How Influencer Marketing Works

The world of marketing has changed dramatically. Door to door sales are almost non-existent and newspaper circulation rates are falling fast. Ask yourself, when was the last time you paid attention to a roadside billboard?

As these methods of advertising fell away, companies like Google made their billions off the back of internet-based advertising and marketing. While this is still a dominant form of advertising, apps have been developed specifically to block these types of visual intrusions.

What is a marketing team to do in a world that is rapidly changing? The answer could lie in the latest online trend: influencer marketing.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is essentially a turbo-charged, digitally based version of word-of-mouth selling. On social media channels of every type, certain users have astronomical amounts of followers. These influential users typically focus their content on a niche such as tech, business, health and wellness, nutrition, lifestyle or fashion. Marketers pay these popular social media users to post content that features their products. The posts may be explicit endorsement of the product or service, or it may be a passive placement in context.

How to choose the right influencer

Choosing the right influencer for your brand can be difficult but it is important. Understand where your demographic spends time online. Once the social media channels are identified, often marketers will simply select users that have high numbers of followers. This may be a hangover from traditional marketing strategies. While follower numbers are an important indicator, marketers must also investigate how interactive the audiences are, and if they are driven to act on a user’s recommendations. Influencer marketing trades on the social capital that well-known posters have developed over time online. Spend time looking at prospective user’s feeds to get an idea of what they stand for. If their personal brand aligns with yours and they have a proven track record of credibility and authenticity, it may be time to reach out to negotiate a product placement strategy.

The fine print of influencer marketing

Over $500 million was invested in the influencer marketing sector last year and this figure is predicted to grow. The combination of social proof, vested audiences and a circumnavigation of traditional ad-blocking software makes this method extremely tempting. As the sector matures, users are becoming aware of the role of paid product placements. In the USA, regulators demand that paid content is highlighted to users, typically using hashtags such as #sponsored or #ad. While that may seem counter-productive the declarations can reinforce an influencer’s integrity. This honesty keeps posters on the right side of the law, maintains their personal brand and highlights yours in a professional and effective way. Social media isn’t going away, and neither is influencer marketing. Investigate how it may be beneficial to your brand today.

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