When it comes to marketing, word of mouth still remains among the most effective marketing strategies. People trust in testimonials that come from their own social circles more than they trust the messages coming directly from the brands themselves. And with the growth of social media, word of mouth has acquired a new momentum in the form of influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
According to Altimeter, social influence stands on 3 pillars:
- Relevance: This refers to the creation of content that is relevant to your brand.
- Reach: This refers to the ability to reach an audience that is valuable to your brand.
- Resonance: This refers to the engagement with relevant content by an audience that is valuable to your brand.
Any individual that possesses these 3 attributes can be called an Influencer. In other words, an Influencer is one that talks about your brand, has a fan (relevant to your brand) following, and can kick start a fad about it among its peers.
Influencer Marketing is simply the tact of targeting these influencers to help propagate and promote your brand.
How do you identify Influencers?
The first step in influencer marketing is to know who your influencers are. And finding them is not always easy. Here are 3 tools that you can help you get started in finding influencers:
Traackr is an influencer management platform that helps you discover influencers, manage relationships with them and measure their impact on your business. Some of its features include influencer search engine, profiles, dynamic lists, sentiment analysis, trending content, etc.
Just like the much talked-about BuzzSumo, Ahrefs has launched its own Content Explorer tool, that lets you track just when and where a specific keyword has been mentioned on the Web. It helps you spot the most viral content floating around, and identifying the Influencers becomes an easy job.
It runs its search in the social sphere, and the final output is classified depending upon the amount of attention those mentions have attained in totality. Thus, this data can be extracted and put to use in off-site apps too.
If your business has been digital for a while already, chances are that you may already have influencers talking great stuff highly about your brand that you’re unaware of. One of the easiest ways to find them out is to check your traffic source.
You know who your Influencers are. What next?
Once you have identified your influencers, the next thing that you need to focus on is to transform them into brand advocates. And this happens in 4 stages:
The first stage involves creating awareness and imparting knowledge about your brand/product to the influencers. This can be done through high-quality high-value content that is easily shareable. This makes the influencers more knowledgeable than their peers, which in turn helps in increasing this influence on them.
The next step is to build trust with the influencers so that they can identify value in your brand/product. This can be achieved by encouraging engagement through your content rather than just broadcasting a message widely, to no specific recipient. The conversation needs to be a two-way traffic to gain their trust. Sell your brand, but don’t try too hard without enough credibility in your name.
Create Emotional Connection
Once you have built trust, you need to connect emotionally with the influencer. This can be done by portraying your brand as a living entity that has a voice and a personality. This helps you differentiate your brand from the others in the influencer’s mind. You can encourage feedback, share interests and preferences etc. to give a human touch to your brand.
The last stage involves creating loyalty for the brand so that they become not just influencers, but advocates of your brand. This can be achieved by offering long-term programs and rewards for positive behavior, maintaining an emotional connection, etc. Seeking their advice every now and then also helps foster the connection and increase brand loyalty.
The more influencers you have for your brand, the more traffic you will get to your website. And that’s logical too – if my friend is raving about a new brand, the first thing I would do is check out the brand’s website to know what it’s all about. So you need to make sure that your website host is capable of handling the extra traffic coming your way. Check your web hosting plan and upgrade if your have to so that you don’t face any problems in the future.
With the world shrinking down, and knowledge and information becoming more easily accessible to the common man, what people say about your brand plays an important role in how your customers perceive your brand. So if you haven’t already dipped your finger in the pie, I highly recommend you do so right away!