Social media influencers often lead public conversations that get people interested in a new product or service. Influencers are prominent community members and are the individuals that people trust and value for their opinions. Using influencers to promote businesses or products is not simply an aspect of marketing anymore; it is part of the culture that we live in. This is why influencer marketing has become one of the effective ways to spread a brand message.
In this article, we will look at:
- What is influencer marketing?
- How influencers can help build a community brand
What is influencer marketing?
At the most basic level, influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing where brands use endorsements and product mentions by individuals with a loyal, dedicated social following to promote their products and services. Since these people are usually viewed as experts in the niche, they can help brands to reach their target audiences. Due to the high level of trust that social influencers have built with their own audiences, recommendations from them provide social proof for a brand that is advertising to potential customers.
Partnering with influencers has become a number one marketing strategy for many businesses of various sizes because the benefits surpass any potential disadvantages. Some of those benefits can include: reaching a larger audience, building trust for a brand, growing its social following, increasing site traffic, getting more leads, and driving sales. As much as we hate to admit it, we all live in a “Keeping up with the Joneses” lifestyle or, as the younger generation has coined it, FOMO.
Some of the most iconic brands worldwide have expanded their messaging and become household names by partnering with influencers to help them generate higher ROIs. Influencer marketing works because it follows the marketing strategy of traditional word-of-mouth marketing. While conventional word-of-mouth has been around since people started telling stories, influencer marketing has made it so that companies can now measure audience response more accurately using insights such as the number of likes, shares, retweets, and more.
Thanks to social media, influencer marketing has become a lot more accessible and effective for all types of companies. Its beauty is that it provides a more efficient avenue to distribute messages in an instant. Since consumers now gravitate towards more visually appealing content, Instagram has become one of the most popular social platforms for brands.
How influencers can help build a community brand
The results earned by implementing influencer marketing can be great, but there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to use. So, if you are planning to partner with an influencer, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
1) Find an influencer who aligns with your market
When choosing a social media influencer, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is basing your decision solely on follower count and reach. In the past, standing out on social media was a lot easier. These days, quality is more important when you’re working with an influencer. “Likes” on posts have lost their significance and are now considered to be vanity metrics that are used to make a company or individual feel important. In the current social media landscape, these metrics barely have any bearing on the ultimate goal of content marketing – capturing leads and generating sales.
Social media “shares” are slightly better because there is a call to action, even if it is comparatively small in the grand scheme of things. When someone shares a social media post, they endorse it to their social circle. Unfortunately, shares rarely offer any additional information that could lead to a purchase intent or intent to engage with the brand on a deeper level.
Depending on how specialized your brand’s product or service is, the social media influencers you choose for your campaign need to be relevant to your target audience. Having a voice that promotes a brand’s messaging to an interested, relevant audience is much more worthwhile than promoting it to an audience of thousands of random people. Another thing to keep in mind is that it is unnecessary to try and reach top influencers because trying to get their attention takes quite some time and money; instead, brands can focus on the “non-celebrities” since they might be the ones that hold the most power.
2) Make sure that they understand the brand
Along the same lines as the first point, one of the trickiest things about influencer marketing is finding an individual who perfectly fits your brand’s campaign. The main goal of a campaign should be to distribute a brand message to new audiences. There is a high possibility that influencers will use different delivery methods to get your company’s message out there than you would. Even so, the core values need to align. This part of the process will take a great deal of effort and research on the company’s part before they initially try to reach out to influencers.
It is essential to look at an influencer’s existing audience to try and find commonalities between the influencer and your brand. However, this does not give the best insight into how an influencer can help build your brand and improve its relationship with the community. So, the best way to truly understand the impact of an influencer is by looking at the type and the quality of content that the influencer produces, and gauging how their audience reacts to it as well as the sentiments involved.
Additionally, you should try to use brand ambassadors. These people may or may not be influencers, but they can use the products or services and share honest and authentic insights based on their personal experiences. With so many influencers existing in the social media landscape these days, delivering a brand message through them can be a gamble. It comes down to who you choose and what value they would offer your brand. Most importantly, you need to consider how effective they will be at helping you connect with your target audience.
3) Collaborate with the influencer for content
When it comes to creating an effective and efficient marketing strategy, influencer marketing and content marketing go hand-in-hand. However, it can be challenging to create content that looks and feels natural to your brand’s multiple marketing channels. This is why co-creating content with influencers can cut down on the time and resources that you would spend on creating authentic and engaging content. In fact, community members like influencers and other creatives can produce high-quality, high-performing content for a brand.
Whether you partner with influencers or choose to build your own content team, the content your brand creates should align with your overall campaign and brand message. The last thing that you want is messaging that does not align with your goals and could hurt your reputation. To create long-lasting brand-influencer partnerships where both parties can experience positive growth, it is best to establish your goals from the get-go.
Unless you are just looking for a one-off shout-out, you need to ensure that both the influencer and the brand are on the same page regarding ideation and execution. Either side should not stray from the core messaging. Rather, both parties should make sure that audience expectations are consistently met. Keep in mind that audiences now expect authenticity from their favorite brands. The best thing that your brand can do is to promote open communication and transparency for everyone involved in the campaign process.
4) Create value for the influencer and their following
As mentioned in previous sections, influencer marketing is a two-way street. Brands tend to focus only on what they are getting out of the marketing campaign because their main concern is advancing their own messaging. However, partnerships have a better chance of success in the long run if both sides can benefit beyond monetary means.
In order to do this, you need to prioritize providing influencers with as much added exposure as you can. Using your owned media channels, from your website to your social media platforms, email, and more, you can distribute shared content provided by the influencer. By doing so, you can amplify your reach as well as that of the influencer. Much like any other type of public relations and marketing, influencer marketing is all about building relationships. To be successful, there needs to be a certain degree of give-and-take from both parties.
5) Run referral programs and contests for influencers
Last but not least, referral programs, contests, and giveaways are some of the best influencer marketing strategies. You use these strategies to promote your products or services and create positive exposure. Marketers can use these channels to increase their social media following and drive traffic to their websites. Having an effective and creative contest strategy gives influencers a chance to develop a community environment that promotes engaging conversations. Doing this can also create curiosity among followers who want to try the product or service. Additionally, brands should develop different strategies for each social media platform that are appropriate for each audience.
Referral programs are also a great strategy for measuring ROI from your campaigns. The easiest way to start a referral program strategy is to share a unique promotion code with each influencer and ask them to share the code with their audiences. The influencer then shares their promotion link or discount codes that are exclusive to their followers. This strategy is likely to draw attention and inspire people to use the code or visit the link.
By having the right influencer marketing strategy, you can amplify brand awareness and establish authority in your industry. This provides an excellent opportunity for brands and influencers to cooperate and build mutually beneficial relationships. Understanding how influencers can help engage and build communities online is just one part of influencer marketing. From content creation to strategic product placements, influencers are the key to brands achieving their full potential.
Convincing the right influencers to work with your brand requires you to build a positive brand image. Do you need help doing that? Partnering with a PR agency like Pressfarm could be just what you need to land the ideal influencer partnership. With a professional press release, some engaging guest posts, and a creative media kit, you can capture the attention of your target influencers and inspire your target audience. Additionally, beyond helping you create quality content, Pressfarm can help you put it in front of the right people. By submitting your content to respected media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can help boost your online visibility and overall brand reputation. Moreover, with a custom media list from Pressfarm, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche. These journalists can then help you share your brand story with the right audiences.