Uggh. No! Busting Myths of Influencer Marketing
When you hear the word "influencer," what comes to mind? Maybe it's a celebrity seen on Instagram flaunting the newest gadget or product. Or perhaps to you, an influencer isn't someone who is showing off a product to their followers but rather someone who is influencing a particular lifestyle. But what if we said that a so-called influencer could be a marketing strategy proven to be effective, whether celebrity or not, regardless of how many followers they have?
A Forbes article written by Gerardo A. Dada sums up what an influencer is very well. It reads,
The act of influencing requires a specific result: a change in thinking or behavior. An influencer, therefore, has the power to influence the perception of others or gets them to do something different.
It's pretty clear why some savvy marketers would use the opportunity to leverage an influencer to achieve much greater reach with the hopes of increasing sales.
There are many misconceptions surrounding just the topic of "influencer." Marketers from nearly all industries have used influencers for much longer than you may think. Still, finding some common myths synonymous with this marketing strategy is also surprising.
Influencers Can Only be Celebrities
Influencers can be nearly anyone, not just celebrities. Of course, we've all seen the power of celebrities as influencers. For example, a brand such as Nike is infamous for using high-performing athletes like golfer Tiger Woods to sell their activewear, whether by appearing in a commercial or posting pictures wearing gear on Instagram. But there are countless under-the-radar influencers you probably haven't heard of and maybe never will. The measure of an influencer is determined by having an engaged audience interested in knowing what they have to say.
An Influencer's Audience Has to be Large
The power of an influencer doesn't necessarily come from the number of "followers" they have but rather from who their audience is. Brand influencers must make sense of their business and the influencers themselves. To find someone who will positively impact your business, consider several criteria: location, age, demographic, etc. You should also be aware of the type of content they already have on their social media platforms and see if you believe there's an opportunity for you to fit in. As ever, it's about quality vs. quantity.
Influencers Can Only Benefit B2C Companies
People often think that brands selling directly to consumers are the only kinds of businesses that can benefit from influencers. However, B2B businesses can benefit just as much; it's just that the way they do it that's different. The website InfluencerDB gives a great example of a B2B company using an influencer. It's a software company, Adobe Photoshop, in which they had professional photographers post photos on their Instagram account where they had used the software to edit their photos. This shows that both types of businesses have the opportunity to influence; it's just a matter of how you're doing it and whom you are looking to influence - it's all about the target audience.
You may think that you now understand a marketing influencer better, but you're wondering how it fits into inbound marketing. These two strategies can work in unison, and you may be surprised to know they have common underlying characteristics.
As discussed in inbound marketing or content marketing, this strategy is about attracting potential consumers by drawing them in with engaging content. Not only is the goal to attract individuals who may be interested in what you offer but the content is also designed to keep them coming back for more. Much of influencer marketing also revolves around creating content. Influencers haven't built their audience by posting about products and hoping people buy. Most of the time, they started on their platforms by simply sharing their lives in some capacity and not expecting compensation or making a living out of their online presence. Influencers have built their following very organic way simply by creating content that keeps their readers and viewers returning.
Because influencers don't appear to build their following premeditatedly, so they've created great credibility. Just as in the case of inbound marketing, influencers continually create content they believe in and know will appeal to their followers. Whether posting pictures or creating videos, you'll often find their content varies to be innovative and appealing to how their audience wants to receive information from them. It's safe to say they know their audience and what appeals to them. Because of this, influencers should want to promote your business not because they're motivated to make money but because they simply like what you have to offer and believe that to be true of their followers.
In this way, influencer marketing can garner a bigger audience for your business. It's not as easy as selecting an influencer who has a large following; it's about making sure that the influencer is aligned well with what you have to offer them and their audience. A key takeaway should be that influencer marketing can work in unison with your inbound efforts to attract, engage, and delight your consumers. Engagement and credibility can be cornerstones of your marketing strategy that makes for lasting relationships with your consumers.