At the heart of Marketing lies one thing- the audience. This is true for any activity of sales and business- the audience is what’s important. The point is, everyone knows this. And everything is geared towards this – every marketer, every advertising group, every sales strategy builds on this idea to push its product or service to the people. This means you need more than a fabulous plan to get ahead. You need leverage. You need influence. And this is where influence marketing comes in.
Think about it- who do you rely on for advice when you need to make a big purchase? Family, friends, people you look up to. That person has influence on your life. If they came to you with information, you’d trust it. That’s what the Influencer is for an audience- a person who can be trusted and depended on for good advice.
The influencer could be anyone- a celebrity, a blogger, a YouTuber. Through their presence on social media, on their various channels, they speak about their experiences, products they’ve tried and services they’ve enjoyed. Their audience follows them, listens to them and decides based on the influencer’s words. The product gets mileage and sales happen. The influencer gets a cool association with a brand, is paid for their endorsement, or is given freebies and offers.
It seems simple enough but where influencer marketing differs from the rest is in the personal touch it offers. The influencer is in a position of familiarity and closeness with the audience- something no marketing plan, no matter the money spent or the strategy applied can hope to do without some difficulty. Trust is hard to come by and even the biggest brands can sometimes let that trust down. More importantly, the audience itself looks at an advertisement, strategy or claim with some scepticism. Influencers get through all this.
Because of this closeness, the marketing message gets to where it needs to go. Imagine trying to send a message on a crowded social media site. By the time it gets some traction, it’s lost in the middle of a lot of other news. Cutting through this jargon and noise and clutter is influencer marketing. Because there are followers, and a dedicated audience, there’s no danger of the message getting lost. An influencer’s audience is more receptive, better able to take information given. This means, more eyeballs and follow-through action. Cutting through the layers is the success of influencer marketing.
Today, marketing is social- it’s that post on the blog, that Facebook post, that tutorial video on YouTube. The influencer finds the best way to put information across. The product or service decides what the medium of the message will be. Most consumers also go online to find information, visiting forums, getting opinions from users and experts. It makes sense for the marketing strategy to be there as well. The integration is seamless.
What you need to ensure is that the product is enhanced by the influencer and their reputation. Is the influencer someone who can fit in with what the brand wants its image to be? These are questions that need answering. Once the influencer is decided, the marketing strategy can be pushed into high gear.
Some of the benefits are:
- Influencers engage- influencers are very hand-on when it comes to connecting with an audience. At last count, over 80% influencers spend 6 hours and above in their engagement with the audience. They comment on posts, answer queries, share information, and are generally a lot more available than an impersonal marketing strategy. Ready replies and prompt response is the dream of every marketer. Just a small click here is enough to create buzz for you.
- Influencers create fabulous content- the influencer is nothing without great content and that’s a bonus for a marketing team. Whether it’s a post on Facebook, a channel on YouTube or a dedicated blog devoted to anything from fashion to makeup to lifestyle, the influencer always works hard to create great, information-rich content. The product or service is shown in the best light, with good copy, sensational pictures and sensible presentation. This is marketing that is exciting and current.
- Influencers raise the brand image- an influencer is the aspect that connects market presence, awareness and a brand, product or service. There’s no better PR strategy than harnessing an influencer’s presence for your company or product. With each influencer touching the lives of millions of people, you only need to imagine what the reach of your own brand can be. And it can be astounding.
- Influencers come with the trust factor- this is a key area in the entire business of engaging an influencer. Trust is something that cannot be created with a marketing strategy alone. It needs work, practise, and consistency. The influencer can deliver all that. Seeing how we are influenced by our peers, parents, contemporaries and friends when we make big purchases and decisions, the influencer’s role becomes even more pivotal. They can make a key difference in the way the brand is perceived from the get-go.
- Influencers are experts- they may not know your brand so well as you do, but they do know their domain and their job. Influencers are often among the first people to try something out, and they are constantly on the lookout for new ways to connect with their audience. So, while marketing strategies devote money to social media presence as well, it’s the influencer who already knows the ways of the online world. This expertise can be tremendously useful to a brand that needs to answer questions quickly and stay in the loop at all times.
- Influencers are money well spent- while celebrities are the first choice for brands and companies, they can be very expensive- something not every brand or company can afford, or want. Influencers, on the other hand, could be anyone. It could be the computer geek who always gives the best computer peripheral advice, it could be the college girl with a great eye for the best make up trends, it could be the housewife cooking away in her suburban kitchen. Influence is an interesting thing and it spreads across the board. The key idea is to get the right person for the job, no matter how big or small they might be. The returns of such a decision are manifold.
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