Can you put a price on wisdom and experience?
According to a Nielsen survey 70 per cent of customers trust opinions posted online about products and services.
These opinions are everywhere – on forums, social media, blogs and other networks. Think about it… if you’re in the holiday trade and Richard Branson tweets about the state of the airline business, you’re going to sit up and pay attention.
Welcome to the world of influencer marketing, one of the most important recent strategies in the world of social media marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing can be an incredible catalyst for a brand trying to get its story out to the wider world.
As an example let’s consider Richard Branson and the travel trade again. Branson, thanks to Virgin’s deviation into the airline business, is regarded as a beacon of creative and original thought in the industry.
Say he were to call in to a small independent travel agent one day and mention them on his Twitter and Facebook feeds in a positive manner, highlighting their fantastic customer service and welcoming atmosphere.
It would be an instant spotlight on the brand as Branson’s friends, followers and connected industry peers follow up his praise to find out more about this small place that, of all people, Richard Branson found so remarkable.
The theory behind influencer marketing is truly fascinating, but how many people would be lucky enough to have a global powerhouse visit their business and give them the social thumbs-up?
The power of influencer relationships
The advances of social networking though has meant that a number of businesspeople across an enormous range of industries have appeared online and built up their reputations as powerful influencers.
It’s your job to cancel out the noise, target the right people and build relationships that can truly benefit your brand in the long-term.
Understand your audience to understand your influencers
We’ve previously talked about how important your Unique Selling Point (USP) is to creating a successful online brand and cultivating a key audience of the right customers.
If you’re still working on that then you should already have in your head a list of your target market’s likes, its dislikes and what its core interests are. That’s why these people visit your site and shop with your brand, after all…
Say you sell DVDs and movies. Your influencers, therefore, will likely be people connected to the movie industry. Actors, people working at publishing houses, directors local and international, movie marketing professionals – the list of potential influencers can be endless.
Step 1: Where are they?
Take a good look around social networks and discover your influencers. Where are they most active, and have you got a profile on that same network to a standard that they’d consider talking with you should you engage them?
Step 2: Attract their attention
Influencers aren’t going to know you exist if you don’t communicate with them and let them know what you’re all about!
Discuss relevant topics with them. Reply to their tweets and Facebook posts, and contribute to the conversation. Raise interesting industry issues with them and ask for their opinion. Debate with them and build a positive relationship.
Step 3: Maintaining the relationship
It’s a fine art, though. Don’t be too persistent. They’re busy people, don’t forget, and may not appreciate endless tweets about what you perceive to be the next best thing in retail, sports marketing or otherwise.
If they ask about your brand, be honest and transparent. Talk about why you’ve chosen them to engage with, how much you respect them, what you look to get out of talking and debating with them, and highlighting the value their opinions bring to your industry.
The benefits of influencer insight
Connecting with the right influencers and building a positive relationship can not only help your brand, it can also help with your personal evolution as a key influencer in your industry.
Word-of-mouth marketing, after all, is expected to generate up to $5.6billion in the U.S. alone according to studies. Similar studies also show that 90 per cent of people will trust and value a personal recommendation, contrasting with 33 per cent of people that trust advertisements.
The tools of the influencer trade
Facebook accounts, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn portfolios… the amount of channels available to target the right people at the right time is as overwhelming as it is beneficial.
Klout for business especially is worth its weight in gold in discovering influencers whilst providing important social analytics to benefit businesses and their audiences.
Klout gives people a personal score out of 100 based on their industry influence, knowledge, reputation and passion, accumulating that score via signals from a number of different social networks.
Klout insists that its philosophy is all about the power of people, and not relying on content production.
To back up its claims it offers free audience insights to marketers allowing them to be proactive thanks to its weekly reports, influencer audience insights, the topics they talk and care about, their networks and much more besides.
You should also try out Followerwonk to dig deeper into Twitter. This great tool helps you to find and connect with influencers within your niche. Who are your followers? Where are they located? When do they tweet?
Yammer the message home
Klout has also recently partnered with influence measurement metric Yammer, which is used by more than 85 per cent of organisations in the Fortune 500 family.
If nothing else the partnership shows how much the industry of identifying influencers for marketers is growing, and how important online marketers are judging its data to be when they construct creative brand campaigns.
But, like the philosophy of social media itself, anyone anywhere can work to connect with influencers to try and start a simple conversation with people that matter to them from anywhere in the world.
All they have to do is look hard and find them!
To find out more about influencer marketing and how to reach out to top industry professionals in your area contact Webpresence today and speak to our team! Or, if you liked this post please ‘Click To Tweet‘ and share it with your followers.