By Stephen Garfield
In the digital age, it’s hard to miss the prominence of social media marketing. Whether you’re branding or marketing, you cannot overlook the vast, untapped audiences that social media platforms offer. However, social media marketing strategies and paid ads may not always suffice to effectively grow your brand. If that’s the case for you, the growing prominence of influencer marketing may deserve your attention. Let us explain why, as we delve into it and outline 6 ways to grow your brand with influencer marketing.
Is influencer marketing worth it?
Before we begin, you may rightfully wonder if influencer marketing is now worth the effort. Perhaps you wonder if it’s the right choice for you – an equally understandable concern. Starting with the former, Statista found that the global influencer market more than doubled between 2019 and 2021. Specifically, it grew from $6.5 billion to $13.8 billion – within two short years.
Of course, such findings may only signify that this form of marketing expands – not that it’s for you. To begin addressing that, then, let us use some of Startupbonzai’s aggregated statistics to explore influencer marketing’s actual effectiveness:
- “80% of consumers have purchased something via an influencer recommendation”.
- “41% of customers discover new products through influencers weekly”.
- “Almost 40% of users on Twitter made a purchase based on an influencer Tweet”.
But you may still wonder if you can make use of this form of marketing for your business. Not all businesses can use influencer marketing equally well, and it does entail some notable challenges. So, while we can’t definitively say it is right for you, we can explore some notable strategies to help you make this call yourself.
6 ways to grow your brand with influencer marketing
There are as many ways to use influencer marketing as there are businesses and influencers. Among them, consider if the following are a good fit for your business.
#1 Augment your social media campaigns
Perhaps the clearest, most straightforward way to grow your brand with influencer marketing is to simply have it augment your social media strategies. To do so, you may start by using your insights into audience targeting to deduce such factors as the following:
- Which platforms do your audiences use the most?
- What types of content best resonate with them?
- How much brand awareness do your ongoing campaigns achieve?
With such information in hand, you may use influencer marketing selectively, depending on your existing campaigns. Influencermarketinghub found that 67% of surveyed brands prefer campaign-based influencer marketing rather than always-on. There’s a good reason for that; your needs will change over time, and each campaign is different.
#2 Refine your branding and amass social credit
Still, whether you opt for selective or always-on influencer marketing, your primary purpose – and built-in gain – would be enhanced branding. Influencers humanize brands, providing more authentic communication than typical marketing does. So for this purpose you may consider such practices as the following:
- Create “snackable”, bite-sized content that best showcases your brand. Consider the emotional associations your content produces to best cater to your audience.
- Let your influencers review your products or services. If they can share audience reviews within their content, that’s even better.
- Participate in their content yourself. Consider AMAs, Q&As, or simple guest appearances – nothing defines humanized outreach better than promoting the faces behind the brand.
#3 Leverage your influencers’ identity
Now, it is indeed your influencers’ identity that offers authenticity. Their audiences follow them for it and leveraging it is probably the best way to connect with them. Thus, while your own brand criteria should always factor in too, consider the following:
- Get them involved in your content strategy. If they’re on a platform you’re not experienced in, their insights can offer immense help.
- Let them be creative. Dictating their every word will hamper their authenticity – so you can let them be themselves instead of giving them a script to follow to the letter.
- Let their niche mesh with yours. Consider, for example, how food influencer Josh Elkin promoted an AXE product as a way to “keep [his] hair out of falling into [his] breakfast”.
#4 Boost engagement through sneak peeks and hashtags
With the above in mind, your social media campaigns always thrive on engagement. What better way to engage with your influencers’ audiences and grow your brand with influencer marketing than with ways that already work?
- Give them exclusive previews. Few things build as much hype as previews, and your influencers will know how to excite their audiences.
- Start a hashtag. Should you be using Twitter, have your influencers promote a campaign-specific hashtag for more visibility. Consider Maybelline’s #TheGlamourEye as an example of a very successful hashtag, whose campaign garnered excellent ROI.
#5 Get behind a cause
Returning to branding, you’ve likely heard that consumers value socially responsible brands. Indeed, word-of-mouth travels exponentially farther if your brand showcases an ethical side. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer supports this notion, too, with ethics taking center stage toward building trust.
With that in mind, you may find a cause that aligns with your brand’s image and values. Consider social inequalities, discrimination, and other noble causes. That’s not to say you should explicitly take strong political stances, as those may divide contemporary audiences. But simply supporting your local communities should be an excellent starting point – especially if your influencers are as invested in your causes as you are.
#6 Let it enhance your SEO
Finally, social media strategies aside, chances are you’re delving into Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This set of practices boosts your content’s search engine visibility, and influencer marketing just so happens to complement it perfectly. Should your other efforts work, the additional traffic and engagement will enhance your off-page SEO signals. Consider referral traffic volume and bounce rates; influencers will bring high volumes of engaged visitors interested in your brand. That’s exactly what search engines want to rank you higher and let your brand thrive.
Stephen Garfield is an entrepreneur, digital marketing enthusiast, and aspiring author. He frequently contributes content to Digital Dot New York, where he shares his insights into SEO and social media marketing. When he doesn’t, he studies for his MSc in psychology.