Digital influencers have a huge impact on consumers. Their social media conversations are often so well crafted that they’re able to persuade and engage with customers in way that traditional marketing just doesn’t.
While brand-specific content is useful, and helps to build trust with customers, sometimes the most influential content comes from like-minded people that your customers know and trust. It doesn’t matter what product you’re selling. A positive recommendation from a trusted source can win over a customer more easily than the most beautifully constructed advertising campaign.
The concept of partnering with active social media users and bloggers is called influencer marketing. It’s based on the premise of finding influencers in your niche to create and distribute relevant content and share it in an authentic way.
In this new marketing paradigm, social influencers with loyal followers on social media are the new source of digital marketing campaigns. What makes social influencers valuable is their ability to engage with customers about the niche-based content they produce, which is often in a very specialised area.
Finding The Right Influencers
Finding the right people to fit your brand can be tricky because there are millions of social influencers out there. Despite the advantages, influencer marketing won’t work if you’re not working with the right individuals. Using single-metric definitions like unique visitors or follower counts as a measure of influence can be helpful. But it’s important to take a closer look to figure out how influential someone is online.
Here are a few things to look for when identifying social influencers for your brand.
Before you look at unique visitors, followers and other statistics, it’s important to look at how aligned a potential influencer’s content is with your brand’s message. It’s necessary to get a good sense of the type consumer they are. An interest in your niche market doesn’t necessarily mean they are a match for your brand. Keep an eye out for things like tone, syntax and how they react to criticism.
Engagement is an indicator of how interactive an influencer’s audience is with the content. Do their followers respond, comment and share posts? How much readers engage with posts and how often they return are indications of how meaningful those relationships are.
Marketers should resist the urge to only look at follower counts as a measure of reach. Followers and website traffic are only meaningful to the extent that the influencer is reaching your brand’s target audience. It’s also important to consider what social platforms your customers visit. If you are a fashion brand, an influencer with a large following on Instagram might be more valuable than someone with a large fan following on Twitter.
There is a direct correlation between how often an influencer posts and their online traffic. As with the digital marketing of any website, it often takes multiple exposures to get followers/visitors to engage with a post. When an influencer posts high-quality content on a regular basis, followers are more likely to engage, comment, share and return to the influencer. People who don’t post as frequently tend to have a higher rate of turnover – fewer comments, shares, return visitors, and thereby less loyalty.
Influencers who have a smaller ratio of sponsored content tend to be more trusted by consumers. Personal stories that include genuine use or mention of a product, service or brand are seen as more authentic (and therefore more trusted) than obvious product reviews. While it’s tempting to ask publishers to write a nice long review of your product, readers don’t really pay much attention to those posts. Creating quality, authentic content with a personal touch will resonate more with an audience as they tend to feel a real connection to the brand.
The Social Media Marketing Course, available at the Digital School of Marketing, will help your brand’s digital marketing team create social posts that will resonate with customers. Follow this link for more information.