An Introduction to Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing Trends 2012

Influencer marketing is an emerging technique where the focus is on specific individuals, or types of individuals, rather than on the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals who have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

It’s hard to ignore the buzz around social media marketing today. It has become one of the easiest ways to engage with your target audience. One of the most effective ways to drive social media engagement and start seeing results quickly is to have an Influencer Marketing plan in place. A successful plan starts with identifying your influencers, is followed by interaction and engagement with those influencers, and continually provides value to them in order to build a relationship that will in turn benefit you and your brand.

Malcolm Gladwell, a social scientist and author of The Tipping Point, states that, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.” He defines a tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” Gladwell also discusses “The Law of the Few,” which states, “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” In most situations, the majority of the work is done by a small percentage of the participants. Similar to how “early adopters” drive adoption of a new product or technology into the marketplace, social influencers can also drive significant impact to a broader audience.

There are several things to consider when identifying your influencers:

Relevance:

Who is interested in your brand? How often does their audience look to them for recommendations and content related to your industry? Keep in mind that people typically follow or engage with brands/social communities that they find an interest in. Focusing on what people are interested in and what they actively share or talk about will uncover the influencers that will appreciate your brand and are most likely to advocate it.

Reach:

How many people does this person or organization actually reach? Even if the person has a large following on their social channels, it’s not necessarily an indicator of whether their audience will like your brand or pay attention to your message. This can become a bit of a numbers game, but if done right, it’s more efficient to target one person who has the potential to influence 1,000 people rather than targeting 1,000 people separately.

Relationships:

Who follows your prospective influencer and who does that influencer then follow? The reason we “subscribe” to people is because we’re interested in them or their content. As a savvy marketer, the first thing to keep in mind is to always think about what motivates people and why. Take this example: If I’m looking to buy a car, I’d likely refer to a friend or even a popular blog to get car buying tips and advice. If this trusted friend or blogger referenced your product/company in their posting, I’m more likely to consider your product/company when making a purchase.

Now that I have covered how to recognize the influencer, I encourage you to discover the top five influencers in your industry that you can start engaging with to effectively drive your social marketing reach.

-Andy Karuza
Social Media Specialist

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