3influencerInfluencer Marketing describes a marketing approach where a person's awareness is used to pay more attention to a product or brand. It is settled somewhere between the recommendation of a friend and classic advertising. It’s a clever strategy, because in times of ad blockers and advertising blindness, more and more potential customers trust the opinion of friends, other buyers and influencers. That’s just one reason why the majority of marketers plan to invest in at least one Influencer marketing campaign in 2017, another one is the fact that almost all of those who have used this tactic already considered it as an effective strategy (see SKII).

But what is so special about Influencer Marketing? Why does it matter and how do you not only make your own shop known, but also increase your turnover?

For a long time, large companies have been focusing on the reach and popularity of prominent persons to present a product or to strengthen their own brand. Today, however, the small and big celebrities on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Co. are more in the limelight and pleased about the new attention. While the marketing focus is moving more and more digitally, social media influencers oust the classical celebrities as communication medium. Although, Influencer Marketing is nothing really new, the novelty is that even people without a celebrity status can have a huge following on the social platforms.

Who is really watching TV advertising today? I honestly, can’t remember when was the last time I was purposely watching one.  Once the first advertising block starts, the average user switches to the smartphone and looks at what's new on Facebook or Instagram, isn’t it? Therefore, be where the attention of your customers is.

Especially when the own group of social network followers is still relatively small, it makes sense to work with influencers and to use their reach in order to become more well-known. In almost every industry - whether fashion, fitness, hospitality or technology - you can find influencers whose reach you can use for your shop. You do not have to spend millions of your marketing budget on stars, but can choose from a pool of influencers that fit to your brand.
Just be clear about who exactly you want to reach and what you want to achieve.  Best you develop a concept and make sure that:

a) The Influencer fits to your shop and your brand: Finding opinion leaders that are right for you is much more important than just working with the biggest names in your industry and paying attention to their number of followers. Of course, it can be tempting to let a famous social media star present a product, but most of the time the success is bigger if you choose a smaller influencer from your industry:  For instance, a YouTuber with 2.500 followers, who deals in his videos e.g. with topics like fish, fishing and bait, is definitely a better choice for a fishing shop and will provide more sales than a beauty vlogger with 25,000 subscribers. And since for a growing number of influencers, social media is becoming a full-time job and main source of income, you will be given access to followers built by perseverance and passion, when a blogger decides to work with you. So, treat your influencers respectfully, as they can be worth gold and create potentials.

b) The followers / fans are active - with comments and likes: Of course, there are black sheep among influencers as well and purchased followers are not a rarity. Hence, before you decide on an influencer, you should investigate how active the fans are:

  • Do shared photos or videos get Likes and comments?
  • Are the comments genuine and relevant?
  • Is the Influencer in contact with his/her fans?
  • How do the fans react to the sponsored posts?

Particularly, smaller opinion makers often have very active and passionate followers who vigorously comment and pay great attention to the subject.

c) The objective of the campaign is clear (branding, sales, etc.): Before the first picture or video is posted, you and the selected Influencer should be aware of what the goal of the advertising campaign is: Do you want to introduce and sell a product? Do you want to increase overall brand awareness? Are you organizing a raffle? Do you want more fans on your social media profiles? Address the goals with the opinion-maker and think about how these goals can be achieved together to bring the marketing campaign on the right track to increase your sales. The sponsored content must match both the influencer and the platform where it is released. To achieve this, you should trust your chosen brand ambassadors, as they know their followers best. Of course, it can’t hurt to look beyond your own nose neither, as creativity and uniqueness usually gets rewarded and increases the chance that the post goes viral.

If you find a way to market your offered products with the help of influencers in a way that your customers are enthusiastic, and do not feel advertised, you have almost won.

By Daniela La Marca