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In 1936, Dale Carnegie hit the nail on the head when he published How To Win Friends and Influence People. The man stated in a radio interview “You can win more friends in 2 months if you become genuinely interested in other people, than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Carnegie had a unique understanding of influencing people. As a teacher, he encouraged his students to stand up and talk about what they know and what irritates them.
Little to Carnegie’s knowledge, this sort of baring it all personal testimonial would become the most influential marketing tactic to date.
With the massive influx of social media channels, the traditional marketing world was flipped on its head. Brands are no longer the only ones with a platform to broadcast their message. Social media has given a stage to anyone with the wifi password.
Social media gave birth to a new and much trust worthier advertiser: the influencer.
An influencer is a regular person who has garnered a massive social media following by offering tips, giving advice, and recommending products to their loyal and trusting audience.
This concept slightly resembles the celebrity endorsement. Celebrities are still considered influencers; however, the most successful influencers are regular people: bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTube stars, and Snapchatters.
Their social media followings can range from thousands to millions of people. What warrants this kind of attention? These influencers are the kings of creating a constant stream of original content. From fitness to food, fashion, beauty and even mom life, all these influencers have their own channels where they have created personal content that reflects their own voice and aesthetic. They are the trusted source. Their followers respect and believe that their opinions are authentic and their advice genuine.
Followers trust the influencer and influencers are starting to prove to be as powerful as a friend referral to a brand.
Now, these influencers are not just promoting your product out of the goodness of their heart and genuine dedication to your brand. Many do promote products they use on their own, but companies paying influencers to promote their product is increasingly more common.
Millennials, who will this year collectively spend $200 billion, are said to look to digital content creators as major influencers on their purchasing decisions.
Although a majority of influencers are working for monetary compensation, there are micro-influencers who work for exclusive experiences and product.
Influencers help your business reach an audience you may not necessarily be able to reach on your own. While these “insta-famous” expensive influencers may have larger followings, they are less likely to have personal bonds with their audience. The micro-influencer tends to have a slightly smaller following but higher organic engagement. These micro-influencers know their audience. They take the time to answer their questions and respond to comments. Often their channels are more niche, which in turn attracts a more specific demographic.
According to Experticity, micro-influencers have 22.2x more conversations weekly than the average user and High Society reported that they are 6.7x more efficient through engagement than those with much larger followings.
Look to your customer’s social media pages to see what they like, whom they follow and what they share. Then look for bloggers and social media stars with audiences that are similar to your target demographic.
Find someone that not only has great organic engagement but also aligns with your brand and voice. Do your research to make sure that your brand would be relevant to the engaged community of followers this influencer has.
*MarketTap helps small businesses like yours discover marketing solutions. You can a book a free consultation with a marketing specialist to help you with finding the perfect influencer for your business.
As this new form of testimonial advertising becomes increasingly more popular, ground rules are being laid to ensure a level playing field.
Astroturfing is the practice of making a sponsored message look like it’s coming from an unbiased third party.
Rules and guidelines are coming into play that will prevent this. Twitter and Instagram influencers are required to insert #ad or #sponsored tags, front and center, of any post that features a brand sponsorship. In the UK and soon in North America, YouTubers are required to state on-camera that the product they are promoting is being paid for. If the declaration of a sponsored post is in a description, that disclaimer must appear above the fold. There are still accounts of advertisers and brands that try to swindle these influencers by including clauses in contracts that state they must be honest and truthful in their testimonials, but that they too must not say a negative word during, or up to 6 months following their post.
It is no secret that this form of influencer promoted testimonial advertising is wildly beneficial to brands and businesses. Finding an influencer to work with could be one of the most advantageous marketing strategies out there today.
A community of loyal and happy consumers is what will drive your business. As Dale Carnegie stated, if you get to know them and understand their wants and needs, you can guarantee you will win them over. Find an influencer that your community already trusts and place your product in their hands. There is nothing like a friendly referral from a trusted source. An influencer could be your wisest business investment to date.