Most brands understand the need for a powerful online presence in today’s fast-paced digital world. Social media has become a crucial tool for businesses to reach their target audiences, and marketing teams are forced to discover innovative strategies to stand out on these oversaturated platforms. 

In fact, marketing has shifted away from obvious, traditional promotional techniques and instead capitalised on more nuanced strategies, such as social media influencer marketing. And so should you.

In this article, we explain the rise of influencer marketing and how you can use it to benefit your business.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a hybrid of old and new marketing strategies. It takes the concept of celebrity endorsement and situates it within modern content-driven marketing campaigns. Importantly, influencer marketing does not only involve celebrities. Rather, it revolves around influencers. 

An influencer is someone who has:

  • A following with whom they engage in a distinct market niche.
  • The power to affect the purchasing decisions of their followers either because of their perceived expertise or their relationship with their audience. 

Amid huge amounts of online content, influencers create a niche for themselves, focusing on specific topics and thereby building a community. They leverage the accessibility of social media to develop personal connections with their followers and share authentic and valuable information with them as genuine consumers. 

This means that in today’s online marketing landscape:

  1. Customers increasingly seek trustworthy sources for information about products and services, and 
  2. Brands turn to influencers to reach their followers and bridge this gap between a business and its target audience. 

Successful influencer marketing, therefore, hinges on productive brand collaboration with individuals who have large social media followings and who can promote a brand’s products and services – if even simply to improve brand recognition. With time, influencers come to be perceived as brand ambassadors and help increase brand visibility and shape customers’ purchase decisions.

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The Rise of Influencer Marketing

By 2020, 93% of marketers were already implementing comprehensive influencer marketing strategies. The growing rate of influencer marketing can be attributed to people’s heightened use of social media platforms and, more specifically, the increasing amount of people turning to social media for product reviews and recommendations. As a result, brands have realised the potential of using influencers to reach their audiences. 

Consumers trust authentic, user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising, and influencer marketing has proven effective in building brand awareness, driving website traffic and increasing sales. It is no wonder that the strategy has continued to skyrocket in popularity.

How to Use Influencer Marketing

Here are some tips to ensure you are using influencer marketing to its full potential:

Identify the right influencers.

The key to an effective influencer marketing strategy is to identify influencers with a large, engaged following within your niche. Alternatively, find influencers whose values align with your brand’s. 

Tip: Do not simply look at the popularity of an influencer. Influence does not only mean popularity. Your ultimate goal is to elicit a reaction from the audience. Influencers with the most followers are not necessarily the driving influencers of a particular niche.

Set clear goals.

Before starting a partnership with an influencer, identify goals for your marketing campaign. These could vary from increasing brand awareness and boosting sales to even driving traffic to your website. To succeed, make sure your goals are specific, measurable and achievable.

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Develop strong partnerships.

When working with influencers, seek to develop mutually beneficial content that aligns with your brand while also resonating with their followers. This ensures that both parties gain from the campaign, and thus build a strong working relationship.

Being too general in your influencer marketing approach won’t benefit anybody! Each influencer and their respective niche and audience are different, so tailor your approach to every individual influencer you work with.

Track your results.

You must monitor the performance of your influencer campaign to evaluate whether or not your strategy needs to be updated. By tracking results, you will also determine if the campaign met your goals.

Measures of success in a campaign include:

  • Brand awareness: Website traffic or mentions on social media. 
  • Audience building: Followers on social media platforms.
  • Engagement: Likes, comments and shares.
  • Sales: New sales and overall return on investment.

Evaluate your data to optimise future campaigns. By tracking variables, you will be able to drive better results in your next campaign.  

Key takeaway: The right influencer collaboration can build your brand’s awareness, drive traffic to your website and increase sales. As influencer marketing continues to grow, businesses must incorporate influencer marketing strategies if they want to stay competitive in the ever-changing digital landscape.

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