Influencer marketing might sound a bit like a trendy new buzzword, but the fact is it might just be the marketing technique of the 21st century. This is especially likely in light of the fact that people are becoming less trustful of brands, and a little weary of traditional advertising. This means they are tending to ignore the ‘hype’ that can be a feature of many marketing and advertising campaigns.
So just what is influencer marketing?
This marketing technique involves utilising the impact that influential people have on a target market, through their acts of ‘spreading the word’ to their followers about a brand or product. These ‘influencers’ may be online bloggers with a large following, or they might be those who have a strong influence and audience on social media, and so on. In this sense, in marketing campaigns of the future, it may become not only about what is said, but also about who said it.
Why go this route?
Simply put – it is working better than more traditional forms of marketing. Research indicates that people are becoming more trusting of word-of-mouth about a brand than about elaborate TV ads, particularly when it comes from people they know. They are also more likely to be influenced by consumer opinions or testimonials posted online, or by written editorial content about a brand.
So in effect, people are more influenced by first hand information from a trusted source than direct advertising spiels. In a sense this is not new. The ‘multistep flow model’ – developed as a result of a 1940s study – asserts that people are generally under the influence of what is known as ‘opinion leaders’. However, the difference today of course is the internet – more and more people are participating in social sites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and others.
What are the current trends and opportunities?
Google is leading the way in influencer marketing. Its new marketing model will be geared more around influencers than keywords. This means brand owners will be more able to target people of influence through the Google+ site, offering them a share of revenue for promoting their brand or product.
While online influencer marketing has happened in the past it has been a relatively low-key practice. The changes by Google mean that it is likely to be more visible and more of a key factor to success than before. This could prove to be a fantastic opportunity for those willing to tap into this resource and manage it wisely.
Preparing for the future
However it’s done, the principles of marketing always remain the same – know your target market / audience well, and provide the best service and quality you can. Start from here, and the next steps to take will be clearer.
When it comes to the modern world of course, the ability to navigate the online sphere wisely is paramount if you want to succeed in widening your circle of influence.
The world of social media can be particularly beneficial for this – people often give away a lot of information about themselves on Facebook and other sites, without you even needing to ask! By accessing their social profiles you are afforded with a great opportunity to track your current or potential customers’ online behaviour – including their ‘likes’, preferences, tastes, interests, and so forth.
It’s also important to be savvy in your choice of whose influence you utilise, to build solid relationships with your influencers, and to be willing to take risks and create solutions that are a little ‘outside the square’ – in other words, don’t be afraid to be a bit creative and adventurous!
Lastly, producing quality website content remains as important as ever! Influencers are not going to promote your brand if your content is poor. This applies whether you produce your own content, or your influencer does it. So to be positively influential, and always avoid any temptation to skimp on the quality of your website content.