Influencer marketing became a hot strategy in 2016, and it’s only gaining more prominence among marketers this year. Experts say, this will continue in the coming years due to a number of reasons. One, social media remains a staple digital marketing platform. That means, the top influencer marketing platform continues to remain relevant in the coming years. Another reason is the continued decline of advertising and a shift towards organic trust.
Needless to say, 86% of marketers employ an influencer marketing strategy to reach young people, the most active consumers. Most people make buying decisions based on social media recommendations, which either come from peers or influencers.
There’s no question that we’re in the age of influencers, and that means you have to adapt to it or get behind your competitors.
- Start investing in influencer marketing.
No one is telling you to invest big. Just include influencers in your marketing plan, and you got to have a plan and start executing it this early. If you’re competitors are doing it, you should be doing it. If they’re not, you still should be doing it and take advantage of being the first in your niche to work with key people on social media.
- Keep writing good content.
Or start improving your content if you haven’t started writing the good stuff for your readers. Your readers become your customers. Some of them become your advocates. You don’t know who’s consuming your blog posts. Sometimes a respected authority in your niche catches your article and finds it interesting enough to share it with their followers. This form of passive influencer marketing is one of the best things that can happen to average mortals in the business world. You only get the chance if you write interesting things.
Content is the heart of digital marketing. It’s what you show people whether you’re doing SEO or email marketing. It’s the part of any marketing work that people can see and appreciate. Content jump starts conversations, and conversations are what keeps social media engagement happening. You talk to your audience by creating content, and it’s your content that gives people an impression of your brand.
Much of the collaboration you do with influencers is centered around content creation, wherein you plan engaging and shareable content for your brand. What influencers will integrate into your marketing menu is an authentic message that fosters new personal experiences for your audience.
- Study how it works.
We realized the existence of social media influencers before marketers started talking about them. That was several years ago, when everyone else was preoccupied with search engine marketing, link building, and other tactics that used to be commonplace years ago. We spotted people who were amassing followers on various social media platforms. We saw how they became household names. We saw how often their names pop up in online discussions. Five years ago, hardly anyone in the marketing industry looked at these social media “celebrities” as potential candidates for brand ambassadorship. Today, everyone is looking for them.
The most successful entrepreneurs observe the industry. They pick up what’s going on and keenly watch out for changes. The first people to see changes in social media trends are observant people. They’re also the ones who are able to react to these changes and turn these changes into their favor.
You don’t just pay attention to how companies court influencers. You don’t just pay attention to the good practices in dealing with influencers. Social media teems with influencers as well as marketers who are after them. Very few marketers are learning from influencers, learning the art of connecting with audiences, and learning how to build trust.
- Don’t abandon other marketing approaches.
Don’t put all your marketing budget in one basket. We never say that you spend all your money finding and marketing with influencers. What we tell clients is to start investing in influencer marketing. Instagram and Facebook influencers are your best friends if you want to gain more social media reach and engagement. However, it’s not clever to abandon your social media marketing practices on these channels just because you’re looking for influencers.
In our influencer marketing examples, we tackle the importance of different types of marketing, which go hand in hand. In fact, it’s impossible to work with influencers if you don’t have a solid content base and you don’t have social media marketing strategies in place beforehand.
- Find complementary voices.
Influencer targeting is tricky for inexperienced entrepreneurs because they have no idea who to target. The common mistake is finding just anyone with many followers. A lot of problems can arise from this mistake. For instance, you could end up with an inactive page administrator. Worse, you end up asking a direct competitor.
Influencers are people who are respected voices in your niche. Their content is not necessarily similar to yours, but closely related. If you’re a wedding photographer, working with an eventologist or a professional wedding coordinator is a good place to start. You probably wouldn’t ask another wedding photographer in town to feature your portfolio.
- Build rapport.
Or just make friends. Sometimes you just have to be really friendly. One of our clients hesitated to ask a blogger upfront about a possible collaborative content creation project. She was very hesitant to just send that email because she felt awkward about the whole thing. So instead of looking like a creepy tactician, she proceeded with something that felt natural to her — make friends. She followed the influencer, like her posts, and shared them. Soon they were chatting and sharing common interests. And that was the beginning of it. They became friends, and what looked like influencer marketing from our perspective was a natural partnership. It did take time, though.
- Build your network.
A strong network makes you a better partner for influencers. You see, looking good on social media earns you good impression, and good impression takes you places. It’s easier to negotiate with social media celebrities and authorities if you’re not exactly a social media recluse with only 10 followers. This is why earlier we said you shouldn’t abandon other marketing tactics. Build your content. Build your network. Increase your reach and engagement. Make your social media pages look as good as possible, because it’s like finding a date. You have to attract your prospects and make sure it’s harder for them to say no.