There is one thing in marketing that you can count on, its change. Social media marketing is no different, in fact if anything it changes more quickly and with far more enthusiasm! The latest trend is ‘influencer marketing’ which is exactly what it says: using someone with ‘influence’ to market your products/services. But just what is an ‘influencer’ and how do you find the right one(s) for you?
Social media has created their own form of celebrities, some of whom are not unlike television’s reality stars. But the influencer your business (or nonprofit) is looking for is more than an internet sensation, you want someone who has true influence in your niche via their blog, vlog or other strong social media presence. You aren’t looking for someone with the most followers, but with the appreciable influence.
Most influencers focus on a specific area, there aren’t many generalists. That’s a good thing because its increasingly more difficult to be one, especially on social media. You are looking for the experts, the voices of an industry or product; their opinions, thoughts and other input are used by their followers to make purchase decisions.
The number one reason you want to get into social media influencer marketing are of course, the millennials. As you likely already know the millennials are the largest segment of the marketplace, outpacing the baby boomers. And the generations after them, are even more engaged in social media. They aren’t interested in being sold to or told what to buy, they want to do their own research and they trust the opinions of their peers, if they aren’t just trying to ‘sell a product’.
Influencers must have an authentic voice that shares information and advice they can relate to and depend on. These aren’t usually the celebrities they follow, though some do have an authentic voice and are influential, but more frequently experts in their
niche. This confirms the idea of authentic influencer vs. high volume of followers.
True influencers will only share their opinion of a brand if they truly believe in it. They aren’t looking for a pay-off, in fact you will often hear them saying “this product was sent to me to test by the manufacturer and it just doesn’t live up to its hype. So where do you find your social media marketing influencer who is genuine, has an authentic voice and is a reliable source?
First you must know who your target audience is, if you haven’t clearly defined that or it needs a bit more work, consider creating buyer personas. Shopify® the source for entrepreneurs, has an excellent article on the subject. Once you are very clear on who you want to influence, you can start the hunt for the right influencer.
Consider the following three factors when evaluating potential influencers:
Who is their audience, does it reflect your buyer persona?
Is the audience engaged with commentary and questions, how often is content shared by their followers (this helps spread the influencer through peer communication)
Are there any ‘red flags’ about the influencer that you feel don’t align with your mission or message? You want an influencer who positively reflects your brand image.
The right social media influencer(s) can help you get your brand in front of your chosen audience. With an impactful message in the influencer’s own voice, you can expect to see positive result and significant return on your effort.
Now get out there and find your social media marketing influencer! Read our previous blog post “Just How Much Impact do Influencers Have?” for additional insight.
About the Author Leslie Riehm is the Vice President Corporate Communications at Digital Donations, Inc. Connect with Leslie and Digital Donations on Linked-In and follow her on Twitter.