The evolution of marketing in the last decade or so has been amazing. While some of the traditional marketing avenues like T.V ads are still effective in reaching out to the masses, some of the marketing platforms are experiencing diminishing efficacy in as far as marketing is concerned. Case-in-point, advertising on print media such as newspapers is facing a challenge due to the diminishing newspaper readership. On balance though, there are new forms of marketing that are proving too far more effective in pushing a brand’s message out to the masses as opposed to the traditional marketing avenues.
For the most part, the emergence of new marketing avenues is being driven by technology and the evolution in how we communicate. With social media playing a major role in information consumption and communication, new marketing avenues are emerging from its usage. One such marketing avenue is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is the kind of marketing that involves leveraging the influence that an industry authority has within a niche/industry to reach out to the masses. In this regard, with influencer marketing, you simply create a campaign targeting notable individuals in an industry who thereafter share your content with their following. As such, influencer marketing tends to involve other forms of marketing such as social media marketing, blogging, vlogging, and content marketing. This might also involve paying, hiring, or building a mutually beneficial relationship with the influencer.
In many regards, this may seem similar to celebrity endorsement kind of advertising. However, with influencer marketing, the influencer can be anyone else whose influence stems from his or her expertise in the industry as well as the reputation of having a thorough understanding of the subject matter.
It may be a travel blogger who focuses on the notable landmarks in the destinations; it may be a cyber-security expert who has a massive Twitter following; it may be a YouTube star whose main subject of interest and content is parkour; it may be an internet marketer whose main focus is search engine optimization (Neil Patel comes to mind). Nonetheless, in all instances, the influencer marketer has to have a following in one of the many social media platforms.
Importantly though, in every case, the influencer has to have authority and command of the subject matter that will be involved. Additionally, unlike celebrities, the vast majority of influencers tend to have cultivated their following over a long period. As such, they tend to be incredibly protective of their reputation and the kind of content that they put out.
Pertinent Components Of Influencer Marketing
With the understanding of what influencer marketing is, it is important that you have a proper understanding of what constitutes influencer marketing.
#1. Influencer Identification – The very first process of influencer marketing is influencer identification, obviously. You need to find out individuals with the industry of interest who have a following for this kind of marketing to be effective.
#2. Content Creation – This bit can be protracted. You need to create content to target the influencer. They need to be sure that you have the right ideas and content for their audience. Remember they are protective of it. Thereafter you need to produce high-quality content to target the influencer’s audience. This bit might be collaborative
#3. Tracking – The final bit is tracking the performance of the campaign. It should deliver, otherwise revise the strategy. Metrix to keep in mind include brand recognition and brand following especially among the influencers followers.
However, it is important to understand the nature of influencer marketing. Just like social media marketing where patience and persistence is the key to success, this form of marketing uses the same principles. You need to be incredibly patient to see-through an influencer marketing campaign as the tangible results only come much later.
In fact, consider this approach to marketing as a means of making your brand synonymous with certain traits that the influencer has. Obviously, when done right, the aim and the result is to improve brand recognition that comes from having the influencer speak about you on your behalf.
Distinguishing Between Influencer Marketing, Word Of Mouth, Celebrity Endorsements And, Advocate Marketing
Owing to the fact that influencer marketing is a relatively new development in the marketing realm, it is sometimes mistaken with other forms of marketing. It is, however, important to distinguish this kind of marketing from other forms of marketing with a specific interest in the clarity of concept.
Word of mouth, as it has been traditionally defined is the process of brand’s clients and customers spreading the word on the benefits of a particular service or product to their family, friends, co-workers, and network. In reality, this form marketing may or may not be solicited, even though it still works. On the other hand, even though influencer marketing may involve word of mouth, it is not strictly word of mouth marketing. This is because it involving finding and using niche/industry influencers to spread the word to their family, friends, co-workers, and importantly, networks.
As for celebrity endorsement, it involves using the celebrity of an individual sports personality, music artist, actor or any renowned personality to push the brand to the masses. This essentially entails associated a brand with the celebrity so as to make the brand known, whether or not the celebrity actually has a full understanding of the product and or niche. However, for influencer marketing, it involves individuals who have a thorough understanding of the subject matters in the niche/industry as well as the products and what it does.
Advocate marketing on the hand involves using loyal clients and customers to spread the word about your products and services through incentives or encouragement. A very good example of advocate marketing is encouraging your clients or customers to share their experience on your website or leave a review. Another good example of advocate marketing is giving out gifts or cash rewards for every client or customer one your existing customer brings in. on the other hand, as mentioned above, influencer marketing involves making a deal with an influential individual within an industry so as to help you reach out to his or her network.