Many brands face a serious consumer trust crisis.
The reason for that lies in misleading and false statements and all those customer expectations that companies fail to live up to.
No wonder that a stunning 92% of consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from others over brand messages. Even if those “others” are perfect strangers.
An even more illustrative stat: 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers think that stars of this video platform are more relatable than traditional celebrities.
All these facts speak volumes about why it’s essential to have an effective influencer marketing strategy in place.
Here’s how to make the most of working with influencers and steal some of their thunder.
1. Pick the Right Influencer
This is the most important step in the process.
Just like you collected as much relevant information as possible to help you understand your target audience’s problems, needs, preferences, and interests, you have to do your research and shortlist a couple of influencers with whom you share some core values.
Ideally, you can find influencers whose content is aligned with your products and messaging.
As for the size of their following, don’t be upset if your budget limits you to micro-influencers with up to 50,000 fans. It’s true that big-time celebrities like the Kardashians or Selena Gomez have a ridiculously huge reach, but micro-influencers usually beat them in terms of follower loyalty and genuine engagement.
In other words, your brand might greatly benefit from collaborating with a niche influencer. Their devoted followers are always eager to hear their product recommendations and act on them.
2. Send Them Freebies
Everybody loves cool, free merchandise. Influencers are no exception.
But, before you start spoiling them with gifts, make sure to reach out to discuss your potential partnership. This way, you’ll eliminate the element of unpleasant surprise, e.g. perhaps the exposure you get will not match your expectations.
This approach works only if the influencer you pick shares the same level of passion and a similar visual style as your brand.
If they like your gifts, they will be more than happy to share the insider info with their following.
However, your gifts won’t do the trick for all influencers. Some will expect to be paid, which is why you need to calculate the ROI of your partnership and see how cost-effective this deal is.
3. Benefit from Blog Post Reviews
Apart from sharing images of your products and mentioning your brand in their posts, influencers can give your exposure a boost by writing blog post reviews.
Social proof plays an important role when it comes to making a purchasing decision – 88% of buyers report that they are influenced by reviews.
This percentage goes up when a credible blogger shares their opinion about a particular product or service. Members of their audience will be more likely to take a cue and decide to give it a try.
This tactic can be combined with SEO for even better results.
Namely, if the review is sprinkled with relevant keywords and phrases, it can easily climb Google’s ranking ladder. This can serve to further expand your reach and bring your website even more high-quality traffic.
Asking the influencer to add a link to your website within the review is yet another good way to benefit from SEO friendly content. This way, you’ll earn some much-needed and valuable backlinks, which are essential for your online reputation and domain authority.
It’s worth noting that influencers usually request a certain level of creative control over the content they generate. This will allow them to present your products or services in an authentic manner, which will in turn resonate with their audience.
4. Co-Host a Webinar
According to 73% of marketing and sales leaders, webinars are one of the best ways to generate leads.
By joining forces and co-hosting a webinar with an influencer, you’ll be able to get into the spotlight. Needless to say, people will perceive this a sign that you’re an expert in the field too, which will help you build authority and trust in both you as well as your brand.
Well-thought-out live webinars are considered low-hanging fruit in terms of generating traffic, especially if they provide value and educate your target audience. That’s what makes this approach particularly popular in B2B.
Such online events allow you to soft-sell your products without having to be pushy, they help you build meaningful relationships, and they keep your audience engaged.
And the influencer is the cherry on top.
Given that this tactic will send qualified leads your way, it’s important to have an intuitive website with great UX and usability.
Otherwise, you can expect these hard-earned visitors to bounce, if they arrive and are disappointed with what they see. To avoid this worst case scenario, find UX experts who can help you make a stellar first impression and minimize your bounce rate.
5. Write Guest Posts
Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to reach an influencer’s audience and promote your brand.
Not only will you be highlighted on a blog post or article that is followed by many potential clients, but you’ll also manage to earn some valuable authority backlinks, cement your reputation as an industry expert, and attract an army of genuinely interested visitors to your website.
Of course, in order to be published, your guest post has to be superb in terms of quality. It also has to address some of the target audience’s pain points in a helpful manner.
Make sure that your effort is educational, entertaining, and packed with actionable points. Also, try to speak the language of your intended readers and connect with them on an emotional level.
What you shouldn’t do is try to hard-sell and brag about your products in a blatant way. Being featured on the influencer’s social media channels is a great promotional achievement in itself, and it can land you a lot of new business opportunities.
Reap the Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can help you cut through the marketing noise and improve your brand awareness and recognition in a natural way which will appeal to your target audience.
This is why you should carefully plan out an influencer marketing strategy and put forth conscious effort to execute it correctly. Influencer marketing can be extremely powerful when handled in the right way.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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