Influencers are the modern day business referral. After an influencer recommends your product or service, an influx of leads and conversions often come your way. With strategic management, influencers can offer a greater ROI than traditional sponsorship or advertising — it’s the new way to get ahead and break into markets.

Influencers are rife on all the major social media networks and often run their own blogs too — there are eligible influencer candidates to suit the budget and requirements of all businesses. Let’s explore exactly why influencer marketing should be on your agenda, and what you and your business can gain from leveraging this latest addition to the marketing mix.

Influencer Marketing

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It’s powerful

There are very few things with the potential to drive conversions more effectively than word-of-mouth recommendations. With over 74% of people turning to social networks like Instagram for guidance on purchase decisions, and 49% specifically relying on recommendations from influencers before making purchases, it’s clear that there is a lot of untapped potential in influencers.

Instagram is the social network that sees the most influencer marketing due to its highly visual nature that lends itself perfectly to photos and videos of products, but Facebook, Twitter, and blogging sites are also widely used for influencer collaborations.

Influencer marketing offers an opportunity for brands to leverage the power of word-of-mouth recommendations through personalities that consumers already trust and admire. In return, influencers ask for monetary compensation, and sometimes a free sample of the product or service to try for themselves (honest reviews are often the best way to manage sponsored content). Reviews can be a particularly great way for new, smaller, or relatively unknown brands to grow their reach and piggyback off the credibility of influencers.

Not sure where to start? Check out this guide on what platforms you should be using to partner up with the best influencers to get the ball rolling.

Native advertising oozes authenticity

Influencer Marketing

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These days, 43% of people rank authenticity over content. This means that it’s important for your marketing tactics to come across as genuine, informative and not overly salesy.

Interestingly, 47% of online consumers now use an adblocker plugin on their web browser. What does this mean for you? It means that it’s paramount to put your money behind brand influencers and native content to market your products instead of disruptive ads. On-page ads will soon be a thing of the past.

In contrast to the disruptive ads of old, native advertising places brands and products subtly amongst ‘organic’ content. Overall, this creates a more pleasurable experience for users, who are not distracted from the content they intended to watch, view, or read by an irrelevant ad. Instead, the ad is subtly woven into the content they’re already consuming.

Take Naked Juice, the American smoothie brand, as an example. This brand has gained exposure across multiple industries and niches by leveraging fashion and beauty bloggers on Instagram. As a versatile product, Naked successfully caught the attention of new customers from a broad range of backgrounds — people who were happy to share their morning, fitness, food, and fashion routines and stories.

Have a think about what secondary niches might be a good fit for your product. If you’re an online bookstore, consider what kinds of influencers would like to do a post about what they’re reading right now. Chances are that you could target a wide range of willing influencers, from beauty bloggers to parents on Instagram..

Hyper-targeted advertising with high engagement levels

Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing can vary from the macro to the micro.

The term microinfluencer means influencers on a smaller scale. They are individuals who work or specialize in a particular industry, in a particular location, and have a substantial, though not huge, online following. Microinfluencers usually have a modest number of followers, however their audiences are significantly more engaged than those of some of the megainfluencers.

Microinfluencers are really useful for two reasons. Firstly, with these smaller influencers, you can really target areas of the country or world that you want to get your marketing messages to. Are you a brand opening a store in New York, and looking to gain press exposure and let people in the Big Apple know? You should try sourcing microinfluencers in that New York neighborhood to entice potential customers to your shop.

Secondly, with higher engagement levels, comes a greater chance that the right people will be seeing your sponsored posts. According to Hubspot, Instagram users with fewer than 1,000 followers can generate likes 8% of the time. This is a significant increase from users with 10-100,000 followers who achieve a lesser 2.4% like rate.

To harness the power of the right microinfluencers, it’s first important to cast your eye back to your buyer personas. Consulting in-depth data about your target audience, including purchasing habits, location, and hobbies will help you shortlist which verticals, areas, and industries to begin your search with.

Influencer marketing might just be the supercharged marketing tactic you’ve been looking for. Be sure to base every decision you make on what your target audience searches for online, and the kind of content that they enjoy to ensure maximum engagement. Convinced yet?

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant

Influencer MarketingI love my job. I get to collaborate with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them produce an effective content marketing and social media strategy. I love seeing them get the results they deserve to take their business to the next level. Score!