Let’s start this article with a most basic definition of influencer marketing; it is simply using people with influence to project or market a product or service. Influencer marketing involves using people who other people look up to as the models to project your services or products. This type of marketing hinges on trusting the individual’s expertise, popularity or reputation to influence the market and make it tilt favourably towards your product or service.
Influencer marketing is not exactly a new trend, it’s been around for quite a long time now. Recommendations or public patronage from known celebrities or historical figures have proved to have a significantly positive influence in brand sales.
Who is an Influencer?
An influencer is anybody or anything that is capable of influencing other people to make a choice or a decision. It could be a person, group, brand, or place; the key thing here is that the person or place has influence. Examples of influencers are celebrities, bloggers or basically anybody who has garnered a significantly large following on any social media platform with their online activity.
This does not mean any Popular person qualifies.
Picking an influencer for your business is a feat that requires tact and a strategy. Not just any popular person qualifies to be an influencer. There are certain qualities that should be present in a person to make him or her a suitable influencer for your brand.
So which influencers should you use?
You should use the influencers necessary to your niche or business. There are quite a few parameters you can use to judge how suitable an influencer will be for your brand.
- Consider who their audience is : The goal of using an influencer is to make your marketing more targeted and personal. This means for your influencer marketing strategy to be effective; first you need to map out who exactly your target audience is, and then second you need to find who your target audience follows. In essence what you should be doing is using the influencer whose following stems from your target audience. For example if your product is makeup; your target audience are young women between the ages of 18 – 40. What you would need to do is to find the influencer who is majorly followed by young women between the ages of 18-40. Map out your target audience, and then find the influencer they pay attention to. Then use that influencer to project your product or service to them. This strategy will ensure that your brand is being projected to not just anybody, but people who will actually show interest and take action.
- Consider the size of their audience : The size of the influencers audience is also really important. As a matter of fact, the audience determines whether or not a person is even qualified to be an influencer. The aim of influencer marketing is not just to project your brand to the right audience, but also to as many people as possible. This means an influencer should have a following that ranges at hundreds of thousands and not just thousands.
- Consider how active the audience is : This is to guard against fake accounts with followers that have been bought. The emphasis is not just having a mass of followers, it is also on how active those followers are. Their followers should be actively engaged. You can gauge their level of engagement with metrics like likes, comments, shares, tags, retweeting etc.
- Consider the kind of content they put out : The kind of content they put out will determine if they will be a good ambassador of your brand. Check out the kind of messages they seem to be trying to get out. Check out how people respond to the messages. Check out the ideologies and trends they align themselves with and see if it is compatible with the image your brand projects.
The Downsides of Influencer Marketing
As great a marketing strategy influencer marketing is; there are still some downsides to it. Some of which include;
- You have no actual control over the behaviour of an Influencer: An influencer is technically not your employee and as such you do not have the authority to dictate to every content they put out. Outside the content to promote you brand, an influencer is pretty much free to post whatever kind of thing they want to even if it does not tally with your brand image. Although you can keep a lid on this by making provisions for it in the contract you sign with them.
- If the influencer falls, your brand image may follow suit: If the celebrity you chose as in influencer suffers a scandal in public, it may invariably affect your brand image, albeit negatively. Seeing as you have no logical control over whether or not your influencers will suffer public disgrace, it would be prudent to choose an influencer who is not controversial and as such less prone to scandal.
- Hate Transfer: This again is something you may have no control over. To avoid situations like this, it’s best to choose influencers who are seemingly liked by the populace. So to avoid instances where people transfer their dislike of an influencer to your brand, pick an influencer that people actually like.
How to find influencers?
Thankfully there are quite a number of influencer marketing companies or agencies around that can help you find the perfect fit for your brand. The company or agency will not just find the perfect influencer for your brand, but also guide the influencer in creating the right content to make the whole influencer marketing strategy effective. Influencer marketing has a huge edge over other means of marketing.