Do you remember junior high and class elections? They were more of a popularity contest than an election, and ‘campaigns’ consisted of a few posters and buttons, which didn’t really garner any votes. What could influence the outcome of a school election? An influencer. An opinion leader. Usually someone with a lot of friends (and perhaps a big mouth) that didn’t mind telling the whole world who they should vote for. And it worked well enough to win the campaign every time.
That is what influencer marketing is all about. Getting people who can influence your target audience to do just that. For a fee, they will review your product, write a blog, or even run a small ‘campaign’ for you, using their leadership position to attract people to your brand.
Influencer marketing isn’t a new practice. We marketers are great at renaming things, putting some fresh makeup on them, and introducing them as brilliant. But, the reason that influencer marketing has burst back onto the marketing scene is because of social media. Consumers find inspiration and knowledge through ‘experts’ online. These experts gain the trust of a large enough following that they can influence brand preferences in the same manner that your own friends can with you, if you think they know what they’re talking about.
There are many companies that have developed networks of influencers and would be happy to put those relationships to work for you. Think of it as a paid endorsement, only with a native slant, and usually without the celebrity factor. You can also search within your own industry and find influencers that your target trusts and follows. It just takes a bit of time.
As you might imagine, the cost for a particular influencer to extoll the benefits of your product is tied to their influence. It could run you a couple hundred bucks, or a couple hundred thousand. From a simple Instagram plug to a fully produced Facebook video, the options are plenty. The right influencer campaign can give you instant street cred, along with content that you can repurpose through other channels, leaving you more time to help your kid with those election posters.
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