What is influencer marketing?

Maybe you’ve heard about influencer marketing but you’re not quite sure what it is and whether or not it’s something that you should be incorporating into your digital marketing strategy? To put it simply, influencer marketing is when a brand uses a well-known figure, such as a celebrity, to promote their products online and in particular, social media. You may have seen a lot of these posts on Instagram, where you can find influential figures and celebrities promoting products such as clothing, health & beauty products and even food.

So what sort of benefits could you see from influencer marketing?

Well, influencer marketing can help to boost brand awareness, increase your customer reach, encourage customer engagement and enhance your conversions. Nowadays, consumers value other consumers’ views and opinions more than ever, and if an influencer that they trust is telling them about how great a particular product is, you can be sure that they will start to take notice of your brand. Consumers are overloaded with advertising, so being given the option to discover a new brand through a source that they trust allows this kind of advertising to feel a lot less invasive and pushy.

Influencer marketing really boomed in 2017 and it’s only set to become even more popular in 2018 – but if you’re thinking about incorporating influencer marketing into your ongoing marketing strategy, it’s important for you to understand the rules. In 2017, the FTC cracked down on brands and influencers that failed to disclose that the content they were promoting was sponsored. In order to avoid any legal issues, all you need to do as a brand, is to make sure that your influencers are clearly stating in their content that you are sponsoring them to promote it. There are multiple ways in which you can do this such as using the hashtags #ad or #sponsored – but there is room to be creative without your sponsored posts looking pushy and fake. Consumers are clever and they are able to recognise when an influencer is only promoting a brand or product just because they are getting paid to do so. Choose your influencers wisely and make sure that your products fit with their views and values – if consumers believe that the content is useful and valuable to them, they are more likely to engage with it, rather than acknowledge it as another pushy ad on their social media feed.

Just as we have platforms that help us to manage the content we publish online, it is also important to invest in an influencer marketing tool if you think that influencer marketing is something that you want to start incorporating into your digital marketing strategy. Do some research and familiarise yourself with the process of influencer marketing – then create a manageable system that will help you to keep track of and manage your influencer marketing partnerships. Although influencer marketing is still a developing marketing tool, making sure that you are creating management systems from the get-go can not only make the whole process much smoother, but it will also help you stay ahead of the game.

As with managing your influencer marketing partnerships, it’s also incredibly important that you are measuring your ROI from influencer marketing as well. There are multiple ways that you can track the performance of your influencer marketing depending on the type of posts your influencers are sharing, whether it be that they are promoting a specific product, or they are offering their followers a special discount code. Whichever option you’re looking to go for, tracking the performance of your influencer marketing is key for ensuring that you are getting a positive ROI, and it also helps you to evaluate trends and to recognise what sort of content works and what doesn’t.

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees with influencer marketing. You can’t just throw money at an influencer with thousands of followers and expect that they will be able to suddenly increase your sales. Keep on top of the latest trends and be selective with your influencers – choose influencers who share your values and who will promote your products passionately and genuinely. Influencer marketing is a huge strategy to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy, but will only prove to be a success if it’s executed correctly.

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