What Is Influencer Marketing and Why Do You Need To Do It?

More than just a hot buzzword, influencer marketing has now become an essential aspect of branding.

But a lot of companies still view influencer marketing with a wary eye, mostly because they are not sure what it entails and how it could benefit their business.

Simply stated, influencer marketing refers to strategies in which businesses partner with established leaders in their industry who have built large followings on social media platforms and on their websites.

These influencers can be celebrities (local or otherwise) or simply experts who understand your brand vision and products, and are able to expose your business to their legion of fans.

In fact, noted marketing expert Chris Brogan ranked influencer marketing second only to word of mouth in terms of perceived value.

If you’re on the fence about influencer marketing, or you don’t fully understand the benefits it can bring to your business, here’s a quick rundown of why your company should take advantage of this growing trend.

1. Establishes Credibility With Your Targeted Consumers

Influencer marketing helps you quickly establish credibility with your targeted consumer group. This is the audience you have identified as being most likely to want your products and services, and engaging them is your primary marketing objective.

But building trust with prospective consumers can be a long slog, which is why using influencers is so effective.

Influencers have already established a reputation with the same consumer group that you have targeted, so when you form an alliance with an influencer, those consumers are far more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Now that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to create valuable content to engage that group, but it does mean that you will have an attentive audience that is ready to hear what you have to say.

2. Increases Your Social Media Value

Some of the most powerful influencers made their bones on social media, which is one of the biggest platforms where you can engage your consumers.

YouTube in particular has become a major influencer-driven platform, with hundreds of YouTube celebrities – who have gained popularity and credibility with their followers – now endorsing and advocating for products they care about and believe in.

Partnering with an influencer can significantly increase your company’s social media profile, and drive brand awareness in a way that far outstrips more traditional marketing methods.

For example, let’s say you sell makeup, and you partner with an influencer on YouTube who has one million subscribers.

How much do you think several mentions of your products on that influencer’s YouTube channel is worth to your brand?

That influencer is reaching millions of people that already trust the brands and products she advocates for, so you’ve essentially taken a shortcut to penetrating your most desired market.

3. It’s Cost Effective

Traditional marketing methods can require a significant dollar investment before you truly see ROI that justifies the expense.

But influencer marketing is a lower-cost way of acquiring prospects and converting them into long-term customers.

Influencer marketing requires less of a financial commitment than link-building, paid search, display advertising or even affiliate marketing.

That does not mean, however, that influencer marketing doesn’t require a great deal of effort, commitment and perseverance, because it does.

But the extra hours you are spending targeting the correct influencers can pay off as a multiplier for years to come, especially if your relationship with a powerful influencer continues to grow with each successful campaign.

4. Provides a Higher Number of Qualified Prospects

Let’s face it, no matter how well you’ve targeted your market, the truth is, even within that consumer group, you want to get the most qualified prospects.

When you implement influencer marketing, you are actually sub-targeting, because the prospects that your influencers attract are much more likely to not only engage with your business, but to actually purchase a product or service.

That’s because these prospects have already been primed and encouraged to do more than just “check out this new business,” but to actually go further and perform a meaningful call-to-action (CTA) such as subscribing to a newsletter, opting-in to an introductory offer, or buying your core product or service.

Choose Your Influencers Wisely

Now that you’re aware of some of the biggest benefits of implementing an influencer marketing strategy, the key is to choose your influencers wisely.

As noted marketing guru Gini Dietrich explains, “it’s important to identify influencers who are truly a good fit for your brand, not just willing to rent out their audience.”

Equally important is ensuring that you have something of value to offer the influencer, especially if your budget is limited.

For example, can you create content that is geared to an activity or cause that is important to the influencer?

And finally, respect influencers in the same way you respect your consumers, because making them feel valued can help you establish a long-term relationship that yields a substantial ROI.

If you have questions about influencer marketing or you just need marketing advice, contact us today. We can help maximize your marketing strategy, and provide you with tools to help scale your business.