A variety of recent studies have given credence to a new form of marketing, termed influencer marketing, that dictates a brand or company should market to specific individuals that hold sway in a particular market, rather than to entire demographics. Social media has proven to be rich soil for the sprouting seeds of influencer marketing, but emerging brands looking to establish both a defined identity and a solid relationship with their customers online often trip up when attempting to initiate an influencer marketing strategy. Here are three tips to avoid some of the most common mistakes.
Choose Authority Over Popularity
The most popular kids on the digital block might not be much more than that--entertainers or personalities that engage a wide range of audiences and score high on the likability scale, but don't offer much in the way of substance. When attempting to identify key influencers in social media, don't assume that the number of followers is synonymous with the degree of respect or credibility that an influencer is afforded in a given community. You should seek to determine the extent to which the influencer is perceived as an expert, and the strength of the influencer's relationship with those who perceive them as such.
Brand Identity Should Be Malleable
Too often, nascent companies or brands try to impose a predefined and inflexible identity onto a certain demographic. While knowing your niche in the market and having a strong corporate identity are certainly prerequisites to success, marketers often underestimate the power of the influential consumer in shaping the identity of the brand. Engage directly with influencers on social media platforms to familiarize yourself with their perceptions, and use their feedback to evolve your brand and message.
Monitor Customer Needs
Identifying the perfect influencer and connecting with them directly via social media to fine-tune your brand's identity and message isn't the end of the road for influencer marketing. Companies should ensure that particular influencers are themselves correctly identifying the needs of the potential customers they reach. If, for example, research shows that the price point of a product is the leading concern of a potential customer demographic, a video review of that same product by a leading influencer should engage the price point quickly and emphasize its importance in relation to competitors' products. If brands fail to constantly monitor customer needs and desires, the work necessary to identify influencers in the world of social media will have been for naught.