Internet users see lots of ads, and the more ads they see, the more likely they are to get frustrated by them. Consumers’ eyes may start to glaze over, or they may get vocal when they see ad after ad interrupting their social network streams.
Advertising is still very effective (We have the case studies to prove it!), but there are limitations. When trying to develop lasting relationships with your consumer base, it’s important to incorporate more than just ads into your marketing mix.
Utilize Influencer Relationships
A 2013 study by Technorati.com found that 31.1 percent of Internet users are influenced more by blogs than by other media when making purchase decisions. Blogs are managed by influential people, aka “Influencers”.
Additionally, you can see through the chart below how many people are influenced by some form of social media. The most impactful people on social media are influencers. They can change the opinions of their fans through their content. And they can move fans to action by creating exciting opportunities like contests and giveaways.
Brands can tap into this excitement and circumvent the frustration that occurs when consumers are overexposed to ads, especially on social media. By working with influencers, brands can generate compelling content related to their products and services, and present that content in a way that audiences will welcome .
How to Partner with Influencers
Influencers need to be cautious with their brand partnerships because they don’t want to turn into infomercials and then lose the influence they’ve built up. Brands should keep this in mind when reaching out to influencers.
As you consider influencers to work with, think about forming lasting relationships with them. You have a product or service that would be valuable to their audience. Think about how the story of your brand would be best communicated, taking into consideration the influencers’ unique skill set and reach.
Perhaps you come across an influencer who has a popular YouTube channel. Think about how your brand can build upon his or her video expertise without getting in the way. You want your message to be a natural extension of the influencer’s content.
The most accomplished influencers will need to believe in your product or service before partnering with you. Make sure that you’ve done your research so when you reach out, you can present a compelling case as to why they should attach their brand with yours.
Create Engaging Opportunities
Once you have an influencer on board, you need to think about how to work with him or her to share the story of your brand. For B2B industries, this may look like co-hosting a webinar or co-authoring an ebook. You might also consider a Google Hangout or Twitter chat. For B2Cs, experiences like contests, giveaways, whisper codes, and exclusive sneak previews can work well.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that influencer marketing is people working with people. Sometimes relationship building takes time, but it is well worth the effort. We’ve managed campaigns where one email from an influencer sent over 7,000 unique visitors to our client’s site. That occurred well into the partnership, which goes to show that the partnership impact didn’t diminish over time. When you find a successful partnership, you want to nurture it, not move on to the next one.
What Can Your Brand Do?
Start keeping a look out for influencers in your space. See whether they have any noticeable partnerships already active. Research whether your competitors are working with influencers and what their campaigns look like. Then start to create a list of influencers who seem like a good fit with your brand. Take note of their activities and interests. See what their fans like. It may seem a little like stalking, but that’s okay…just don’t send any creepy messages!
Once you have an idea of the influencer’s strengths, interests, and fan engagement, see how you can make a partnership compelling. Reach out and follow up as necessary. Once you get the conversation going, you can narrow in on partnership specifics and see where it goes from there!
Stay tuned for future articles on how you can track the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaigns.