Out with the old, in with the influencers
We’re All Spending More Time Online
According to Digital Information World, 47% of people worldwide are spending more time on social media since COVID-19 hit. Brands should see this as an opportunity to channel their authentic narrative through strategically targeted influencers. But where do these influencers come from — and which are best suited to tell your brand story?
Find Influencers Who Actually Influence
People don’t magically become influencers overnight. It takes time, quality content, valuable opinions, and so much more for an online personality to achieve influencer status — especially a credible one. The first concrete steps an aspiring influencer must take include defining their industry niche, based on an inherent or learned skill set such as mobile device testing or software programming, and developing their personal brand. It’s especially important for brands new to influencer marketing to identify seasoned influencers who already have credible followings and developed personal brands, micro-influencers included.
Influencers must also learn to serve their audience by understanding who’s watching, listening, and acting on their advice. Finding influencers who post relevant, consistent content that inspires engaging conversations around products is crucial if your brand wishes to form organic partnerships with credible online personalities. Influencers spend a lot of time building relationships — it’s important to seek out influencers who’ve gained clout by serving their audience’s needs, not just pitching products. This way, your influencers can act as brand ambassadors who build authentic communities, not as product pushers.
Connecting Content Reigns Supreme
Consumers are turning to social media as an escape from the madness and malaise of sheltering in place for an extended time. They don’t want their feeds filled with the same old hand-washing tips anymore. People want relatable, relevant, and engaging content — and influencers can deliver that on behalf of your brand. To accommodate those bored at home, many influencers are taking their content live for the first time. Stream Elements reported the live-streaming sector grew a full 45% between March and April alone. People at home are seeking out new ways to connect during these unprecedented times, and influencers play a special part in igniting those new connections.
Brands Must Commit to Influencer Marketing
The true power of influencers comes from building genuine relationships with brands over time. Influencers have been proven to be less effective in instances of one-off product promotions. Brands should continue to work with influencers they’ve had organic success with instead of trying to accelerate by farming or hiring up-and-coming influencers who may require less compensation. Platforms such as Upfluence, a full-scale influencer search engine, and HypeAuditor, a ranking system based on quality of followers and authentic engagement, can help with selecting the best influencers to tell your brand’s story.
Brands have a true opportunity to gain a market share advantage: a recent study showed that only 10% of organizations are running truly integrated influencer programs. Finding and utilizing credible influencers, or “Credfluencers,” who produce quality content is key, and cutting corners does not ultimately result in high-quality content that consumers will consider worthy of their attention.
TikTok on the Rise
With influencer marketing, brands have the advantage of multi-platform distribution. Instagram isn’t the only app in the room — TikTok, for example, is full of audience share opportunities many brands have yet to exploit. In the first quarter of 2020, it was installed over 300 million times. The increasingly popular app unlocked the secret to serialized influencer content: branded installments that compel viewers to return week after week.
This opened the door for B2B marketers to step into the world of TikTok by engaging in weekly product demonstrations or tech talks about current industry trends, products, services, and more. TikTok is truly what your brand, or influencers, make it. Getting people to engage with your products can be difficult in the B2B space; leveraging technical experts’ opinions on social media can provide authentic engagement with your product or service.
The Power of Credible Influence
Some influencers are known to push hair-care products or cheap electronics. Credfluencers are credible resources that consumers seek out for trusted information, opinions, and reviews. This is crucial to keep in mind when engaging influencers to share your brand’s story. One-off product promotions have little credibility behind them — find influential content creators interested in long-term partnerships that will result in real promotions, conversations, and customer relationships.
There are no preconceived notions or traditional limitations to influencer-driven marketing. It’s time to explore the myriad new and unique ways your brand can break through ad clutter with the help of influencers your audience already trusts.