15 Reasons To Add Influencer Marketing To Your Business Strategy

With 30% of consumers likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger, according to a study by Collective Bias, investing in influencer marketing just makes sense. It can be the push in taking you to a new level of awareness with your customers.

Now more than ever, consumers are turning to influencers to learn how a product performs and decide whether it’s something worth investing in. Having an influencer help leverage the exposure of your company’s product can increase revenue as you’ll see a spike with consumers who lean on these reviews to make their purchasing decisions.

Below, 15 members of the Forbes Agency Council share one piece of advice to business owners who are considering implementing influencer marketing. Here is what they had to say:

Images courtesy of FAC members.

Members of the Forbes Agency Council provide their best professional insights.

1. Focus On Engagement Over Follower Count

Learn how to research and identify influencers that can not only get in front of your target audience but who also have solid engagement metrics. An influencer with fewer followers that gets more likes, shares and comments is usually a better value for your business than someone with little to no engagement (or mostly spammy followers). – Vinny La Barbera, imFORZA

2. Remember Influencers Are A Commodity

Vanity metrics like number of followers or even engagement can be misleading. Demand to know audience demographics and to include tracking links. Every influencer today has hundreds of twins. If they aren’t cooperating, go after another one. – Gil Eyal, HYPR

3. Treat It As Part Of Your Ad Budget

The most common misconception for influencer marketing is that it can be done at a low cost or in trade for a product or service. However, in the past year, as influencer marketing has significantly grown, so have the associated rates. It’s important to have a dedicated budget set aside for this kind of marketing. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

4. Keep An Eye On The Truth In Advertising Act

Influencers have been gaining some negative attention for deceptive practices. It’s essential to monitor the integrity and honesty of the messages created by the influencers — they’re representing your brand. Allow them plenty of opportunities to interact with your products and/or services to give them a chance to represent you with an authentic voice. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

5. Do Your Homework

Influencer marketing could be a great addition to a campaign when executed properly. My biggest piece of advice is to properly vet your influencer(s). You want to make sure that the influencer will not only align with the brand but that their followers are also a part of your target market so you can be sure they will benefit the campaign. – Megan Bedera, Amplify Relations

6. Think Long-Term

If you expect to see a spike in sales results from an influencer in the first month, you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Brands engaged with influencers need to view them as compounding benefits, not salespeople who will produce short-term results. Make sure you have tracking in place to measure downstream effects in organic search and social reach. – Dan Golden, Be Found Online

7. Consider Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers can be the best way to engage with influencers. In many cases, these influencers have a strong, engaged following who can influence consumers. If they are aligned with your business, the results can be better than larger influencers. Micro-influencers often don’t require large payments for sponsorship. The return is better, and you can build a solid partnership with them. – Gina Michnowicz, Union+Webster

8. Be Patient; It’s Worth It

Businesses that use influencer marketing may realize that it could take a while to expand brand reach, but once it kicks in, you’ll see a big increase in brand awareness. For those in a competitive marketplace, you have the chance to attract the right audiences so they can learn more about your brand, as well as the products and services you have. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

9. Clarify Expectations First

It is important to ensure both parties have very clear expectations on what is required from the partnership. Influencer marketing is a powerful tool in today’s marketing landscape, but can also be risky if both parties are not on board with expectations. We create very clear contracts that specifically outline communication expectations, promotion details, multimedia needs and ownership. – Allie Danziger, Integrate Agency

10. Demand Real ROI

Run the numbers against a quality digital media buy and do a direct comparison of ROI. Building general awareness isn’t enough anymore, and influencers whose fans know they’re paid shills often lack the credibility you’re looking for. Can you “grow your own” influencers, or focus on the low-cost grassroots market and accomplish the same thing or better? In most cases, the answer is yes. – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan

 

11. Focus On Relevance

When thinking about the content you’ll be pitching, it’s important to consider the audience you’re trying to reach. Think about your buyer personas and be sure the content you are creating is funny, useful or inspiring to that group. Personality, followers and engagement are all important considerations, but relevance is number one. – Twila Grissom, Acorn Digital Strategy

12. Have Something To Offer

No one can deny the power of influencer marketing and how fast results can really accrue. Getting in touch with an influencer sounds easy, but you have to have something to bring to the table. Influencer marketing is not brand philanthropy. Find an influencer who aligns with your brand’s mission and one you can afford to pay or market on behalf of. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

13. Ask To Test Their Services

As an influencer myself, I want to ensure that a relationship with a vendor is going to be advantageous to both them as well as accepted by my audience. I often run small tests for companies to see what the response is from my audience before we ever get to building out a proposal and have them pay me. Any influencer who cares about your success and their community will do the same. – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

14. Measure Success Against The Objective

Influencer marketing is an advertising expense. However, it is a unique marketing vehicle and needs to be measured based on its true objective. I often see influencer marketing budgets cut because it’s not directly contributing to sales in a short timeframe. Measure influencer marketing by what you want to achieve — perhaps impressions, web traffic, assisted conversions. – Julie HowellPostali

15. Align Your Content Calendars

Influencer marketing and SEO have traditionally employed different methods. But both disciplines are more alike than they may seem. When both sides work together, they can attain huge results for brand reputation and marketing. These combined efforts allow both influencer marketers and SEO agencies to positively affect more KPIs. Our advice: Collaborate your content calendars. – Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/01/09/15-reasons-to-add-influencer-marketing-to-your-business-strategy/#befdbcc2c3b5



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