Influencer marketing is becoming more and more prevalent in our tech-savvy, social media-loving society. It is something that companies and brands simply cannot ignore or they risk getting left behind. In this article, we will take a closer look at what influencer marketing is, why it is important, and how exactly it can be used.

What is Influencer Marketing?

You know when you see Natalie Portman in a Chanel commercial or Matthew McConaughey in a Lincoln ad? It’s no coincidence. These famous faces don’t just happen to be placed in the commercial. They are influential figures whose presence and approval can help to sway audiences to buy.
Influencer marketing is all about using key leaders in a niche to impact a large market. These key leaders will take your brand’s message and amplify it by including it in communications to their audience. This is done in a number of ways but in most cases, a company will pay an influencer to mention their brand.
This form of marketing is often directly linked with both content marketing and social media marketing. In fact, just about every influencer marketing campaign will have some form of social media aspect linked to it. Here, the influencer will spread the brand message using their own social media account – for example, Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook. Influencer marketing campaigns can also include content marketing. This means either the influencer creates content for your brand, or your company creates content for the influencer to use. Note, however, influencer marketing campaigns can run without both social media and content marketing.

Why Influencer Marketing is Important

Influencer marketing should never be overlooked! Why? Well, it is simple really – it works! The Shelf, a highly respected marketing platform, says as many as 92% of people will try a product or service that others have recommended to them. And they don’t even need to know them personally! This is a far higher success rate than a brand simply telling someone to buy their product.
If you don’t use influencer marketing, you are likely to fall behind your competition. Why? Over 65% of all brands use influencer marketing in some way, shape, or form now. And by combining these campaigns with social media aspects, you are able to tap into large target markets you would never have had access to before. This means new audiences and new potential clients.
Now you are probably thinking that an influencer marketing campaign is going to cost an arm and a leg. Here’s some encouraging research. In a study run by eMarketer, for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, an average of $6.85 was returned to the pockets of advertisers. Don’t forget as well that influencer marketing increases conversions rates – sometimes up to a factor of 10. Talk about ROI! Being that the stats show such a profitable return, implementing this tactic may be funded by a small business loan. With companies like Rapid Advance, which offers online lending, it’s never been easier to get an advance when you need it, and it’s especially a good investment when choosing a tactic which has shown such good returns.

Successful examples

Now let’s take a look at a few examples of where influencer marketing has been a success.

Arby’s Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart certainly likes to crack jokes about Arby’s, repeatedly bashing the brand’s products. The company, however, used this to create a brilliant influencer marketing campaign. When Stewart left his job hosting the Daily Show, Arby’s contacted him via Twitter. They informed him that now that he was no longer employed, he could apply to work for them.
Not only that but they created two highly successful commercials. By showing a huge sense of humor, Arby’s made Stewart into an influencer even though he made fun of their products. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

Chanel with Instagrammers

Chanel produced a brilliant campaign showing just how effectively branded hashtags can work on Instagram when launching Chanel No. 5 L’Eau. They invited a number of powerful Instagrammers to visit their facilities and flower fields in France to see how their perfume is made.
These Instagrammers all had massive followings and, of course, shared pictures of their experience on their accounts. Along with their pictures they included the branded hashtags #chanelgrasse and #newchanel5. The campaign was a huge success with 9 million people reached and 1 million likes for #newchanel5 in just one month. Simply incredible exposure.

How To Find and Work with Influencers

Influencers are not necessarily only celebrities. With the rise of social media, a number of ordinary people have quickly made inroads into this form of social networking. Simply asking someone with 100,000 followers to promote your product is certainly not the way to go about it though.
To find the correct influencers for your product or service takes some time and research, but when done properly, you can certainly find influencers that will benefit your brand. There are many platforms, such as ClearVoice that can help you find influencers that will relate to your brand. You can also search around on different platforms using your keywords.
But once you have found them, how do you work with them? Well to begin, you will need to pitch your specific marketing idea to them along with what they will get in return. If they accept, remember that it is probably better to give up full control over what they will say, tweet or post. Of course, they need to be guided to get your brand message out there, but it is important that their unique personality shines through as well. Their followers will certainly be able to tell if they are sprouting marketing messages that they have not been directly involved in. What the influencer has to say about a brand is important, otherwise, their followers will quickly see through the marketing behind their social media posts. A relationship between a brand and an influencer is certainly established on a foundation of compromise!

Taking Action

Influencer marketing has massive potential for your business, enabling you to reach large, untapped markets of potential clients. Note, however, that you need to find the right influencers to reach out to and you will need to come up with a strategy that will fit in with their presence. Look to Chanel and how they invited Instagrammers who already post pictures regularly with accompanying hashtags. Inviting the influencers to their facilities for a tour and asking them to share pictures and specific hashtags went along with the influencer’s normal activities. This is a great example of how influencer marketing is done right. Think about how your company could be promoted through platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram, and then search for the influencers who can play a key role. Have you tried this approach before? We would love to hear how it went and any tips you have in the comments below.

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