I recently went to a Digital Leadership Forum event in London, and I was pleased to hear that one of the main topics of discussion was social media influencers and influencer marketing, a powerful way to promote your brand. I don’t think I have touched upon this subject much in any of my previous columns, so I thought I’d cover it in a bit more detail, as it should be incorporated into your social media strategy. Influencer marketing should form another part of your brand messaging and content strategy, enhancing your overall brand reputation.
You may already be aware that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. People trust people, so when your audience hear good things from your customers they are far more likely to buy from you. Studies have shown that people influence 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Potential customers are much more likely to be influenced by recommendations from a person they respect and trust than ads or brands.
Today, word of mouth extends well beyond recommendations from friends and family and people now use social media as a source of recommendation. This is where ‘influencers’ come in. Influencers are people who are active on social media (this includes blogs), they can influence action and awareness around your brand. Twitter states that 49 percent of consumers make purchasing decisions from social media influencers, and 20 percent said that a Tweet from an influencer inspired them to share their own product recommendation. Nearly 40 percent of Twitter users said they had made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s Tweet.
So where do you find these influencers? It’s simple, just search for them on social media. Search for people talking about your industry, sector or service. And don’t just focus on how many followers they have. A lot of brands only target influencers based on x number of followers, but often these influencers aren’t genuinely using these brands because they want to and your consumers can often see through this. Find real people using your product or service.
An influencer will bring you their audience and network, and because of the loyalty of their audience, an influencer will help drive traffic to your website, increase your social media exposure, and help generate sales through their recommendation and experience using your product or service.
Influencers form a large part of your content strategy, providing you genuine content about your brand, boosting credibility with influencer messaging on your own channels and generating conversation around your brand with their audience.
Using social media influencers is all about building relationships with people who can build relationships for you. Whatever the size of their audience, an influencer can reach potential customer via their own networks that your brand may not be able to.