What the heck is influencer marketing anyway?

 How to find influencers and brand advocates from Hub Digital Marketing in Rhod eISland.

We’re guessing you’ve heard this term?  How about the term ‘Advocate Marketing’?  They’re similar but totally different!  Brand advocates, customer advocates or, as we like to call them ‘brand champions’, are existing customers or clients who like (or love!) a business and aren’t afraid to use their own time, energy or brand to endorse it.  An Influencer is a bit different as they are people that usually get paid in some way to use their brand (influence) to endorse a business thus increasing the reach (getting in front of eyeballs that they’re not currently in front of) of that business.

Brand advocates are usually easier to find than you might think and utilizing them is a great inexpensive component that should be a part of your marketing strategy.  

A couple of tips on how to identify brand advocates:

  1. Are you following who is tagging your business on social media?  Start paying attention to those notifications and see if any of your customers are saying nice things about you, liking and sharing your posts, etc...  
  2. Ask your sales team to start making a list of customers that seem especially happy with your business…those that are ‘touching’ the customers/clients the most will probably be able to create that list pretty quickly!

A couple of ways you can leverage that love:

  1. Ask why they like you and/or what they like about you.  This is a great way to get a testimonial that you can share in your email campaigns, on social media or in ads and it’s also a great way to find out what you’re doing well (maybe you don’t even know something you’re doing well or maybe this will validate something you want to invest more time, money and energy in).  
  2. Reward them for sharing with coupons, discounts or some kind of VIP treatment and build even stronger relationships with those amazing clients or customers!

Influencers, on the other hand, are usually people or brands with large social followings whether local, national or global, that have built a very loyal audience.  Influencers are usually paid to promote or endorse a brand whether that be with fees, products or some other kind of agreed upon compensation or trade.  Influencer marketing is a great way to reach audiences you’re not currently in front of and when done right it works really well.   It’s not just about finding popular people though as it has to make sense in some way for these ‘influencers’ to be endorsing a brand and keep in mind that finding the right influencers should convert to more followers, shares and hopefully sales.  

An easy tip for finding relevant influencers:

  • What do you do?  Are you a local business selling direct to customers like a Laundromat?  Have you noticed there are some local women out there that seem to have huge social media followings?  One of them might even live in your neighborhood that you see at the bus stop everyday!  She would be an excellent influencer for your Laundromat and chances are that if you reached out to her and offered some kind of service in return (maybe she would love to drop off and pick up blankets or other laundry?)…she’d probably be happy to help you with your marketing!  You can just pause for a minute and think of this scenario on a larger scale if you’re a business with a national or global audience.  B2B business strategies are different, of course, but similar in the way that you should focus on a business (or person) that compliments your business and authenticity is still super important.

What do you do once you find an influencer?  

  • So, you’ve found an influencer and you’ve agreed upon a payment for their shout out but what are they going to say?  This depends on the type of business you have and the influencer’s brand style.  Authentic is ALWAYS best.  Most influencers already have a specific language and style - think about some Instagram feeds and how all the posts flow in a way that really kind of looks similar, maybe it’s the kind of images they use, like beach pictures, or maybe it’s the same color scheme or filter throughout?  These influencers might have no problem pushing out some great endorsements that seem very organic.  For some influencers though, they may be very agreeable to sit down with you to either brainstorm ideas with you and/or take what you craft for them to ensure the messaging they’re pushing out is both consistent with their brand (so their loyal audience won’t think twice about trusting them and hopefully will jump on board to support your brand) and consistent with your integrated messaging and marketing strategy.

Whether you decide to start leveraging the love with your existing brand advocates or you decide to seek out new influencers to help spread the word about your amazing company (or better yet…both)  they are both proven effective tactics and we wish you tons of new growth!