How To Use Influencer Marketing To Boost Awareness and Sales
Influencer marketing is becoming an integral part of many digital marketing campaigns. Think of it as a new way to do word of mouth marketing. You find the right influencers to create content on your social media sites, then people share it, like it and engage with it in the comments.
And when Brandon is not working behind the scenes for our clients, you’ll find him in front of the camera. He’s taking pictures or making videos for companies like Pizza Hut, Subway and Major League Baseball. They ask him to hold or talk about their product and get it in front of all of those followers I mentioned earlier.
I sat down with Brandon to pick his brain about influencer marketing. We talked about how companies use influencer marketing and why it’s so effective.
How Influencer Marketing Works
If you’re considering an influencer marketing campaign, Brandon says it’s important to understand what it means to be working with influencers.
“Influencer marketing is a paid post for a brand by a figure who has a strong social media following,” he says. “These influencers will be posting for your brand. It could be getting your brand’s message out there or trying to get leads.”
Brandon says all influencer marketing strategies are different and that social media influencers can be used in much the same way a blog post or a case study can be used—targeting people at different stages along the buyer’s journey. That’s why you’ll often hear social media influencers referred to as target influencers.
“Some companies really like that brand awareness play. They enjoy the engagement a post may bring, they like to receive the ‘likes,’ the comments and reactions,” Brandon says. “Other companies would rather track their product and then see how many sales they are getting from the post.”
Creating An Influencer Marketing Strategy
But there’s more to it than asking an influencer to hold your product, take a picture and post it.
There’s a lot to consider, so make sure you develop a strategy first. To do that, you should:
1. Identify your audience: Create a buyer persona that includes both demographics and buying habits. Once you know your audience, it will be easier to identify the top people they follow and the websites they use.
2. Define your goal: What would you like your campaign to accomplish?
- Brand awareness: If you want to generate some buzz and increase brand awareness, focus on strategies that will get your brand name mentioned and shared.
- Engagement: By implementing strategies to increase brand awareness, you will automatically increase followers and engagement and vice-versa. So these two strategies can be used interchangeably.
- Sales: Adding things like coupon codes to your posts can increase your sales and drive ROI.
3. Choose a type of influencer marketing campaign: It all depends on your strategy, but no matter which route you choose, you’ll be exposing your business to a whole new targeted audience. Here are two types of influencers to consider:
- Celebrity influencers/macro-influencers, who can range from 250,000 followers to millions of followers.
- Micro-influencer is someone who has an audience within the follower range of 2,000 to 100,000 followers.
4. Develop a strategy: Strategies to consider include:
- Gifting: Giving free products and services to an influencer in exchange for a review or mention.
- Contests and Giveaways: Run a contest and ask an influencer to share your giveaway event with their followers or readers.
- Influencer Takeover: Allow an influencer to take control of your social media accounts for a certain amount of time.
- Guest Posting: Creating and contributing content for an influencer’s blog.
- Sponsored Content: Paying for your brand to be featured on an influencer’s blog or social channel. You may or may not create the content for the post.
- Co-Creating Content: Partner with an influencer and create content that you can feature on your website, their website or a third-party website.
- Social Media Mentions: Your social media influencer marketing strategy can include a personality mentioning your brand, sharing your content or posting about you.
- Affiliates: Providing a unique code that gives influencers a percentage of each sale they drive.
- Discount Codes: Giving an influencer a unique discount code for your product or service that they can promote and offer to their audience.
- Brand Ambassadors: Form relationships with loyal brand fans and have them mention or promote your brand, products and services in exchange for exclusive offers, free products or being featured by your brand.
- Add a link: You can actually put the link in the post on Facebook. With Instagram, you can have swipe-ups within your Instagram stories that take people right to your product.
Getting a Return on Your Influencer Marketing Investment
A Tomoson study found influencer marketing is yielding a $6.50 return on investment for every dollar spent. Influencer marketing and email tied for first place when marketers were asked for their most cost-effective online customer-acquisition channel, narrowly beating organic search.
If you’re partnering with a marketing agency to help you put together your content marketing plan, a solid social media strategy will be vital. And within your social media strategy, Brandon says including influencer marketing has become a no-brainer.
“Influencer marketing is so effective because audiences would rather see posts by actual people, rather than brands. It’s a trust factor. It makes it more authentic.”
Influencer marketing is here to stay. No matter what industry you operate in, leveraging industry influencers can help you meet your marketing goals. They can impact your campaigns in many ways — from branding to lead generation to SEO.
If you’re considering adding influencers to your digital marketing strategy, let us know. We’d be happy to help you put together a plan that works for you. You can also use the tips and tools in this post to help you put together your own strategy, or check out some of our customized digital content ideas we developed for some of our clients.