The key elements of an influencer marketing strategy

Influencers are the future of marketing

Consumers are seeing fewer ads, thanks to a combination of ad blockers, DVRs, and paid streaming. It feels like a win for many people, but for marketers, it limits opportunities. Companies need different strategies to reach audiences, and many are finding success with influencer marketing.

Based on a report from Nielsen, 92% of people trust individuals over brands anyway. What’s really intriguing is that those individuals don’t have to be personal friends. People even trust online reviewers they don’t know. As long as another person is marketing for your product or service, the public will give your message greater credibility.

Influencers are the future of marketing. By using certain products and services themselves, influencers imbue the prospective customer with a sense of trust. They create what feels like a personal connection between themselves and their audience. As a result, it’s not surprising to see the buzz surrounding influencer marketing.

For starters, what is an influencer?

TapInfluence describes influencers this way: “Be they screen icons or style bloggers, these notables gain the trust of their public, and in doing so, exert some influence over their purchasing power. In this era of social media stars, the term ‘influencer’ encompasses a wide variety of socially savvy experts.” Influencers include celebrities as well as bloggers and photographers with a large following. Even animals like Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug have millions of followers.

Most influencers are paid to promote a product. That said, influencers typically aren’t just in it for the money. If they’re going to go to their audience on Instagram or Twitter with a recommendation, they need to believe in your product – and in you. One great way brands attract and engage influencers is by inviting them to be guests on a podcast or by serving as guests on the influencer’s podcast. This kind of content-based relationship can pay big dividends for both parties.

It certainly did for Subaru. When the auto manufacturer wanted to increase its reach among millennials, it enlisted the help of Devin Graham, a YouTube influencer with five million subscribers. His high-energy, emotional video helped launch the #MeetAnOwner campaign that eventually drew two million likes and pumped Subaru’s sales by 10% that year.

The key elements to an influencer marketing strategy

Successful influencer marketing examples show that it’s critical to have a strategy for executing the plan. An influencer who’s asked to “just talk about us” will be far less profitable than one who knows what message, platform and timeline to use. SmartInsights, a marketing advice site, reported, “A successful influencer campaign isn’t something you just put together and hope that it has the desired effect. You sure don’t want to rush into influencer marketing without any forethought or planning.”

Some keys to influencer marketing success include:

  • Determine your audience first. Sharpen and refine your understanding of your ideal audience. Then you can craft the right message and choose the right messenger.
  • Select the right influencer. You don’t need a celebrity. In fact, most celebrities get very low ROI as influencers. Instead, choose someone popular in your niche. BigCommerce said the ideal influencer “has between 10,000 to 100,000 followers. Beyond tracking follower numbers, it’s essential to monitor the types of followers, quality of relationships and overall engagement.”
  • Compensate your influencer fairly. Don’t nickel and dime your influencer. Consider a hefty one-time fee or a monthly retainer.
  • Provide valuable content, not just overt ads. Try to present three to five pieces of useful content for every request you make in order not to overwhelm your prospective buyers.
  • Monitor and evaluate your influencer marketing activities. Keep a close eye on Instagram influencer marketing. Stay on top of your numbers, and if something doesn’t seem to be working, address it quickly.

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