Influencer marketing is an established form of social media marketing in which businesses collaborate with online influencers to market products or services. It fuses the concept of celebrity endorsement with a modern content-driven marketing campaign. Influencer marketing thereby leverages the reach, authenticity, and personality of individuals – online influencers – who have already amassed their own following in a specific niche with a specific target audience.
While online influencers can be celebrities, being famous is not a prerequisite. In fact, many influencers who have effectively built large communities to whom they promote a product or service would never even consider themselves famous in an offline setting. Online influencers are niche content creators. Some may market to a business’ ideal audience across different channels, facilitating reach across buyer personas. Examples of these platforms include: social media, blogs, columns, digital and print ads, and television.
The key to understanding influencer marketing is to understand the definition of an influencer. First, an influencer must have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, expert level of knowledge, position, or strong relationship with his or her audience. They should be genuinely influential. Second, an influencer must have a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. They need to be the go-to person to provide an answer to a question.
For example, a local band needs an influencer who loves country music, and they reach out to Jane Doe, who is “everything country music,” to help them with influencer marketing. Jane is the perfect fit because she talks non-stop online about country music and posts photos of all the country music concerts she attends. The local band engages Jane to promote one of their upcoming concerts at a local bar and asks her to invite her followers to join her at the event.
Influencers are the glue of this marketing strategy. Their voice establishes the connection between a business and the influencer’s audience. But influencer marketing entails more than finding someone with an audience and offering them money or exposure. Selecting the right influencer will allow a business to access potential customers that would otherwise have been outside of its reach.
As traditional advertising becomes less effective in attracting leads and customers, influencer marketing is quickly gaining popularity. It’s all about connections. Influencer marketing works by using proven tactics like word-of-mouth marketing and social proof. Customers trust their peers, friends, and the people they admire more than the companies selling the very products and services they buy and use. Confronted with overwhelming options on the market, consumers use social media to lean on favorite and trusted sources for advice on their purchases. Additionally, its affordability over other traditional marketing strategies makes it accessible to businesses of all sizes.
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