Published on April 17th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
Why Social Media Influencers Are Valuable
Marketing data is constantly in a state of flux, but one number that always remains strong is the effectiveness of word-of-mouth advertising. Anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of purchasing decisions come via this age-old marketing tool. The problem is figuring out how to harness the ever-elusive power of promotion via word-of-mouth channels. Fortunately, the advent of the social media era has created an effective way to do exactly that via social media influencers.
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Why Influencers Are Important
An influencer is a person who has thousands or even millions of followers who are loyal to them and listen to their opinions and suggestions. The concept of a social media influencer takes the power of a good word-of-mouth testimonial and amplifies it significantly.
Why Influencers Are Influential in the First Place
Social media has created the perfect platform for everyone to gravitate towards the people they relate to the most. This allows them to find popular voices that speak in their jargon, share their interests, and whom they can use to vicariously experience and learn about new trends and products. And it’s that last point that’s the most valuable to marketers in every space.
For example, there are already numerous influencers within the tech industry. Take Joanna Stern, who works as a columnist at the Wall Street Journal. Stern runs a Youtube channel with over a million followers called “In the Elevator” where she gets up close and personal with bigwig names in the tech world. Karl Conrad is another influencer who shares tech reviews and breakdowns of various gadgets and gizmos with his half a million subscribers. The point is, this isn’t an anomaly. Each and every niche market is going to have its own specific lineup of influencers.
Part of what makes social media influencers so successful is that they are seen as “real people.” An influencer isn’t simply a celebrity or an athlete. Rather, true influencers garner audiences built on authenticity, knowledge, and trust between themselves and their followers.
Why Influencers Are Good Marketing Options
There are several reasons why influencers tend to be effective for businesses looking to promote their products and services. For one thing, they’re often a much more affordable choice than other marketing strategies like television spots or billboard campaigns. Many of these more traditional options can be astronomically expensive. Not so with influencers. While those with larger audiences may charge higher prices for promotional campaigns, it isn’t difficult to find influencers with a solid outreach and reasonable prices, no matter what your budget.
In fact, as the social media marketing landscape has slowly refined itself over the years, the role of the “micro-influencer” has become as robust as those with larger audiences. Micro-Influencers typically have under 7,000 followers. This smaller sample of any given market may limit their reach, but it also indicates a much closer relationship with their followers, which, in turn, can lead to better responses to promotions.
Another invaluable way that influencers great and small can impact your marketing strategy is by increasing a company’s influence via its email list. In an era where controlling your own email list is vital — especially with marketing platforms like Facebook and Google always changing their rules and regulations — growing your email list via influencer marketing efforts is the definition of killing two birds with one stone.
If you’re going to invest the time and effort in building a relationship with an influencer’s audience, it’s always a good idea to try to harvest as many emails as you can for your own list while you have their audience’s attention. Of course, it goes without saying that this should be done in an above-board manner, such as having the influencer host a giveaway of your product with an email opt-in form in order to enter.
How to Find Influencers
There are many different social media metrics that can help measure things like growing your network, creating a buzz, driving traffic to your site, and directly communicating with customers. When it comes to influencer marketing in particular, though, it’s also important to determine specific key performance indicators (KPIs) for your specific enterprise that can help with finding influencers who may want to work with you.
It can be helpful to use things like Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, and Facebook Insights to find what your own social media audience is interested in and what they’re talking about. As you identify KPIs within your own audience, you can begin to look for influencers that share the same interests.
Sites like BuzzSumo, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all popular ways to identify top influencers in your field. You can read more about finding influencers on each of these sites here. Another way to streamline this effort is to use sites like Influence.co that help connect influencers with businesses.
Once you’ve found potential influencers, you need to reach out and start creating relationships. It’s important to approach this step with genuineness and respect, as you want to create a favorable impression with a person who is likely to be talking about your company before long.
If you find an influencer is a good fit for your brand and marketing strategy, it’s time to start looking for ways to collaborate. For example, offer to partner up on a promotion where they’ll get a percentage of each sale. Consider sponsoring their site, podcast, or an event they’re hosting. You can even try to get on a live stream with them, bringing your own professional opinion right in front of their audience in an organic, natural setting.
Creating a Social Media Influencer Network
Finally, once you begin creating relationships with influencers, you’re going to need a way to keep track of them all. Particularly with the micro-influencer model, it’s critical that you find ways to organize your own network.
There are many tools that can help with this. For example, Asana or Trello can be excellent ways to form an inclusive network of influencers where you can easily communicate with everyone involved in your marketing efforts. Once you have an influencer network up and running, it’s much easier to both maintain and organize your influencer marketing strategy over the long-run.
Social media influencers come with varying audiences and costs, but regardless of the specifics, there’s little doubt that their role in the marketing world will continue to be invaluable for years to come. They possess the loyalty and trust of their followers and provide a uniquely effective path to reach customers in the modern marketing era.