This is the age of ad blockers. Did you know that more than 615 million devices have installed ad blockers? Consumers seem to hate ads and who can blame them?

There are simply too many ads. It bores you to just look them. A few might be good but that does not mean that everyone wants ads popping up everywhere they go.

Why do people block ads? The answer does not need much thought as anyone who has ever browsed the Internet will know the feeling of annoyance when they are distracted by an ad. Besides ads are a nuisance as they slow down page loads. It’s bad when a consumer has a poor experience but it’s worse when ads actually drive potential consumers away.

The proverb “Too much of anything is good for nothing” echoes every time I see a pop up that says an ad is blocked. (This happens more often than you think)

So, what is the solution to this?

How can marketers reach their target audience without ads?

It is clear that people do not believe in promises that ads offer as they strive to look for authenticity. But they are more than willing to try products when it is recommended to them. They seem to look for reviews, ratings, and opinions of others before they make a purchase. And this is where Influencer Marketing comes in.

Well, If you think about it, Influencer Marketing is one of the fastest ways to reach, raise and improve relationships with your audience.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Creating strategic relationships with individuals who have an influence over likely buyers results in driving any brand’s message and increases credibility or the trust factor. This is called Influencer marketing.

The individuals who hold a sway over large masses are called Influencers. The Influencer’s popularity/familiarity helps marketers sell.

There are two kinds of Influencers. Micro Influencers are those who you can easily relate to as they are people with followers less than Macro Influencers (10,000 to 90,000 followers). They also have higher engagement rates and a deeper personal connection with their followers.

Now, Macro Influencers can be defined easily with an example. Brands would be willing to pay through their noses to get their hands on a picture of Lebron James, Kim Kardashian or her sisters with their product (I’m not exaggerating). These celebrities with an enormous amount of followers are called Macro Influencers.

Why and how do Influencers hold the power of influence over common masses?

To understand this, Let’s dive into a little bit of human psychology, shall we?

Influencer marketing uses a combination of social and psychological theories to influence any buyer.

In simple terms, Man is a social animal who craves acceptance. He will want to conform himself to the social standards that trends or is considered the norm during any time period.

And how does he do this?

Any man will first observe his immediate community and then will go on to look at others outside his immediate circle whose opinions he trusts or considers. The things that anyone in this combined social circle does will have some kind of impact. Due to the rise of social media platforms, every man’s circle has widened in this era. He is affected or influenced by so many factors and people. Marketers can use this as an advantage and this is where Influencers come in.

Influencers basically have a wide and a devoted audience. These Influencers are sometimes even capable of introducing new thoughts and changing old ones in the minds of their audience.

How is this even possible?

The idea behind this is “subconscious marketing”. (No. I did not make that term up. You can find more about it here.)

Influencers are just like you and me. But what makes them different is that they are more passionate than the rest of us and by showcasing their passion or talents in a specific area, they have garnered a following by doing totally ordinary things like cooking, putting on makeup, blogging or reviewing etc.

And when they promote something by using it or just by reviewing it, our mind unconsciously believes or at least considers them to be right. This often pushes any potential buyer to become an actual buyer.

Why Influencer Marketing is the next big thing?

  • What moves an audience? Authentic quality content. Influencers seem to have the knack for producing such content. Influencers also seem to possess the talent of promoting any product without it being seen as a promotion or an advertisement.

Example: Tinder engaged with a few meme creating accounts in Instagram with an aim to raise brand awareness. @shitheadsteve here explicitly mentions the brand name but anyone can see that this doesn’t look like anything close to a promotion. 

  • Small businesses have found Influencer marketing to be incredible as it gives their brand a portrayal of them being big players. To do this, you must have quality content that convinces an Influencer to root for you. Your brand might just have 1000 followers but when an Influencer promotes it and if they have 10,000 followers, you’re going to reap in benefits even if a fraction of that audience visits your page. 

Example: When Filip Tysander found his brand – Daniel Wellington in 2011 and built it from scratch, no one would have thought that he could sell a million watches by 2014. How was this done?

Unlike top brands that used celebrities to endorse their brand, Tysander used the combined power of many micro influencers to increase his brand’s visibility. All his Influencers will have promo codes that their audiences can use. He also held the #DWPickoftheDay where a buyer’s photo with the watch is chosen and shared on the brand’s Instagram page. The chosen buyer will also get a free watch. To add more, he even partnered with a few Pet Instagram accounts on Instagram like @canadianbros and @shadow_scuba to widen his audience. (Add picture) 

  • Even if you don’t get click-throughs right away, Influencer marketing makes sure that your brand’s credibility increases and stays.
  • Even though most Influencers expect to be paid for their promotions, the ROI will make considerably increase as you build relationships with your brand’s Influencers. Their audience will eventually be led to believe that the Influencer loves your product.
  • Like I said, This is the age of ad-blockers and Influencer marketing will help with your previous losses. Besides, Influencer marketing lets you connect with your consumers on a personal level.

Here comes the difficult part. How do you find Influencers for your brand?

There are millions of Influencers out there. How do you find the best ones?

But before that,

Here are a few things you should keep in mind before finding Influencers.

Most Importantly, choose what kind of Influencer you want – Micro or Macro.

  • Find Influencers in your niche or at least related to what you do. This will be an effective way to reach a wide audience and they will actually be your brand’s target audience.
  • The number of followers an Influencer has should not be the deciding factor to choose an Influencer. Everyone knows that hacks like using bots on social media can increase followers. Do not use this count to measure an Influencer’s popularity.
  • Analyze any Influencer’s profile before you choose. You’ll need to pay more attention to engagement data. Take a look at how people are interacting with the Influencer. Also notice the likes, shares, comments, tweets or retweets etc.
  • Find which social media platform will work best for you. This will help you choose an appropriate Influencer.
  • You’ll also need to look at the ways an Influencer uses content to reach their content. Different Influencers have different approaches to content creation. Some may prefer blogging while others may choose videos or images.
  • For your brand’s safety purposes, you’ll need to see if any of the Influencers you want to associate with indulge in any kind of hate speeches or if they have displayed questionable conduct in the past. You’ll probably want to get them to tell you that they will not involve themselves in hate crimes or any other controversies for that matter. Remember the backlash faced by brands that employed the famous YouTuber Logan Paul to mention their brands? Brands and advertisers have to take the issue of content safety more seriously these days.

How to find top Influencers for your brand?

You can look for hashtags that are trending in your niche or industry. It is time-consuming but you’ll be able to find Influencers who’ve either shared or promoted content that is similar to yours.

The most popular and a comparatively easier method is to use Influencer sourcing tools.

Tweeple Search searches for your query/keyword in the article content people have shared rather than in their bio texts. You can even see the list of articles they’ve shared. Tweeple Search also ranks results by the number of shares those articles got. This means that those Twitter users have actually influenced a topic as opposed to merely having specified it in their bio text. You can also compare any two accounts. 

With Social Animal you get the complete package to devise your content marketing strategy. Social Animal’s Influencer search also follows a similar algorithm and it provides you with a list of Influencers even if you are not online. All you have to do is enter keywords that are relevant to your niche and Social Animal delivers the best Influencer matches for that particular keyword directly to your inbox every day.  

How to reach out to Influencers?

Follow the below steps to effectively connect and establish relationships with Influencers.

  1. Find and follow all their social media profiles.
  2. Start sharing their content on your pages.
  3. Initiate contact. Personalized emails are better than reaching out to them via their social media profiles.
  4. Be patient and do not badger them with messages.
  5. Give them time before you send a follow-up email.

The Don’ts in Influencer Marketing

  1. Do not use Influencers for solely promoting your content. Let them create content for you. The Influencer’s content has a higher chance of moving the audience than yours.
  2. Never stop yourself from sharing your Influencer’s content on your page. Sharing content depicting Influencers using or reviewing your product will boost your existing audience’s trust.
  3. Don’t take complete control. Let them have their say in the campaign that you plan.
  4. Don’t forget to show your appreciation. Make sure that your compensation meets their standards.
  5. Don’t be persistent and never pressurize them. Give them time to work and space for creativity.

As a marketer, you must know that all marketing strategies take time and you cannot hope to see results overnight. However, deciding on the right influencer and creating an effective campaign can be a game changer for your business.

Author

Sowndarya Kishore is a Content Marketer at Social Animal. A marketer by day and a reader by night, she loves to discuss herself in the third person. Follow her on Twitter.

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