Influencer Marketing: What is it, and How Can You Use It?

The practice of influencer marketing is nothing new. Think of an athlete featured in a sports drink commercial, an actress promoting a particular brand of makeup or a game show host thanking a fabric softener company at the start of the program.

While traditional forms of influencer marketing are still going strong, they are often reserved for national or international brands with substantial marketing budgets. Social media has changed influencer marketing, allowing small to mid-size companies like yours to get in on the action. Learn how to take advantage of this marketing technique without spending half your budget.

What is an Influencer?

Having a large social media following isn’t enough to qualify as an influencer. The person must also have the power to persuade others to try something different – in this case, to buy your product or service. They do this with three key factors:

  • Reach: This is where having a high number of social media followers comes in. A large audience allows an influencer to get the message across to as many people as possible.
  • Contextual credibility: For influencer marketing to be effective, the person you ask to spread your message should be associated with your industry somehow. For example, a celebrity chef has credibility when recommending cookware, but it may be out of context for that influencer to market shoes and handbags.
  • Salesmanship: The final key factor is the ability to present a product or service confidently. The influencer should be able to explain and market the product in a way that convinces their followers to try it.

How to Use Influencer Marketing

You have a few options for putting influencer marketing to good use.

First, you can pay someone with credibility and familiarity to appear in an ad. This is the traditional method that’s been around for decades. However, this is more of a celebrity endorsement than influencer marketing. Consumers know the actor, athlete or public figure is being paid to promote a product, so the effectiveness of this method has limitations.

Another option is to borrow an influencer’s reach. This is what most influencer marketing looks like today. A business owner finds someone with a large social media following and pays them to plug their product. However, this is nothing more than sponsored advertising, which fails to maximize the full potential of influencer marketing.

The best method is to build a sincere relationship with someone who then genuinely wants to share your product, even without financial compensation. The good news is that the best influencers are naturally curious. If you have a useful, innovative or cutting-edge product, you should have no problem getting an influencer to share exclusive or early information about it.

Developing honest, genuine influencer marketing takes time, dedication and focus. John Manlove Marketing & Communications can help you use influencer marketing to the fullest. To learn more about how we can help you market your company, please call us today at 281-487-6767.

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