Rethinking Influencer Marketing
Let’s be real, influencer marketing is tricky. You want to get exposure, you want your products to land in the right hands and get that buzz going but you’re not totally sure how to make that happen. Yay, buzz!!!
Enter influencer marketing. It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? You get the right Instagram personalities, spend your budget getting the product in their hand and boom! You’re done!
Unfortunately, this is not always an effective strategy. There are lots of ways to get your product to an influencer, but it requires some rethinking on what an influencer really is and how to approach that strategy.
What is an influencer really?
Might sound philosophical but it really bears some thought. How are you defining an influencer? What are your criteria for choosing one? Is it just by their sheer number of following or because they offer some sort of connection/link to your brand that would be difficult to find elsewhere? These are all great questions to start off it, but it really should not be your overall strategy. An influencer is only relevant if their audience fits your brand, marketing, AND product strategy.
Don’t Forget, Umm, Everyone Else
From an individual standpoint, literally, everyone is influencing someone or group all the time. You probably gave someone a recommendation the other day, or maybe you approached someone about picking the right influencer. Or someone asked for a great place for Thai and you immediately recommended one. See? That’s influence.
Even looking back, influence is all around you. Parents learn from their kids all the time and vice versa. Kids get influenced by their friends, or whatever the older kid on the block is up to and follow suit. Either way, it points to a fundamental truth for influencer strategy:
Stop thinking you need a capital ‘I’ Influencer to get the word out.
Don’t Ignore Micro-Influencers
So how do you get out of the influencer bubble? Don’t poke it completely, but find new ways to reshape your strategy. One way to do this is by reaching out to multiple micro-influencers rather than one big Influencer. Qualifying who is a micro-influencer is highly subject, but the general definition seems to be anyone with a following of 10k-500k, so there are lots of options out there.
What’s so special about them? They have a specific niche, have a deeper audience connection and thereby get you better engagement. These are influencers with a more dedicated following who have the same interests as your influencer and therefore trust him/her more. Current stats show that 62% of consumers actively seek the advice of others before trying out new brands. So the role of influence is still there but it constantly changes.
Having a micro-influencer as part of this strategy helps you gain more exposure while seeming more trustworthy than the brand that works with a celebrity. This is deeper and personal marketing without necessarily breaking the bank. So instead of spending on one influencer, diversify. Engaging a group of micro-influencers within the same niche allows your product to get the more direct engagement that you can use for organic growth.
An influencer or an Influencer – what’s in a name?
The micro-influencer leads to the next point: What are you really getting for your money when you work with an Influencer versus a smaller group. If you are paying influencers you might be able to get a lot better reach from utilizing the services of many smaller ones than one or two gigantic ones. Think about this way: It’s like the Superbowl – do you really want to blow your budget one expensive and highly analyzed opportunity? Or is it better to get the word out from the ground up by a highly motivated group?
Within that vein, consider the following stats:
- 50%, of all Americans would choose word-of-mouth if they had to select one source of information to draw from when making decisions.
- 94% of Americans have made a word-of-mouth recommendation
- 55% of Americans make recommendations at least monthly
- 30% make recommendations weekly
Word-Of-Mouth Is About Trust
Word-of-mouth marketing might seem old-fashioned but it holds power. And micro-influencers are often in a much better position to spread the word rather than macro-influencers simply because they have more trust. And, at its core, that is what Influencer Marketing is all about; people who have built trust among their followers. Trust is authentic and is often rooted in an influencer’s ability to turn their own story into a brand.
Even bigger brands like Pepsi continue to rely on it by engaging with more influencers across different interests rather than sticking to one or two celebrities.
With all in this mind, consider your current strategy. What kind of returns are you getting and where do you want your brand to be in the next 6 months, next year, or even in the next 5 years. Identify what niches work with your brand and what kind of message you want to communicate through your advertising efforts. Whether it is organic growth, new leads, or simply just exposure, there are a lot of different ways influencers can help you achieve that goal. It’s just about the way you approach the situation.
Think you’ve been approaching influencer marketing incorrectly? Why not talk to The California Office about your brand and influencer strategy and how to improve it to get the organic growth you want for your brand.