Just imagine yourself as a marketing head of a theme park who is charged to announce a new attraction. What will you do? The old school marketing suggests that you pull out your wallet, spend millions in “creative” Madison Avenue advertising techniques, hire a big PR agency, and invest in blimps and direct mails. Well, that’s not what Cindy Gordon, VP of marketing at Universal Orlando, did when she launched their latest theme, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Cindy just told seven (yes, you heard it right – 7!) people about the new attraction. And those seven people told tens of thousands which spread the spell over the mainstream media generating a crowd of 350 million people at the theme’s inaugural.
But how do you get 350 million people fighting against the dark lord by telling just 7 muggles? There must be some magic involved, right? Well, YES magic was involved and the spell is called “Influencer marketing”.
The 7 people Gordon chose were hand-picked top Harry Potter fanatics. These 7 influencers further used word-of-mouse to convey the news to thousands of their followers, thus spreading it like a wildfire to the media and 350 million more Harry Potter fans!
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook
It’s no secret that social media and content marketing are the pivotal points of the new world of marketing. Consumers now look at fellow consumers or influencers to make a purchase decision. Influencer marketing helps you use these key leaders to drive your brand’s message to a larger potential audience.
But why would you need other people when you have PR agencies and other renowned marketing tactics?
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Your brand’s online success hinges on its ability to build trust among its online consumers. A recent report by Ad Age found that fewer than 25% of consumers trust online advertisements or print publications. With more than 47% of all online consumers using Adblock technology in 2015, it is clear that your users are dissatisfied with digital advertising.
Influencer marketing helps your brand break into the trust loop in a way that feels organic and authentic. And solidifying this point is this study by McKinsey, stating that marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and the customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
The best way to drive sales is to identify influencers in your field, get them to work for you, and leverage their voice to spread your brand message.
Now that you know why influencers make an important part of your marketing plan, how do you get these authority figures to work for your brand?
The first and foremost step in building an advocate network for your brand is to identify the influencers. There are so many influencers that can help promote your brand. Using celebrities or bloggers with a large social following may leave your business high on awareness but can lower the trust and drain out your bank account.
A study from Nielsen found that only 18% of users trust celebrities, bloggers or other influencers that they perceive as having an agenda. With celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, reportedly charging $13,000 for every promotional tweet, and getting a drop of 25% in their average engagement rate, it is clear that these celebs are not the right influencers.
The golden rule of influencer marketing is to go with quality over quantity and build an organic influencer circle for your brand. Erin Wayne, popularly known as Aureylian, is a mother and has 108K Insta followers (much less than Khloe’s 56.7m followers) but still managed to play an important part in SpaghettiOs’ 50th Anniversary campaign success just by being herself.
In the hope that the above point has struck a cord, take in the following steps to build a reliable influencer relationship for your brand:
Let us get this straight – Influencer marketing isn’t direct mail 2.0. Just delivering a promotional printed piece in your targeted influencer’s mail won’t do it for you. Be useful to them and in turn, they will be useful to your brand. After identifying the relevant influencers for your business, spend time creating value for them in a way that shows what you’re about. And believe us, you will get yourself a reliable and genuine set of influencers.
It is important to realize that influencers are not mere amplification vessels – they are human as well. The more you interact with your brand’s influencers, the more you will get know that influencer marketing is above and beyond just shouting out your brand’s message.
Influencer marketing also requires you providing your influencers with a persistent, memorable experience that ought to give rise to meaningful and genuine interactions between your brand and them. The experience should be powerful enough to motivate these authority figures to advocate your business and share its message.
If you want to build an organic influencer circle that is reliable and relevant for your brand, you have to be worthy of it. Move beyond just pitching and find possibilities for your brand to augment the work of your influencers.
Remember, authentic influencers care what their audiences want and are hungry for unique experiences to share.
The above are just a few tips to get you on board with an influencer marketing action plan. The road to success will start with being authentic and building strong relationships with your influencers. If you want your brand to benefit from the great power of influencer marketing, why not get in touch with 42Works!
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