Influencer marketing popularity is closely linked to social media, as it gave influencers a direct line of communications to their audience, fans, followers, etc. And while influencer marketing has been around for decades, many still associate influencer marketing with celebrity endorsements – which is in many ways very different to influencer marketing. Kim Kardashian may have a lot to do with this perception because we often hear social media celebrities associated with the word “influencer”. While she is undoubtedly an influencer, she is not a good representation of what a typical influencer can do for your business or your brand.
Who is an influencer?
An influencer can be a consultant, expert (for industry or product), thought leader, journalist, activist, regulator, and so on. For the most part, these are the types of influencers businesses partner with, so it’s not all about celebrities. So anyone that has an influence over potential customers is an influencer, irrespective of if they’re a celebrity or not.
How can an influencer add value to your business?
They can help you establish credibility in the market, encourage conversation around your brand, and directly drive more sales.
Let’s assume you are a phone manufacturer. One person you have to consider in your product launch plan is Marques Brownlee. If you are not familiar with Marques, he has a technology-focused YouTube channel (MKBHD). With over 5 million subscribers and 700+ million video views, he is considered by many to be today’s best technology reviewer.
Knowing that most people watch product reviews on Youtube before making a purchase, can you afford not to involve an influencer like Marques in your product launch? We don’t think so. It doesn’t have to be in the form of paid promotions; it can be a teaser campaign (product roomers), product launch, interview, product demo, review, how-to video, etc. The amount of publicity, credibility, and brand conversation an influencer like Marques can bring to your brand is hard to match with traditional advertising.
Can an influencer help B2B businesses?
At this point you may be thinking, ‘this is all great, but we don’t sell directly to consumers, so how can Influencers help B2B business’? You can use influencers to increase market awareness. For example, if you are a software (SaaS) company, one of the best ways to promote your brand is to get on the radar of tech influencers. They can be in the form of TechCrunch or Wired reporters, thought leaders like Ben Horowitz or Walter Isaacson, and bloggers like Anil Dash or Paul Thurrott. Having any of these influencers talk about your product or service will put your brand in front of millions, and even more importantly, millions that are in your market segment.
Influencer marketing is not reserved for celebrities like Kim Kardashian. All influencers (irrespective of the industry) play an essential role in today’s marketing, so next time you sit down and think about your marketing strategy, you need to include influencers in the conversation. More often then not you will identify many good reasons why they should be involved in your product launch or marketing campaign.