For organizations experiencing high periods of growth, the implementation of a successful marketing campaign can be the difference between sinking or swimming. There are several high-impact strategies that can significantly move the needle and showcase ROI, but one in particular worth exploring is influencer relations.
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49 percent of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when making purchasing decisions. Influencers are without question a powerful vehicle that can propel companies to the next level. Increasingly, CMOs are incorporating influencers as essential components of their annual and bi-annual plans.
Through influencers, marketers align their companies and offerings with authentic individuals that carry significant weight among their communities. The real power of influencer marketing, however, is how it moves ideas to the right people at the right time.
For those organizations that have yet to experience the impact of partnering with influencers, or are looking for the competitive advantage that influencers offer, below are three key benefits to give your growing brand a leg up:
Quickly build trust
According to Outsell’s independent research, when influencers lend their credibility, it encourages others to convert. Earned exposure provides trustworthiness to the right prospects who are part of a pre-qualified influencer audience. Like any successful campaign, however, you need to go into it with a plan, particularly when it comes to building credibility among target personas.
Make sure messaging that influencers are utilizing aligns with the brand, and that the influencer understands your target audience. Stay in close contact and make sure to relay messaging shifts for a cohesive approach across all channels.
Consumers want to hear from trusted voices if a product or service is worth their time. This is one reason why online reviews are so significant for brands—the same goes for influencers. Influencers work across multiple platforms and help to move prospects through the sales funnel, from awareness all the way down to purchase.
That said, before you expect influencers to drive lead generation, first consider the goals of the program.
Why are you engaging in an influencer program and how will you measure success? It’s important to think about the deliverables, which can range from mentions, tweets, articles, website visits, guest blog posts, white papers, eBooks or trade show appearances on your behalf.
Ultimately, having this in place will generate the biggest impact on your sales cycle.
Reaching new audiences
With their cross-channel presence, influencers have the potential to connect with hard-to-reach groups. If you are an organization experiencing high growth, consider your audience and how this period of expansion might be escalating your customer base into new regions, new verticals or even new demographics. Take, for instance, a healthcare organization that just expanded into the Southeast. Depending on the value proposition of the product or service, they may look to engage with and start an influencer relationship withJennifer Arnold, MD, neonatologist and cancer survivor who has more than 262,000 Twitter followers, or David Perlmutter MD, neurologist and author of books on a low carb lifestyle who has more than 57,000 followers—both based in Florida.
Once your new target personas are identified to align with your growth phase, that’s when it’s time to engage.
A strong influencer strategy includes paid, earned and owned efforts, but it doesn’t necessarily mean finding the individual with the largest social following. In some cases, micro-influencers can be much more effective. While they have a smaller following, they have a more authentic voice and typically experience stronger engagement among followers. By maintaining a smaller following, micro-influencers are perfect for tapping into hard-to-reach audience segments.
When it comes to working with influencers, go deep and have a back-up plan. Influencers may not be doing this as a full-time job. You are entrusting your brand with these individuals. Remember, you will be known by the company you keep, so know with whom you are engaging.
For more information on the art and science of influencer marketing, check out PAN’s eBook “The Power of Voice.”
This article originally appeared on the PAN Communications blog; reprinted with permission.