What is Influencer Marketing? In essence, it is marketing using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in a way that is aimed at building a positive reputation, increasing brand awareness, driving sales and garnering new customers. As a growing trend, companies are beginning to recognize the benefits of hiring influencers as part of their customer relations management strategy. The difference between an ordinary consumer and an influencer, though, is the fact that the influencer is not easily influenced by the average consumer. Instead, this “influencers” are those individuals and organizations that have established themselves to be influential in their particular niche market.
What is Influencer Marketing? Influencer Marketing, then, is simply a type of online marketing using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in order to build a positive reputation, increase brand awareness, drive sales and garner new customers. It can also involve endorsements by popular celebrities, a well-timed promotional campaign or the integration of highly ranked sites within the major search engines. All of these things, and more, contribute towards making an influencer one of the most powerful promotional agents available today.
So what is influencer marketing? The answer is simple: marketing through influencers is one of the most powerful ways to reach your audience, as they tend to form their own opinions about products and brands. In other words, the audience that they follow, and therefore listen to and engage with on a regular basis, are the ones that you want to target. This is what makes influencer marketing so effective for any business looking to generate growth, increase visibility and, ultimately, profit.
So, what is influencer marketing exactly? A good place to start is with an understanding of the overall platform on which influencers operate. This can be found through various channels, including social media, video marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). There is a strong connection between SEO and influencer marketing as many popular online brands have been known to heavily rely on the recommendations of their most influential fans. For example, both YouTube and Facebook allow users to rate videos and recommend them to other users. The resulting “trend” of popular content is what drives SEO and social media traffic.
The next step is to understand the different types of influencers available. As previously stated, YouTube is an extremely popular platform for content and information distribution, providing opportunities for business owners to promote themselves and their brands via this medium. Users can leave comments, create videos featuring their experience with a particular brand and/or product and share the videos with the rest of the world. Influencers will then either go on to endorse the product or site being promoted via their influence, or they will downplay the product’s appeal. This latter scenario is typically used in conjunction with an offline marketing campaign.
A relatively new platform that has recently begun to develop and embrace influencer marketing is Twitter. Twitter has experienced rapid growth in terms of active users and in terms of engagement. Businesses who are looking to target a specific audience but cannot yet afford the advertising budget can still use this micro-blogging platform as an avenue for getting closer to followers and potential customers. A great example of how companies can make the most of Twitter is by getting ahead of the competition by hiring top influencers and promoting their tweets using various online tools. Companies may also choose to launch an official application and encourage others to follow using it, though this will take time and may not necessarily gain a large amount of followers or customers.
Another way for businesses to get ahead of the game and benefit from influencer marketing is to find a way to get followers who already know about the product or service. Many high profile celebrities are now using social media marketing to sell their wares. In fact, Taco Bell released a commercial earlier this year that featured a man walking up to a woman, placing the taco shell in his mouth, and then asking her how she like it. He then placed the taco shell on his tongue before sliding it down his throat. In addition to making the woman look and feel great, the spot was clever for Taco Bell’s use of using social media marketing to sell its product.
It takes time for influencers to build large followings or to gain a reputation. Those who manage to create content that captivates many readers and encourages others to follow can reap tremendous rewards with the increased sales revenue. Whether it is using pay per click or traditional search engine optimization techniques, companies who want to capitalize on influencer marketing should not wait for followers to arrive; rather, they should find a way to attract those types of customers right away.