Why Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing involves working with influencers on social media to promote our products or services. Essentially, we can find an influencer, someone who has the power to affect customer purchase decisions, with a large following of our ideal customers and pay them to market our brand to their followers. But why should we pay someone on social media who isn’t a marketing expert to market our brand?
It Increases Trust
Influencer marketing has numerous benefits. One of them is that our marketing efforts come from a person our customers trust. Rather than hearing us talk about our own products, customers can hear someone in their own social group recommend our products to them. In fact, 63% of consumers trust influencer messages more than brand messages (Source: convinceandconvert.com).
“[Influencer marketing] is another individual advocating your brand,” Gordon said. “When you’ve got another individual that is independent but selling your story in a way that is authentic, then that can be phenomenally impactful.”
It Expands Our Reach
Influencer marketing can also help us reach a new, wider audience and market. When we partner with an influencer, we gain reach to all of their followers. This means that thousands of potential customers that have never heard of our brand, are suddenly hearing about us from a trusted source.
“I’ve countless examples of where brands have found brand new audiences, purely and simply because of an influencer marketing campaign,” Gordon said.
It Gives Us Product Research Insight
Another benefit of influencer marketing is that it gives us real insight and product research. There was an agency with a Brazilian branch that teamed up with influencers to help them design a new product. They flew a handful of influencers to their retreat in Brazil and for three or four days, they had these influencers connect with their audiences to gain real intel and feedback on the products they were creating. This suddenly means there are thousands of people involved in the entire process of building this brand.
I often say that we can’t build a product and then try to find an audience for it; we need to first find an audience and then build a product for them. This is a great example of how influencer marketing can help us with that. If we get customer feedback and insights during the entire process, we will be much more likely to create a product our customers love.
“When his brand then came to be launched, you can imagine the impact,” Gordon said. “All of those . . . consumers felt they’ve been involved in the process from the very conception right through to the final product delivery.”
The 3 Secrets of Influencer Marketing
So, how can we implement influencer marketing? Here are three secrets of influencer marketing Gordon shared:
We have to be authentic, the influencer has to be authentic, and their followers have to be authentic.
Can we find an influencer who actually loves our brand and uses our products? When we find an influencer who already loves our brand, it will be much easier for them to share honest opinions our customers believe. If they haven’t used our product before, the marketing effort will feel scripted and fake. Sometimes, even the negative comments, if paired with more positive comments, can help us as it builds trust.
For Gordon’s book launch of Influencer Marketing Strategy he decided to post about it on LinkedIn. He had over 45 people that contributed to the interviews in his book and he tagged them in his LinkedIn post with a personal picture. He used this post not only to help raise awareness about his book, but to also show recognition and thanks. Even though the post was a promotion, it didn’t feel like it because it was real and authentic.
He also created posts about his journey with writing the book: the good and the bad. He ended up having over 16,000 views and 145 comments. “The takeaway there was, be authentic,” Gordon said. “Share some ups and downs.”
In our posts and marketing campaigns with our influencers, we should have this same authenticy Gordon had in his book launch. It’s okay to share some downsides of our products, and we should look for ways we can create a promotional campaign without it feeling like one at all.
We should also take the time to make sure the influencer’s followers are authentic. We don’t want to partner with an influencer who has bought their followers as this likely means that many of their followers don’t trust them or value their opinion. We should try to find an influencer who interacts with their followers and has high engagement levels. This will be a key indicator to their level of authenticity.
Do Your Research
When choosing an influencer to work with, we have to do our research. We need to make sure we aren’t just finding any influencer, but an influencer who will be right for our brand.
Brave Bison, a global social media and PR agency, ran a campaign with the Internet Watch Foundation. It was going to be a very sensitive campaign so they had to make sure they reached the right type of influencer. They decided to tackle the issue with comedy and reached out to two influencers they believed were right for the job. One of the influencers was an Arsenal Football player.
In the first piece of content, they had the football player wear the jersey of his team’s biggest rival. In another piece of content, the football player was at the gym lifting weights, but in the mirror you could see that he had two people helping hold the weight. Then, 24 hours later, they shared another post saying something like, “You probably wondered why these posts didn’t look quite right… If you see indecent images online that just don’t look right, please refer them to the Internet Watch Foundation.”
This campaign ended up having phenomenal results with millions of views and much higher engagement rates than other campaigns. This is largely because the company found the right influencers to work with. They did their research.
“Do your research if you’re looking around trying to find influences,” Gordon said. “You want to make sure that those influencers really understand and feel passionately about the cause, because that content will only work well if those guys were on board. . . . With influencer marketing, research, research, research before doing anything else.”
We should also do research to find the geolocation of influencers to determine who they are really going to reach. Maybe our target audience is largely American females, but the influencer we are looking at has 65% male followers and only 30% of followers in America. If this were the case, this likely wouldn’t be the right influencer to work with, no matter how many followers they had.
In addition to researching influencers, we can also research our competitors. What are they doing? How are they working with influencers? What works and what doesn’t?
“Keep an eye on your examples and your competitors,” Gordon said. “What are they doing? Are there any tricks? Because if they’re speaking to the same audience, there could be some things that they’re doing, you’re missing. Yes, you want to be your own self, but you don’t want to miss a trick as well.”
We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We don’t have to start everything from scratch when we start something new. We can take a look at what the leaders in the space have done and then figure out how we can innovate it and apply it uniquely to us.
Educate, Entertain, or Inspire
What difference are we making to our audience? “Educate somebody, inspire somebody, or entertain them. Those are the three things I often talk about,” Gordon said. When creating an influencer marketing campaign, we have to be aware of what value we are giving to our customers with it.
As we talk about in passion marketing, people are less interested in sheer product advertising. It is more about cause advertising. We have to find what they are passionate about and leverage that in our marketing efforts.
“I always think passion is linked to storytelling, “Gordon said. “The best performing posts on social media are the human interest elements, the ones that are a bit heartfelt. We react a whole lot more to emotion than just promotional broadcasts. We don’t want this sort of over-selfie, over-curated photoshopped imagery. What we want to know is what’s at the heart of that individual, that person, that brand?”
Once we know who our ideal customers are and know the purpose of our campaigns, we will find we have much more success. Once we know our purpose and our goals, it will also be much easier to determine the effectiveness of each campaign.
“A failed influencer marketing campaign is when there aren’t any goals set, there aren’t any brand guidelines or brief contracts in place, [and] there isn’t real alignment in the influencer or in the brand,” Gordon said.
Thank you so much Gordon for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- Influencer marketing can increase customer trust, expand our reach, and help us with product research and insight.
- We should be authentic. We want to work with influencers who already love our brand and have a real, engaged following.
- Influencer marketing requires research. We should research influencers, research our competitors, and research market trends.
- We should determine the purpose of our marketing campaigns and what value we want to provide for our customers. Do we want to educate, entertain, or inspire?
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