This post originally appeared on Searchenginewatch.com
- With marketers and brands alike losing trust in traditional advertising, alternative promotional channels need to be used and the numbers stack up in favour of influencer marketing as the solution for product exposure.
- We’ll examine the concept of high powered influencers and case study successful influencer promotions.
- What is influencer marketing and why should your brand rely on it?
- To adequately take advantage of influencer marketing we’ll go through the best ways to partner with influencers and understudy partnerships that worked and why such collaborations succeeded.
How do you generate brand awareness and product exposure without traditional advertising? Influencers.
These days trust in advertising is the lowest it has ever been, and for this reason, you need to look beyond regular promotional methods.
Influencer marketing can foster goodwill towards your product. But more than that, high-powered influencers can boost traffic, engagement, and awareness.
Because of how tough it is to get product exposure, you’d want the satisfaction of achieving the feat all by yourself, right? Not just to prove people who had doubts about your ability wrong, but for that feeling of accomplishment that you succeeded alone. It’s truly an enticing thought most entrepreneurs can’t resist.
Dictating the game and calling the shots is great and all. But at certain stages of your business, you need a helping hand. Your reach has limits.
By connecting forces with people who have identical goals to yours, you gain their reach and create a symbiotic relationship for mutual growth and potential audience maximization. Your brand and product’s exposure is paramount, and by engaging, interacting and intriguing your target audience alongside individuals with similar ambitions, the possibilities are endless.
With that said, let’s proceed.
What are high powered influencers?
An influencer is someone who turns the heads of your target audience. A person with a social presence so powerful that they can put your product in front of thousands to millions of consumers.
A great example is Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner campaign that used influencers videos to promote its new Impreza with the objective to pull in millennial buyers. One of such videos was Dan Graham, a new YouTube influencer with over five million subscribers using a slip and slide to leap off a 500-foot cliff.
While there were no mentions of the facts and figures that make the car great. It simply focused on the emotional aspect of consumers, which was the thrill of adventure consumers would associate with the car as a result of the influencer promoting it.
Influencers majorly achieve such goals as Dan did via social media platforms, which is where they showcase their influence.
But you need to ensure that your chosen influencer is the right fit for your product or brand.
You may come across a person with millions of followers, but if their goals aren’t identical to yours – for example, using a hip hop artist to recommend your new software – a boost in engagement isn’t a possibility. Defining context is the most crucial aspect you can focus on when choosing an influencer, so ensure that’s the pillar of your decisions.
Why use an influencer?
1. Increase in credibility
Influencers increase your brand’s credibility, which naturally extends to your product. By collaborating with people who already have credibility in the industry, you boost your own.
Sun Peaks, a ski resort, experienced this. In order to raise awareness about their various winter attractions, they involved Instagram influencer and Canada’s leading adventure photographer Callum Snape.
With amazing Instagram stories, images and short Facebook videos he drove over 200,000 people to Sun Peaks landing pages. Which sparked a huge interest for Sun Peaks from their target audience.
The consumer’s conclusion was simple – “If Callum Snape loves it, then it’s got to be great. ”
2. Influencers add a new perspective
Do you know that feeling? The one where you write or talk about the same topic repeatedly, and at some point, you feel redundant.
Repeating the same thing you’ve always said, to relay the same information from a fresh perspective, and a different sound.
That’s tough, but if you bring in someone else to speak on the same subject, they’ll have something new to offer. People vary. Each person’s life choices and experiences give them a worldview different from yours, even if they’re in the same industry.
FIJI water knew this, so they teamed up with influencer Danielle Bernstein and her trainer Eric Johnson.
The idea was to expose their product to their target audience in a subtle way and from a fresh perspective.
Now, in the post-Bernstein promoted her own brand Bernstein but she reminded her followers about the importance of staying hydrated and included FIJI water bottles.
This took the attention of forced placements off FIJI water since the post was about promoting her brand. The result was that it appeared to the audience as a reflective recommendation to stay hydrated rather than a promotion of FIJI water.
With high powered influencers, you can present your product from a fresh perspective to your target audience consistently.
3. Influencers offer massive exposure
In the business world, it’s all about giving and receiving. You scratch my back I scratch yours. It’s a system that you can’t override because it’s powerful.
Think about it. Why would a guest blogger pen down a post on your page? It isn’t because they love your brand so much, they just want to help. All actions in business are for personal intentions. They do it to get access to a bigger audience. Yours.
And in exchange, they pull their audience to your doorstep, and it’s a win-win situation for everyone. With influencers, that’s what you achieve.
Tom’s of Maine, for instance, is a brand that makes toiletries using natural ingredients only. To build exposure for their products, they decided to have influencers compel their followers to make posts about Tom’s of Maine products for a chance to win a gift package.
The strategy initiated a snowball effect that got across to 4.4 million people in three months of the campaign.
Some high-powered influencers have followings in millions, and a single recommendation of your product can drive an unbelievable number of leads and conversions to your offer.
They have traffic, exposure, and influence, and you have the cash. So you make a trade, everyone’s happy.
How to find relevant, high powered influencers?
1. Google search for Instagram influencers
A simple Google search can reveal individuals influential in your niche on Instagram. Input a related keyword and pick the top posts. Find out who’s behind them, learn about them, and then reach out.
You can use the search keyword code: site: platform.com “k followers” niche.
This is such a great tool for locating influencers. All you need to do is enter your keyword or niche related phrase in the search.
For instance, if your product is a content marketing tool. Type in the keyword “content marketing”, and you’ll see a bunch of buzzing posts will pop up.
Look up the persons behind the posts. Check out their social media profiles and followership. If they match up with the influencer type you’re gunning for, reach out to them.
Best ways to partner with high powered influencers
1. Run a referral program
Remember when we mentioned that the business world is all about mutual benefits? Well, referral programs are a perfect demonstration of that principle.
During Airbnb’s expansion to Asia for example, a single influencer’s referrals resulted in 5000 signups and hundreds of bookings in the campaign’s first month.
Offer influencers a nice payout, discount or relevant product for them throwing you a few hundred thousand customers isn’t a bad idea. Influencers invested an immense amount of time and effort into gaining those followers and desire to receive rewards for it.
There are a bunch of tools for automating your referral program, you just need to set and forget. You can even find quality influencers via these tools as they reveal people that are part of your program and are driving the highest traffic to your brand.
A referral program offers influencers a solid incentive to link people to your brand. The importance of this is even though a top influencer had an excellent experience with your product, without an active nudge they’d most likely not reference your product. And you may never know that someone with such an influence loves your brand.
2. Gift them
Seen an influencer you like? Perhaps you’ve found that they have a similar passion and you’re convinced they’ll be all in with your brand or product.
By sending them a product gift, they can test out your product and create exposure by sharing it with their followers. It’d be a good approach to drop them a message before sending over your product to them, as they may not be willing to tell the world about your generosity as you think without a nudge.
Here’s a great example of what the influencer’s product exposure post would look like:
3. Freebies giveaways contest
The idea behind this is like giving gifts, but instead of giving your product to the blogger themselves with the aim of them promoting it, the blogger runs a contest with your product targeted at the audience.
It’s a lot more direct in terms of the market of approach. As the influencer’s audience fights for an opportunity to win your product, it spurs a desire to have your offer before they’ve even gotten it. That’s a priceless effect to have on potential customers.
Check this example out:
Keep in mind that this method works great with influencers who own a blog, as the stats show that 90% of bloggers love to engage their audience in contests. So it might be easier getting a blogger to agree to this method.
4. Run influencer events
There’s no greater way to empower and educate your Influencer about your product than to host an event that allows you to interact with them in-person.
Sure you can send the influencer a box of your products and request that they feature it in their subsequent post. But imagine the depth of insight and content they could come up with if you invited them to where you make the magic happen.
For example, if you run a makeup brand, you can invite beauty/makeup influencers to an event where you show them how everything comes together. You allow them to get their hands involved in the making procedures and walk them through the entire process.
This is what ecommerce mattress brand Casper did. They got in touch with various Canine influencers that had a combined following of 3.5 million dog lovers to promote their new product for dogs.
The influencers were invited to a lunch party in New York, with “pupperazzi”, a green carpet and lots of food. The results were phenomenal. Different positive perspectives of their product at a go and 3.5 million people reached with ease.
You may have to include travel expenses into your budget, depending on your brand’s location. But the result is giving the influencer the ability to produce brilliant imagery that represents everything good about your product.
It allows the influencer to communicate your product to the audience in the most elaborate way possible.
5. Social media posts
Instagram sits high on this approach and is an excellent place to locate influencers to partner with. But ensure that you find users that not only have large followings but engagements proportionate to their follower size. The danger signs should go off if you come across an account with 300,000 followers, but only 12 likes per post.
When you identify the best influencer for you, create a campaign that delivers multiple posts that appeal to various aspects of your target audience. With that approach, one post is bound to stick. You can ask them to try out your product and take a video or snapshot showing the features of your product.
6. Blogger review
If done right, your influencer’s blog posts can rank on the top search results. Blog posts are an excellent way to boost product exposure.
Partner with powerful influential bloggers known for their credibility and trustworthiness. You could send them a free product or pay them in exchange for crafting a blog post with an honest review of your offer.
For example, if a web user is searching for “golf gloves” on Google, your influencers post could show up on the search results and as they visit the page, you’ve got a limitless flow of potential leads.
Influencer marketing is powerful in driving product exposure. You just need to find the right influencers and build a solid relationship with them. Try out various methods, track your performance, and determine the right approach for your brand.
Raul Galera is the Partner Manager at ReferralCandy, an app that helps ecommerce stores run customer referral programs, boosting their word-of-mouth sales.