What are influencers & Where to find them?
Anyone that has been working in and around digital marketing long enough would know the industry is littered with the kind of buzzwords that would earn them a rebuke from their friends if they use them.
Huh? Human English please!
The term ‘influencers’ however, is one of those rare cases where there isn’t really a suitable alternative. Not one that gets to the point as quickly and clearly, anyway.
So as we’re stuck with this buzzword for now, let’s take a closer look at what it all means and how you can use influencer marketing to reach your target audience.
What is an Influencer?
The clue is in its name: An influencer are individuals/groups who have the ability to influence the opinions or buying decisions of your target audience, largely thanks to their social media following.
It could be a simple tweet, like on Stephen Fry did for Prostate Cancer UK:
I’ve signed up to #MenUnited because friends are #WorthFightingFor. Join me: http://t.co/44Sk9OCd0r — Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) February 4, 2015
Or a Facebook post, as when a hawker stall got mentioned by a food enthusiast such as Sidney.
Why do you need Influencers?
The premise is simple: rather than having to rely on your existing audience to promote your brand, you get access to a much larger audience via people who are already popular with your potential customers.
By engaging social media content creators that has limited reference to the brand, communication to brand’s target audience becomes less “sales”, and more conversational. After all, social media is about conversations.
But what about other ROI such as sales? I can (probably) hear you asking. Let’s have this topic discussed another day.
Who should you target?
The natural temptation is to go for people with the largest following. But as with everything in digital marketing (and in life, if you want to get philosophical about things), it’s a little more complicated than that.
Forbes came up with the following formula:
Influence = Audience Reach(# of followers)xBrand Affinity(expertise and credibility)xStrength of Relationship with Followers
All three of the above factors are clearly important, but the second one is particularly interesting.
It’s not enough for somebody to have a large number of Instagram followers, or even a large number of highly engaged Instagram followers. If that individual doesn’t have expertise and credibility that relate to your target market, they are never going to be a good choice of influencer for your business. Most likely content they create for you won’t resonate with their audience.
No follower of a beauty content creator be engaged when they see cakes on their channels.
Sure you might get some added brand awareness, but how many of those newly enlightened people are actually going to buy your products or services?
Take the fashion industry for example. Stats quoted in one of our recent round ups show that fashion bloggers have greater influence over buyers than even A-list celebrities like Taylor Swift.
I suppose the point I’m making is this: finding influencers is not just about approaching the most famous person who you think might be willing to promote your brand. Yes your boss might love you for it, but it’s not really a marketing strategy in itself.
You should choose influencers based on their ability to make your specific target audience take action that benefits your business.
Where do you find them?
This is probably where most of us struggle with. Your CEO comes to you after seeing competitors making success with influencer marketing and wants you to replicate it.
For most of us, that would mean scrambling to Google, and relevant social media channels in search of the right influencer.
Thankfully there are a number of tools out there that can help you to find relevant creators in your industry without too much difficulty or need for prior knowledge. We are proud to say we are one of those tools :)
Now that you have found your influencers, it is time to connect with them and see if they are willing to work with you to promote your work.
I’d like to continue on that but it would take up more of your time. Hence will be leaving this for another post.