Influencer marketing is a relatively new term which refers to a form of social media marketing whereby a business receives an endorsement from a well-known person or organisation known as an ‘influencer’.
We’ve been seeing forms of this for many years. In the early days of advertising companies might state in a print advert or poster that a well known person used their brand. Here is an example where Joan Crawford says Royal Cola tastes the best!
Product placement was also a very popular form of this kind of marketing. Here is Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada carrying a tray of takeout coffees with a Starbucks logo.
And some slightly more ironic examples from Wayne’s World.
As social media has become more popular and some people have gained millions of followers, the opportunity has arisen for money to be made promoting products or brands to these followers.
Most social media networks now require influencers to state when their posts endorsing a product have been created because the person received a payment or benefit (such as free products), but it can still be a great way of promoting a new product or brand because of the trust the influencer has built up with their audience.
If you are considering influencer marketing as part of your strategy ensure that you:
- Define your target audience and goals
- Research prospective influencers carefully (fake influencers often buy followers, so don’t be swayed by numbers alone)
- Choose one influencer with high engagement rather than lots with lower numbers
- Discuss your brand, product and guidelines with your chosen influencer, but don’t be afraid to incorporate your influencer’s ideas – they should know what their audience likes and dislikes and if you have chosen correctly their audience is your audience
- Rather than paying for a one-off post or promotion think about how you can build a long-term relationship with an influencer