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Influencer marketing is one of the hottest trends in marketing. The concept is not new, but it has changed with the digital age. For years, celebrities have been paid to promote a brand, product, or service on television, radio, and print publications. Journalists, writers, and critics have always written articles about restaurants, movies, cars, travel destinations, etc. that influence consumer behavior. These people are influencers. In the digital age, influencers have moved to social media, blogs, podcasts, and YouTube.

Influencer marketing is using the leverage of someone who has built a strong digital following and reputation to promote a product, support a brand, create content, and drive brand awareness and sales. Influencers are not necessarily celebrities. They can be a local foodie that writes a blog about restaurants, a travel guru that writes about destinations on social media, or a mechanic that produces YouTube videos of how to work on a car. The important factor is they have a substantial digital following that trusts their opinion.

Why Is Influence Marketing Effective?

People don’t trust advertisements as much as they trust testimonials. This fact is especially true for millennials (ages 24 to 38). According to Forbes, only about 1% of millennials trust advertisements, whereas 33% trust blogs and customer reviews before making a purchase. They tend to believe that advertisements are not authentic.

Influencer marketing brings this trust factor to a larger target audience. The top influencer marketing channels are Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. These channels are known for their reach and content.

How Do I Find An Influencer?

First, you need to do research about the your target audience. On Instagram and Twitter, you can search hashtags (#) for content related to your product or service. Then you can see who is writing content about those products and services, see how many followers they have, and the engagement from their followers. If your target audience is local, you can narrow your search to more local influencers. On YouTube, the search function can be used in the same manner.

Once you find some influencers that you think might be a good spokesperson for your business, reach out to them in a private message, email, or through their website. Of course, most influencers will expect some form of compensation, but it does not always mean cash. Compensation could be free product or a percentage of the sales generated by the influencer. This can be easily tracked by creating a separate landing page on your website for purchases or inquiries made by influencer traffic.

Types of Influencer Promotions

  • Testimonials – Influencer can give a personal testimonial about your products or services.
  • Product Demonstration – This is particularly effective using videos.
  • Sales Pitch – Create a script where the influencer pitches your products or services to their audience.
  • Free or Discounted Products – Product giveaways and discounts are a great way to drive traffic to your website.
  • Location Tours – Bring the influencer to your business and do a video tour. The influencer could interview the business owner and employees. This personalizes the business and makes it more authentic.

Influencer marketing is a modern twist on the proven “paid spokesperson” marketing model. There is a reason that this model has survived throughout the decades, because it works. Using an influencer to promote your business builds trust and connects to an audience and that is what marketing is all about. If you need help creating your influencer marketing strategy, let us know. We are here to help.