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Influencer Marketing 101

By | Instagram, Social Media
As business owners, we often get so caught up in the semantics of our brand’s propaganda that we can easily forget our demographic and the real people we’re speaking to. Big brands have been using a form of marketing called “influencer marketing” for years. Over the years, influencer marketing has become more effective, and for the most part, affordable. Do not overlook this form of marketing. It’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.
By now, you’ve most likely heard the marketing term, “influencer marketing.” If you haven’t, don’t worry – you’re in the right place. Let’s start with the foundational question of, “What is influencer marketing?”
At its core, influencer marketing connects brands to their specific audience through an individual who has already created a network of followers. These followers consistently engage the influencer and when prompted, are more likely to participate, purchase or share anything relevant the influencer puts in front of them. Keep in mind that this form of marketing directly ties into content marketing and social media marketing. In short, this form of marketing uses key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market.
Influencer marketing is an art form on its own. The general build-out goes like this:
1.Identify the key product and brand influencers in your market or a market you wish to target.
2. Create your specific marketing campaign for those influencers to use.
3. Track key results of the campaign based on engagement, reach, sales and brand awareness.
Here are a few examples from socialmediaweek.org:
Lord & Taylor: Retail brand Lord & Taylor partnered with 50 influential Instagrammers to promote its new Design Lab collection. Each of these influencers posted pictures of themselves wearing the same dress. The dress sold out the following weekend.

 

lord-taylor-dress

 

Madewell: For Madewell, partnering with just five influencers on Instagram was enough to reach more than one million targeted customers. The campaign was designed to promote the anniversary of their signature tote. It also involved “regramming” the influencers’ photos and featuring them on their company blog.

 

totewell-with-madewell

 

NatureBox: In the case of NatureBox, it was blogger Joanna Goddard who played a major role in their Instagram influencer marketing campaign. NatureBox is a delivery service that specializes in healthy snacks. With just three pictures of the Goddard’s kids snacking on food from the NatureBox monthly roundup, the company gained credibility with popular mommy blogs.

naturebox-snacks

Everyone loves free advice, so here it is: Market with relevant influencers who have high engagement rates (likes, shares, ROI), rather than focusing on their reach (quantity of followers). The best way to identify these “relevant” influencers is through hard research. Identify the hashtags that your target influencers are using on Twitter and Instagram. Utilize Google Alerts; set alerts for keywords pertaining to your brand to identify people who actively write about topics in your industry. Use tools such as “Social Mention” to type in your company’s name and discover mentions on different outlets such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few.
Now that you’ve identified influencers, the easiest way to see their engagement rates is to look at their sponsored posts on their social media. Most influencers will have contact information on their Instagram or Facebook, but if they don’t, simply send them a direct message. Once you hire these influencers, provide them with the freedom to create content the way they know how, so that your brand reaches that specific market exactly how they want to be reached. All of these factors make campaigns more authentic, trustworthy and effective.