Once upon a time, marketing departments engaged in a titanic struggle to influence their target audiences. Today, however, members of those target audiences are influencing each other — and the results can pay enormous dividends for your online marketing. Let’s examine the amazing phenomenon known as influencer marketing, with an eye toward how you can use it to influence your business’s success.
Native Advertising at Its Most Organic
Influencer marketing springs from the huge impact of social media on today’s online world. Among the countless individuals posting their reviews, likes, questions and answers concerning a wide range of products and services, a few busy beavers naturally attract more attention by establishing themselves as “urban experts.” They build immense followings on their social media channel of choice, and their opinion sways many others — and those, in turn, sway still others.
This is the most organic form of native advertising you can imagine, with purely contextual promotions stemming from people’s queries and conversations. Why should that matter to you? Because native advertising is known to generate a brand lift of 82 percent, with a 53 percent higher purchasing intent compared to traditional banner advertising.
All those posts and re-posts about your brand do more than merely influence your prospective buyers who use social media; they also end up influencing Google and other search engines in your favor. For one thing, all those mentions boost your off-page SEO, those processes that occur outside the perimeter of a website to raise that site’s search ranking. Traditionally web designers relied on link building to achieve this effect, but today a large chunk of it can come from social shares.
But with influencer marketing, the benefits to your SEO occur as much from who mentions you as from how many mentions you receive. The biggest social media mavens, or key influencers, carry enormous weight and authority not only with their adoring fans, but also in their own right. Positive mentions and shares from these folks will really help your organic SEO sizzle.
A Conversation With Your Customers
Social media gives brands and consumers an unprecedented freedom to communicate on a peer-to-peer level. Today’s customers don’t want a sales pitch; they want a conversation. They want to feel that their opinion matters, and that you’re invested in their satisfaction on a personal level. They also take note when their key influencers ally themselves with specific brands — and that’s a golden opportunity for you.
Some brands have actually entered into strategic partnerships with key influencers, from paid promotions to co-branded products. At the same time, direct interactions with consumers over major social media channels can keep those all-important shares and mentions bubbling from the bottom up. Best of all, you can use the most positive buzz from these interactions in your own marketing campaigns, building even stronger ties to your target audience while boosting your credibility.
An Unbeatable Bargain (for Now)
When you consider how powerful influencer marketing has already become — and how much more power it should continue to amass — the fact that it’s also extremely cost effective compared to traditional marketing methods is an unbelievable icing on the cake. Influencer campaigns can be had for a relative song at the moment because so few brands have actually taken advantage of this form of marketing. This has the effect of keeping the price of influencer marketing unnaturally low, a situation known as an arbitrage.
But don’t expect this idyllic state to last much longer. As the tremendous potential of influencer marketing becomes widely known, a “gold rush” will inevitably take place, and prices will shoot up. The early adopters will realize the best value from this form of marketing — so if you’re going to get on board, do it now!
How do you get started with influencer marketing? Try the following steps:
Ask them for input. Invite key influencers to write a guest post on your official blog, or post a video to your official YouTube account. They’ll have made the big time — and take you along with them!
Quote them. If your key influencers have said something earth-shatteringly awesome about your brand, quote excerpts from it on your website. Guess where they’ll send their adoring crowd!
Influencer marketing represents a new frontier, but one that’s poised to become the central pillar of modern online branding and marketing campaigns. So get social, and work with those key influencers to do some influencing where it counts most for your company’s revenue. If you can’t carry the social and SEO burdens on your own, check out our blog article on the benefits of outsourcing them.