As an entrepreneur, I know that you’ll agree with me that social media marketing has radically evolved and impacted every facet of our lives in the past few years. In circa 2009, it was considered to be one-arm of our marketing strategy, but now in 2016, it’s literally become the foundation of the marketing strategy for a lot of brands to get the visibility they need to grow profitably.
One of the most unprecedented and exciting effects of social media, has been the meteoric rise of content creators (bloggers and vloggers) that have created a personal brand and subsequently their own sub-culture of of engaged fans that faithfully follow everything that they say and do.
The industry has coined these content creators, Influencers.
Do you know why Influencers are so influential? It’s simple: they have fans and fans buy products.
Fans also want to feel connected to whoever is talking about a product or service and not feel like they are being sold to (even if they are).
In this day and age, fans want the human touch. They are not moved by a celebrity endorsement like they once were, and furthermore, they are not watching as many commercials since Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu hit the market.
In fact, this very concept of human touch is being embraced by much larger brands in their own brand strategy and marketing as they themselves are incorporating the use of Influencers into their overall marketing.
But, I don’t want to talk about big brands and their marketing. I want to talk about how you, as an entrepreneur or small business, can utilize Influencers to drive brand awareness and sales.
(Because at the end of the day your bottom line really does matter.)
Here are 3 Strategies for growing your brand using Influencer Marketing:
Create your own Influencer Strategy
You must first create your own Influencer strategy, starting with “what’s the point of having Influencers promoting my brand?”
This cannot be a fluff-filled answer either, you must get to the core of WHY having Influencers will push your brand forward. After all, Influencer Marketing is serious business and the mistake you don’t want to make is to come across as lackadaisical about your core objectives for this initiative.
The two other very important questions that you need to answer as you create your strategy are:
– What is the messaging that I want the Influencers to communicate about my brand?
– What type of content do I want the Influencers to use to communicate? *
Research Influencers and Create your Own List of Prospects
Remember that Influencers are your prospects that need to tie into your overall brand strategy and sales goals. Hence, they need to be vetted just like you vet your ideal clients. In my experience, Instagram is the best place to research using hashtags related to your industry.
For example, if you are a fashion designer, hashtags that you may want in your research include:
Start digging into the people and brands that are posting pictures using this hashtag, and see if they are the perfect tie into your brand.
By the way, I’m 99.9% sure that Kim Kardashian will not tie into your brand and therefore, you should not include her as a target Influencer for your brand. It’s obvious that most of those products that she promotes, she has never used a day in her life.
Here’s a secret to use in your research: Influencers tend to have contact information in their profile bio, so make a note of that information too. Also, some may even say ‘Influencer’ in their bio.
Set the Terms and Launch
Here’s where the rubber meets the road with your Influencer of choice. It’s time to set terms and come to an agreement for your partnership. Just so we are clear, there are no assumptions of your partnership allowed. It must all be on paper and signed off by both parties. As the brand, by this stage you should be aware of the payment terms of the Influencer.
Here’s what should be included in this agreement:
– What is the messaging that the Influencer will use in their content?
– What type of content will the Influencer produce?
– Where should the content be distributed?
– When should the content be published?
– Who’s providing the media that should accompany the content?
You may even want to consider if you want to review and approve content before it’s published.
Whatever your terms are, set them and don’t be presumptive and leave anything out that you think they will know or automatically do.
Now, you see that Influencer Marketing is not just for big brands like Dove and Nike to use. You can use them too, right now, as an entrepreneur and small business, and quantum leap your brand equity and awareness, and most importantly, your sales.
Because after all, it’s all about the moolah that this partnership can create for both you and the Influencer.
Is Influencer Marketing a strategy you are currently using or plan to use? Do comment and let me know.