Influence marketing (sometimes called influencer marketing) is a little bit different than other marketing strategies. While most focus on reaching out to your audience directly, it employs a much more round about approach.
It boils down to establishing relationships with individuals in your field or niche that already have a strong influence over your target audience. Influence marketing targets your marketing efforts around these key individuals because of their influence over potential buyers. Whatever the key individual does and likes, buyers are more likely to do and like themselves.
Influence marketing has been around for years but few people have paid it much attention until only recently. In fact, it has experienced an explosion in popularity as of late. From the biggest brands to the smallest startup businesses, everyone seems to be thinking about influence marketing these days.
Still not convinced? Below are the top reasons why working with influential people benefits your small business.
- Creates Trust
The simple fact of the matter is that people trust influencers more than brands. Many consumers see branded content as overly sales-y and biased. It makes consumers naturally wary of your small business.
Independent reviews, on the other hand, are much more likely to be trusted. When you have an influential person backing your small business, you have ready access to their audience, an audience of people that already trust them. And that audience doesn’t see the influencer as only trying to make money off supporting your product.
In addition, a new infographic from The Shelf shows that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people over the content a company produces itself. This is true even when the consumer doesn’t know the person giving the recommendations.
- Cost Effective
Small business marketing is often expensive. Influence marketing can provide significant cost savings for your overall marketing budget.
Influence marketing allows small businesses to reach more people with less money and less time. When you do build a strong relationship with an influential person, they basically take care of your marketing duties for you. They share your company with their built-in audience and you don’t have to lift a finger.
- Reach More People
One of the hardest parts about marketing is reaching a large number of individuals at once. It is far easier to focus your marketing efforts on a small handful of people.
Influence marketing allows you to do just that while at the same time reaping the benefits of marketing to a large group. After you build a relationship with an influencer, they will then reach out and share about your brand with their own large built-in audiences.
So basically, influence marketing allows you to focus on marketing to a small number of influential individuals. These influential individuals will then market your products and brand to an extended audience.
- Increase Credibility
One of the hardest parts about running a small business is building credibility. It is often a long and arduous process that moves along at a snail’s pace.
Once again, this is right where influence marketing comes in. It works to establish brand credibility in much the same way that it helps you reach new audiences and create trust. The fact that an influential person in your field supports your brand shows your company’s credibility in itself.
And when it comes to the actual work, marketing your brand as credible to a small number of individuals (the influencers) is far easier than doing the same to a large audience. After establishing credibility with a key individual, the individual then establishes credibility for the brand by discussing the business with others. The more respected, the more of a leader, the influencer is, the more credibility they will help you build. It is a natural process.
- Complementary Marketing
The cool thing about influence marketing is that it is easy to pair with other marketing techniques. Often, the best way to market your small business is to utilize several avenues at once.
Influence marketing fits in solidly with an overall marketing plan. In fact, when it is paired with social media marketing and content marketing, it can serve to amplify these other strategies. Look at it this way. As influencers promote your brand and new customers start to visit your website and social platforms, what do you want them to see? The answer is that you want them to see valuable content that backs up what the influencer is saying about you.
What to Look for in an Influencer
One of the most important steps to embarking on an influence marketing campaign is choosing a good influencer. Though popularity is obviously important, a good influencer also needs industry relevance, quality content, and a strong personality.
When you choose an influencer with these qualities, a sort of rippling effect happens. As the influencer promotes your brand for you, the people they are promoting to also start to promote your brand. For instance, when somebody sees a social media post by an influential person about your small business, they are far more likely to share it with their friends and followers. In a sense, they become another, albeit minor, influencer.
Final Thoughts on Influence Marketing
The use of influence marketing by small and large businesses alike is growing. It has already proven to be an effective method of reaching a larger audience and building trust with the individual members of this audience.
It all harks down to the fact that people trust influencers. Whenever one of these people writes or talks about your brand, other people automatically listen. It can even help you gain the attention of other influencers in your target market.
Though influence marketing is an effective technique, it should only be one part of your marketing plan. You must pair it with social media marketing and content marketing for the best results.