Guest post by Nikki Kallio
You’re sick of plateaus: You’re ready to take your brand to the next level, and you know the power influencer marketing can have to boost your brand. But how do you find those highly sought-after resources?
First, understand what influencer marketing means: You’ll be marketing your brand to the key people who can then share your product with your target audience. Celebrities? Maybe. But you’re also looking for the movers-and-shakers on popular social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, Vine and Instagram. Or bloggers with a strong following in your target market.
Think it sounds like a lot of trouble to get those powerhouse resources on board? Consider this: Onalytica says influencer marketing produces twice the sales of paid advertising, triple the word-of-mouth messages, and can lead to recommendations that are up to 50 times more likely to result in purchase.
Hard to ignore, right?
Finding the right influencers
So how do you get started? Simply put, to find the right influencers, you’re looking for qualities like popularity, expertise or reputation, says Onalytica.
Spiceworks shares the example of Meagan Cignoli, a stop-motion video artist on Vine’s six-second video venue. Cignoli became an influencer after Lowe’s discovered her and had her produce its Fix in Six campaign in 2013. Since then, Cignoli, with more than 700,000 followers, has produced for dozens of marketers with strong results. Warner’s Bras recruited seven Vine influencers including Cignoli for its #getcomfortable campaign and garnered 500,000 likes, comments and re-Vines,
For another example, Lyfe Kitchen was able to expand its grocer line from 400 to 1,400 stores within months because of its influencer marketing campaign, says Forbes. Lyfe Kitchen’s marketing company, New York-based DKC, tapped into influential moms and top people in sports, fitness and fashion to boost the popularity of their products and increase demand.
As Onalytica says:
Influencer marketing is more cost-effective than paid advertising and leads to more credible brand recommendations, which 92% of consumers are more likely to trust. For these reasons influencer marketing has arguably become the most effective, long term marketing strategy.
Building the perfect marketing strategy
Remember, also, that the right influencer (not solely a big name) with the right combo of style and messaging can have the most impact. Lowe’s Fix in Six campaign didn’t pitch products, but instead offered home improvement or fix-it solutions in the space of its six-second Vine videos – quick, engaging, stylized and most of all, useful.
And understand that each influencer within a broad certain topic area may be focused on reaching a specific type of sub-audience, says Convince and Convert. You want the influencer who is most relevant to your messaging. Don’t assume that a fashion blogger reaches everyone interested in fashion, but may be targeted to a specific age group, style preference or practical need (i.e. teen fashion, budget fashion, high-end professional fashion, maternity fashion, etc.).
Clearly, you don’t want influencers simply because they’re influencers – you want the ones who are going to impact your market. Finding the influencers that will make a difference for you is key.
Qualities of a strong influencer
In its 12-month influencer engagement strategy tool, Onalytica says to seek influencers based on their role, their location and their affinity for certain products or topics.
You also want to know who their connections are. What does their network look like? Who’s connecting best to your target audiences?
Identify how they’re interacting with their followers – and each other – and in which forums. Know what their key interests are. What do they care about most? Decide to target those who are in the best position to leverage your messaging.
Onalytica has an Influencer Relationship Management software tool that simplifies the search process. It can help marketers to find key leaders such as speakers, writers and thought-leaders in the topic areas that will be most suited to their messaging. Additionally, Socedo can help you find influencers on social media who can reach your target audience. Then you can engage those influencers with the most valuable content at the right time.
The kind of interest and trust in your brand that comes from having the right influencer on board – with potentially monumental return – is an effort that’s worth devoting your time and resources.
Nikki Kallio is a former regional business magazine editor who has also worked for newspapers in Wisconsin, Maine and California. She’s now an independent writer, editor and social media manager. She also teaches writing for The Mill: A Place for Writers and Wide Open Writing, an annual retreat in Tuscany. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @NikkiKallio.