What is influencer marketing – and how can you use it to your advantage?

With the rise and prevalence of social media marketing and the popularity of YouTube, bloggers and vloggers have carved out a promotional niche all of their own. Known as ‘influencer marketing’, high-profile figures online now charge a variety of fees for a huge selection of powerful promotional services. 

Influencers are so-called for a reason

Online influencers are now celebrities in their own right – some using existing fame to create leverage and a fertile, productive environment for making money via promotional activity. It’s well-known in the field of sales psychology that ‘people buy people’, and this medium has been shown to powerfully tap into this philosophy. As users feel they get to know and trust an influencer through daily exposure, they build a relationship that allows the individual to introduce them to new brands and ideas. In turn consumers are much more likely to be swayed by a recommendation coming from a favourite influencer compared with a straight ad in a magazine.

Influencers are active in most markets – but not all

It’s worth bearing in mind that whilst influencers are active in many different markets, they won’t be available (or suitable) for all businesses). They’re particularly useful when marketing B2C – in industries such as cosmetics, health and beauty, fitness, food and hospitality.

Choosing an influencer

Influencer marketing is new, mostly unchartered territory – so naturally it comes with some pitfalls. When choosing an influencer, ask to see specific data (as below) and do some intensive research before approaching your shortlist, determining who and what has worked well for brands in a similar vein. Bear in mind that it is easy to buy followers online – handy independent websites can indicate where this is the case and highlight influencers who have slowly and steadily built up and engaged follower base over time.

Your decision will also depend on what services you’d prefer or require. Some influencers are operational on social media only, whilst others can produce a blog or vlog to promote your product or service. Check out the quality of these materials – as poorly produced marketing material could have the opposite of the desired effect.

What’s the cost?

As influencer marketing is still a relatively new method of consumer communication, the costs attached can vary massively. Price is usually based on the authority and popularity of the influencer in question – with costs calculated based on data such as follower numbers or website hits. Those well-versed in social media will know that this data can be fairly ambiguous, as high follower numbers or lots of independent website hits won’t necessarily produce excellent results. Instead ask for case studies, testimonials from previous clients and engagement stats – as these give a clearer indication of the type of results you can expect from the influencer in question.

Need specialist guidance and support when marketing your business? Get in touch with the experts at Search and More today.

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