Ever Google your business to see what people are saying about it? Rest assured, we all do it. And chances are you most likely found a wide collection of comments from a disparate group of people. But what if you could have more control over these remarks?
This is the theory behind influencer marketing – a tactic many small businesses are using to amp up awareness and sales in the social media age. Here’s an example of how it can be done.
Say you manufacture a stroller that’s designed for runners, and you’re competing for shelf space in your area. While it may be difficult to make a dent in the market using conventional tactics, an influencer campaign can help you break through.
In this case, you might contact the local running community and let them demo your stroller. In return, you simply ask that they document the experience on social media. As these “influencers” post videos showing how durable and safe it is, the ensuing dialogue creates demand – and you have a compelling case for retailers to sell your product.
For a real-life example, let’s take a look to the milk industry. It conducted an influencer campaign similar to this when it was challenged with positioning chocolate milk as a sports drink to compete with heavyweights like Gatorade.
With the help of high-profile influencers, like pro-football player Heinz Ward, chocolate milk producers were able to create demand for the product in a whole new segment – increasing sales each year since the campaign launched in 2012.
Some Guidelines for Influencer Marketing
Now before we you dive head first into an influencer campaign there a few things to bear in mind to increase its effectiveness. For starters, seek out authentic influencers who are trustworthy and believable; their word will carry much more weight with the people you want to reach.
If you’re not sure how to reach them, an effective method is to create or leverage an existing event geared toward your audience. So, if you’re manufacturing strollers for runners, help sponsor a 5K or 10K run in your community, where you can connect with influencers and determine which would be the most influential for your campaign.
In addition, shoot for a range of influencers who can broaden your exposure to a wider audience. For example, a mommy blogger who runs occasionally and a long-distance runner will cover two different but valuable markets.
Finally, remember to be persistent and patient with the process. It may take time for influence to reap benefits–even on social media where word can spread like wildfire. Consider using this time to monitor the dialogue and understand the metrics of likes, hits, unique visits and more. This may help you understand if your campaign is actually performing. (For more information on metrics, check here).
At the end of the day, working with influencers can be effective and rewarding for your business and brand. All you have to do is get the conversation started.