The popularity of influencer marketing is soaring.
Then, check out this stat: In 2019, 93% of marketers leveraged it to grow their brand value, awareness, and revenue. Compared to traditional marketing forms, influencer marketing is proving to be more effective when it comes to establishing a brand’s reputation, credibility, and trust.
Smart marketers are anchoring their social media marketing strategies around influencers. According to a Mediakix survey, 85% of marketers are leveraging influencer marketing to build brand awareness.
It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that influencers are particularly adept in this area. They are excellent brand ambassadors and advocates, not to mention more affordable, relatable, and approachable than high-profile celebrities.
Since influencers are experts at brand building, you need to leverage their potential for your brand as well.
Just implement the strategies explained below. I’ve supported each strategy with real examples, stats, and helpful resources. So, let’s get started.
How to Become a Super Brand with Influencer Marketing
You might not be new to influencer marketing, but the fact is that influencer selection is a tricky business. The wrong influencers can damage your brand’s reputation and turn off your target audience.
So, do your due diligence while evaluating your influencers and pick the ones with the requisite experience and expertise. Before you hire an influencer marketer, make sure you vet them rigorously. Unless they have similar audiences, values, and niches as you, they won’t be able to boost your brand value.
With the right influencers on-board, you can start implementing the strategies below to sky-rocket your brand value.
1. Leverage Influencers to Grow Your Social Media Influence
Social media influence can be measured in terms of reach, engagement, and followership. Influencers can help multiply all of these with their quality content, authentic relationships, and goodwill.
Check out this post by micro-influencer, Jessica Dover:
Image via Instagram
She partnered with Australian skincare brand, Lovekins, to create sponsored content for them. In her posts, she wrote positive things about the brand, supporting them with her personal stories.
Naturally, such authentic content scores over promotional ads in a big way. In fact, 63% more people believe what influencers say about a brand than what a brand says about itself.
Similarly, Jessica’s fans and followers trust her word and, in turn, the brands she raves about. Many of them might start following or engaging with Lovekins after reading Jessica’s glowing testimonials. Without much effort, the brand earns credibility, visibility, followers, and perhaps even leads and customers.
2. Get Influencers to Drive Traffic to Your Website
77% of marketers use influencers to drive traffic to their websites, according to a Linqia survey. There are many ways by which influencers can direct traffic to your website.
First, influencers can include links to your website in their posts and encourage their followers to click on them. Engaged followers mean qualified traffic, which can improve your website’s dwell time and boost your SEO efforts.
If you need an example, check out this Instagram post by Lisa. The plus-sized model-influencer is in a paid partnership with Catherine’s Plus. Note how she gushes over the brand’s clothing and then encourages her followers to click on the brand’s website link in her bio.
Image via Instagram
To build scarcity and FOMO, she mentions that her special discount is valid only till midnight. I bet Catherine’s Plus got a lot of new visitors before the deadline.
There’s one more way by which influencers can drive website traffic. They can start a blog where they publish educational, insightful content. In the content, they can include mentions of your products/services in a non-promotional way.
If your influencers are industry experts and thought leaders, they will drive traffic to your site as well. Moreover, you can boast about their credentials in your social media posts and newsletters to build your authority. In this way they can help entrepreneurs to make money dropshipping in an easy way.
3. Multiply Your Revenue Through Affiliate Marketing
If you want to motivate your influencers to work harder at brand promotions, hire them as affiliates. Launch a proper affiliate marketing program and ask your influencers to enroll.
Provide your affiliates with custom discount codes and links to share with their followers. Whenever anyone purchases from your site using these links/codes, your influencers get a fixed commission. If you hire multiple affiliates, you can generate boatloads of sales (and visibility too) for your brand.
The affiliate marketing model works well with influencers. Since their income is dependent on your revenue, they put in more effort to multiply it. They may post more and use multiple channels for cross-promotions.
To get the most bang for your buck, keep tabs on your influencers’ performance. Incentivize the best performers with higher commissions or exclusive product catalogs to promote.
And, don’t worry about consumer fatigue due to over-promotion. Remember, consumers eagerly wait for their favorite influencers to post and don’t think twice before buying the products they recommend. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
4. Share Influencer-Generated Testimonials
If you’re social-savvy, you’ve likely come across a lot of user-generated content (UGC).
What is UGC?
Basically, it’s pictures, videos, and posts that people share of themselves using a product/service and tagging the brand in question. It’s free advertising for brands, and that too from end-consumers themselves.
Not only that, but UGC makes for compelling social proof. It is trusted 7x more than paid advertising, and it drives the purchase decisions of nearly one-quarter of social media users.
But how does UGC align with influencer marketing? Your influencers can provide you with a wealth of UGC from their fans and followers. You can repurpose that content into customer testimonials for your website and newsletters. This way, you can foster trust with prospects and new buyers.
Yes. By sharing raw, unedited pictures of your customers, you can humanize your brand. And you can show your customers that you value them.
To keep it more real, share criticism and negative feedback as sportingly as you do the positive testimonials. If you think the move will backfire, you’re mistaken. Social media users (especially younger ones) appreciate honesty from brands. They can relate better with less-than-perfect entities. So, there’s no need to always put your best face forward.
5. Allow Influencers to Spearhead Your Product Launches
If you’re planning to launch a new product, opt for influencers to lead the launch instead of celebrities.
Many reasons, including:
- Celebrity endorsements have lost their touch. In fact, 70% of millennial consumers don’t pay heed to paid celebrities vouching for brands, according to a survey.
- Celebrities have vested interests in promoting brands.That’s why their word carries less weight than that of influencers who promote a product they personally use.
- More often than not, influencers have deep domain knowledge or credible personal stories to support their content. That makes them a better bet than celebrities who are in no way connected to your niche.
- Niche influencers hold sway over your target audience. Their messaging reaches the eyes and ears that you’re not able to permeate on your own. Celebrities, on the other hand, have diverse audiences from all walks of life. You end up paying more and not even getting targeted reach.
When Chanel wanted to launch their new perfume, they collaborated with fashion influencers like Juliane Diesner to lead the way. Influencer-generated posts amassed 900K+ likes on Instagram alone, which means great exposure and reach for the product even before it hits the shelves.
Image via Instagram
6. Hire Influencers Who Are Fans of Your Brand
The key to successful influencer marketing lies in authenticity. The more authentic your influencers and their content, the better results they can deliver for your brand. That’s why it makes sense to partner with influencers who are loyal fans of your brand. That works for two reasons.
One, they will have first-hand experiences and proof to support their content. Two, they are more amenable to work with you (maybe even for free!)
Airbnb has nailed this tactic. Whenever a high-profile celebrity stays at their properties, they reach out to them for collaboration. In exchange for a few social media posts, Airbnb offers free stays at accommodations of the celebs’ choice.
Image via Instagram
To find influencers who are already interested in your brand, you can use social listening tools like Mention. These tools comb through millions of profiles to pick people who are talking about your brand. They also analyze the kind of sentiment the brand mentions are generating.
7. Give Creative Freedom to Your Influencers
Influencers are skilled content creators. So, make use of their creativity and expertise and give them a free hand at content creation. 77% of influencers dig brands that allow them creative freedom.
There’s one more benefit to this tactic. Your creative team won’t have to exert too much effort in coming up with new content ideas.
If you plan to leverage this tactic, take a cue from Maybelline. The makeup brand collaborated with many influencers to promote their new line of mascara. They gave their influencers liberty to choose the platform and content format they were most comfortable with.
Image via Monroe Misfit Makeup
Maybelline got tons of high-quality sponsored content on all of their target platforms. Plus, their content repository got richer, owing to each influencer’s unique style and voice. Moreover, they were able to cater to people with different content consumption habits.
As you can see, influencers can boost your brand’s value, awareness, credibility, and revenue in many ways. You can collaborate with them to increase your social influence, drive website traffic, act as affiliates, generate UGC, launch products, and enrich your content stock. That’s a lot of benefits from a single masterstroke.
Do you have any questions about influencer marketing? Feel free to ask them in the comments below. I’m always happy to answer my readers.
About the Author:
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.