As consumers, we can tell when companies are marketing at us. Beyond billboards and flyers, we can recognize the digital ads on our social media feed and jargon-filled messaging.
As a business, there’s an easier way to reach your customers. Instead of using marketing methods that no longer make an impact, more companies are turning toward online influencer marketing strategies.
58% of marketers believe influencer marketing will become a part of all marketing activities in the upcoming years.
So what is online influencer marketing, and how can it benefit your business? Keep reading to find out!
What is an Online Influencer?
Influencers don’t need a major social media following to impact a brand. Unfortunately, many people have confused “influence” with popularity.
An online influencer has the ability to sway someone’s opinion or perception. With power, influencers can encourage their audience to make a change.
For example, a YouTube channel can compare two products before swaying their audience to start making purchases.
90% of shoppers discover new products and brands through YouTube videos.
We’re more likely to trust a product or business after hearing about someone else’s happy experience. Using influencer marketing, brands can leverage an influencer’s positive review to generate more business.
What Makes An Influencer?
A brand ambassador or company employee doesn’t necessarily make for the best influencer. For a successful, lead-generating inbound marketing strategy, choose your online influencer wisely.
Influencers need a combination of three factors. The first, which is most often confused with popularity, is their reach.
Reach allows an online influencer to extend their message to a large following of people. In addition to a list of YouTube subscribers, reach can also include social media followers or publication readers.
While reach is important, it’s not not enough to ensure an influencer can impact their audience’s opinions.
The second factor is called contextual credibility. The audience needs to trust the influencer.
Perhaps the influencer has knowledge of the industry or first-hand experience. Their authority can help develop trust, which boosts their credibility with the audience. As a result, the audience is more likely to listen to what the influencer has to say.
The final factor is salesmanship. The influencer’s communication style and personality can impact the audience. With sales skills, an influencer can attract people to see and agree with their point of view.
Influencers also need credibility and salesmanship to influence their audience. Even if an online influencer only has a small reach, combined with sales skills and high credibility, they can still make an impact. These people are often referred to as micro-influencers.
At the end of the day, an online influencer should have the ability to connect with your audience. After all, this is someone your customers should trust. You want them to value your influencer’s opinions.
For inbound marketing, an online influencer should sound honest and authentic. Otherwise, it sounds like another easily recognizable sales strategy.
To show authenticity, make sure your influencer honestly loves your product or service.
That way, their belief in your company will come across in their messaging.
In time, having one influencer will generate a domino effect. More people throughout the community will learn to love your brand. Then, they’ll share their happy experiences to boost brand awareness, too.
The Benefits of Online Influencer Marketing
Your online influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity or Twitter-famous. Once you choose an influencer for your inbound marketing strategy, develop a strategy. Research what your customers are looking for, then plan and budget.
Then, develop a schedule for your content. You might have your influencer post monthly videos or weekly blogs. Either way, consistency will help them grow their audience.
You can also use The Fool-Proof Guide To Social Media Influencer Marketing to get started.
Once you have a strategy in place, you should begin to notice these benefits on online influencer marketing.
1. Strengthens Brand Trust
Influencers can build a relationship based on trust with their loyal fans. As they represent your brand, that trust will extend to your company, too. That way, you’re able to gain a following of customers and eventually turn trust into brand loyalty.
2. Increases Brand Awareness
When people think of your product, service, or industry, what brand name comes to mind? If it’s not your company, that’s likely because people don’t know you yet.
A influencer can help customers discover your story.
Sparking interest is one of the first steps to building brand awareness. An online influencer can get your name out there, explain what you do, and show customers the solutions you have to offer.
3. Relevant, Wanted Content
People don’t want random how-to guides or lengthy product videos. Rather, they want high-quality content that can benefit their lives.
An influencer can give your content a boost. Influencers help people associate your brand with a name, face, and voice. As a result, it’s easier for influencers to connect with your customers than a lengthy white paper might.
With an influencer’s content, you’re also providing customers with the information they need from someone they trust.
That way, you’re giving your audience valuable content they actually want.
4. Reach Your Audience
By choosing the right influencers, you’re able to get in front of your intended target audience without tedious searching. Instead, you get display your brand in front of people who are already interested in your product or service.
5. Partner Up
Partnering with an influencer can help your business marketing strategy for the long-term.
These partnerships can also expand into new relationships, allowing you to further grow your business.
Utilizing an Online Influencer: Marketing that Makes a Mark
By partnering with an online influencer, you can give your brand a boost, reach new customers, and ensure your brand makes a mark. In addition to helping you gain traction in your industry, influencer marketing can also help you develop long-term trust with your customers.
A strong foundation of trust can set your company up for long-term growth as a result.
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