Marketing of a business or brand, in recent times, has undergone a lot of transformation. Transformation in the sense that there are more options, techniques and strategies that can be applied and used to ensure that the public is made aware of a company’s products and services. One of this strategies that can be deployed is Influencer Marketing.
Influencer marketing (dictionary definition) is a form of digital marketing involving endorsements from influencers, people and organizations who have expert knowledge and social influence in a respective field.
The internet has certainly become more accessible to many people and the advent of social media and digital platforms has brought a new dynamic to the game. It is in the light of this that the Public Relations (PR) professionals and agencies working with many brands advise on the use of influencers.
We have seen a lot of companies and brands resorting to using influencers to sell their products and services. There are many strategies also used in selecting the right influencer to market your product (a topic for another day) however, whether an influencer’s audience is small or large, he/she can reach consumers via their blogs and social networks in a way that brands may not be able to. Many people have come to appreciate more the personal touch that comes with influencers. The fact that someone they know is endorsing a product or service, must mean that it is a product or service to be considered for purchase or use.
Below are reasons why influencer marketing is a necessary PR strategy for brands:
First and foremost, paid advertising no longer appeals to many consumers hence the need to fall on influencer marketing. Whether it is traditional media or digital media, people will always look at paid advertising with a lot of questions in mind. Many people are of the view that unlike paid advertising, influencer marketing connects directly with the consumer base, earning credibility and trust. Because influencers have a reputation to maintain, it is assumed that they more often than not promote only the product they have tested, are satisfied with and are willing to be associated with.
Secondly, influencer marketing is a cost-effective marketing tool. By means of influencer marketing, brands are able to have a much more intimate interaction with their audience. This gives room and opportunity for feedback, mostly through the social media handles of influencers or even directly for people who have a personal relationship with them. In this manner, brands are able to cut cost in the sense that two things can be done in one activity i.e. messages and products are put out there and insight from consumers is received in the form of feedback. Information gathered in the process may inform the modification and improvement of a product or its complete withdrawal from the market.
In addition, influencer marketing can be tracked, hence the need for their incorporation into the PR strategies of brands.For a long time, accurately measuring the impact of a traditional PR campaign has been a challenging task for most PR professionals. This makes it prudent to resort to other marketing strategies. Influencer marketing can be tracked by using various metrics such as likes, brand mentions, click-through rates, referral traffic and many others.
Influencer marketing strategies mostly consist of:
- Identifying the people and topics of influence that speak to a brand’s targets consumers.
- Vetting the influencers who are a good fit with one’s brand. What content do they post, what is their reach, are they aligned to your brand values? You would not want to work with an influencer for example who in the recent past worked with a competing brand as it may confuse the public.
- Repeating strategies that have been proven to work for the brand, as far as influencer marketing is concerned.
In a nutshell, it is important as PR professionals to be aware of the trends of the practice and at the moment, influencer marketing, whether using macro or micro influencers as a PR strategy has a lot of benefits to offer brands.
Emma Wenani is Chief Director at Global Media Alliance.
LinkedIn: Emma Wenani