posts from an influencer, then subtract the most recent one. With the three that are left, we take the average number of their engagements and divide that by their audience size. This gives us the percentage of reach or engagement. This is a far better measurement than audience size alone.
When you’re first starting out, especially, it pays to look for a niche-specific influencer. For example, the pet niche has influencers that are dogs that we can partner with, something that we do in my pet businesses. Most niches have influencers that are heavier into one topic – fitness, travel, or food, for instance. So look for someone who talks about things that go hand in hand with what you’re selling.
You can get creative and look outside your niche for people that mention your topic. For us, there are a lot of celebrities that may not focus on their dogs but sometimes feature them in their feeds. This is a great fit for us to plug our pet products.
Think About Their Demographics
When selecting who to work with, make sure that you get details of their demographics, where they are located, and other key factors that could make or break how good of a match they are for you. Often, you’ll find that their audience will lean towards the opposite sex. A good example of this is Manscape, they have all-female models promoting their men’s line because they know their audiences are mostly men.
Try Negotiating Multiple Posts
Another tip is to try to negotiate for multiple posts versus just one. It shows the influencer that you are willing to spend a little more, and ultimately the more the audience sees a product the more likely they are to buy.
Where to Find Influencers?
Finally, not all influencer marketing campaigns are created equal. Some are miles better than others in terms of results. For the most part, this comes down to partnering with the right influencer, ensuring that they and your brand are well-aligned. This means you’ll want to share a target audience, and also ensure that their approach and image are compatible with your brand’s.
A good way to target the right influencers is to review Instagram or YouTube profiles of popular accounts in your field or niche. Take a look at how their posts look and feel. Consider if the aesthetics and tone of their profile and posts match what your ideal brand image is.
Or, save time and head over to a platform that can team you up with the right influencer.
Consider one of the following:
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Connecting with an influencer who has a strong following among your target audience is another important consideration. If your brand is looking to connect with a specific demographic, make sure the potential influencer has a strong following and connection with that group.
You’ll also want to ensure that their image is compatible with your brand’s. How well do their posts align with your company’s overall message and branding? There’s no point in hiring a Gen-Z influencer who lives in California, for example, if you’re trying to sell farm equipment to Gen-Xers in the Midwest. Find someone who your audience will respect and connect with. You want someone who speaks their language.
Partnering with an influencer is a great way to increase sales, visibility, and credibility. Influencers have the ability to reach millions of people, which can help grow your brand and company. Influencers also have strong followings, which gives you the ability to successfully engage your target market. When an influencer endorses your product, service, or brand, it can help you reach new customers and improve your brand’s reputation.
No matter what your marketing goals are, if you’d like to expand your company’s web presence, boost awareness, and drive sales, then teaming up with an influencer –or several should be a part of your strategy. Get started today and let the results speak for themselves.
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