Talking about influencers

“My personal definition on influencer marketing is having someone else tell your story for you.”

– Joe Sinkwits CEO of Intellifluence.com

What is influencer marketing?

One of the most influential forms of marketing for brands is reviews; consumers now inform their purchasing decisions based massively on reviews. As the world shifts to social media, consumers head there to help inform their purchasing decisions. People gaining huge followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other platforms have become the influencers and these are the ones who brands want to target for their influencer marketing.

First break it down into two types: earned influencer marketing and paid influencer marketing. For earned influencers, brands capitalise on customers sharing their products socially. These are natural brand advocates: people who have bought a product and are sharing how good it is or how much they like it. Paid influencer marketing, as you can guess, is paying for someone to promote your product or brand, it’s not just anyone though, someone who is relevant to you or your customer base.

Influence has become a strong buzzword in marketing, do you know who you would want to be an influencer for your brand? 

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Who are influencers in marketing?

Everyone is or can be an influencer. Instead of looking at target markets as a whole, brands target influencers instead; they are key individuals who have influence over potential customers and who are themselves potential customers. It is one of the most important tools for marketers and can come from a variety of sources.

There are 3 main types of influencer: celebrities, who hold aspiration and in general have the most followers and gain the most exposure, but they are not necessarily the most coveted for marketers; people with authority, whether that’s in professional or personal situations, from business leaders to inspiration people – they have followers who are interested in the same things, making them a valuable target market; finally customers, those already using and raving about your brand or product online and socially, or those with a keen interest in what you do.

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Joe Sinkwits CEO of Intellifluence.com and long-time principal of Digitalheretix.com spoke about influencer marketing and what he considers his ideal concept:

“If you can create some aspirational and trust influence by engaging with a minor celebrity then pair it natively with peer influence, you’ve created a compulsion loop that is extremely difficult to overcome. We want what our heroes have, but we need what our neighbours have; pair them together and the compulsion marketing becomes something that is just so powerful.”

Looking at the Costs

Companies looking to use social media influencers as native advertising need to be prepared to pay for this service. You have to decide though where this fits in within your advertising campaigns, running alongside paid social adverts or instead of. So like all marketing campaigns you need to set out your KPIs, so are you looking to target social and increase those metrics, or do you want to pull through sales? Without deciding this, not only will you not have anything to measure, but you won’t have any direction to target your influencers.

Joe Sinkwitz describes a useful funnel every company should create when trying to drive sales via social:

Social activity (eyeballs from one platform) -> landing page visits (CTR + eyeballs into your platform) -> website conversions (email signups for future funnel, direct sales, etc.).

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Where to start

Finding influencers depends a lot on what you’re looking for, what sector your brand is in and also what you want to gain from influencer marketing. Answering these questions first before you start working with influencers will help you keep your brand on track – you don’t want to jump in straight away pushing paid influencer marketing, see who is already talking about your brand and look at capitalising on this first.

It’s not just all about the number of followers a particular person has. Someone could have thousands of followers but very little interaction from those who follow them. You can check to see how many posts get likes or shares and when approaching influencers ensure you ask for an overview of their social analytics. You want the people who interact with your influencer and their followers to be your target market as this will make conversions much more likely.

Analyse market segments, demographics, common interests and self-image of influencers, look out for anything negative which may have an adverse effect on your brand. Yes, influencers are human and we need their human touch to be influencers, but also you don’t want anyone who can be considered overly controversial in their opinions to the wider audience as this could have a knock on effect to your brand.

Influencer Platforms

Blogging has been an integral influencer platform for many years, whether people blogged for pleasure or for profit, it has always been one of the main places brands outreached to. However in recent years there has been a social buzz and now influencers’ reach has become more targeted on social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. As we demand information right here, right now, social is a fantastic platform to make sure your message shared by influencers is seen.

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One thing for brands to remember

Know your goals: it does seem silly to mention this as it’s one of the first things you have when undertaking your marketing, but it’s also one of the easiest thing brands can overlook as they get wrapped up in new ways to target their customers. You can work on a campaign which suits your goals, leading you to know more about your target markets and what sort of influencer you want to be working with.

For this post I spoke to Joe Sinkwitz, CEO of Intellifluence.com and long-time principal of Digitalheretix.com. He is a powerful advocate of Influencer Marketing and pretty much your go-to guy on this subject.

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