Last week I noticed a great new infographic on influencer marketing from the team over at TheShelf. Among the collection of cool graphics and numbers, one really caught my eye: 65% of brands now participate in influencer marketing.
This statistic really begs the question: If you are not utilizing influencer marketing, what are you waiting for? The Keller Fay Group notes that brands are mentioned 3.3 billion times every day in America. Can you afford to be left out of the conversation?
At its heart, influencer marketing is really about finding the people who have the voice that is trusted among your target audience and using them to send your messages. For someone like me who grew-up doing media relations, this is not a new concept. There was a time that new outlets and journalists were the primary respected voices for business and consumer decision-makers. So while the sources of influence have changed over the last 25 years, the strategy has not. Find who has the most power and influence, and leverage their relationship to advance your product or service. What has changed, and in some industries keeps changing, are the influencers themselves making finding them a bit of an art.
For the most part influencer marketing involves four core steps:
1. Find the right influencers that impact your business and your buyer.
2. Conduct outreach and create your influencer network.
3. Plan initiatives that bring benefit to you both and buy-in.
4. Launch a program that creates and grows value-added relationships with your influencers.
If you have not done influencer marketing before, I can share a few insights:
• Finding the right influencers is not easy
• Creating the link between your organization and their mission is not easy
• Managing the relationships with influencers so its stays positive and productive is not easy
• None of the above can be done for you by a software tool
Then why do it? Because influencers can deliver great value like:
• A personal and powerful association between your brand and targeted consumers
• Insights that result in better products and services for your customers
• Illusive SEO authority and clout
• Enhanced brand awareness and grow brand equity
• Increased sales and a shorter sales cycle
And, the influencers you build a relationship with are also an asset for your brand:
• 88% verbally tell a friend about brands that sponsor them
• 72% share additional posts beyond their contractual agreements
• 77% are more likely to buy from brands that sponsor them
With the right strategic investment, an influencer marketing program can deliver results and value for your brand. So again I ask: What are you waiting for? Find someone who knows this space to help you develop a strategy and jump in!
Pam is adept at fostering relationships with respected thought leaders and influencers. She has 20-plus years of experience in social engagement, media and blogger relations, thought leadership, community building and copywriting.