In today’s highly social and interconnected world, just one well-timed Instagram post about your products from a popular influencer within your market can pay far greater dividends than any traditional, multi-touchpoint marketing campaign.
While established marketing tactics such as email, direct mail, public relations and paid advertising are, and will remain, successful and widely-used tools to drive sales and establish brand credibility, the rapidly-growing influencer marketing community speaks to the ever-expanding influence of virtual social networks.
By definition, influencer marketing identifies and focuses marketing efforts around influential people, rather than the target market as a whole. Influencers are typically well-respected within the industry or by the broader public, and have the ability to shape other consumers’ beliefs and opinions, and, ideally, drive purchasing decisions. The success of influencer marketing relates back to the psychology concept of social influence, which occurs when an individual’s emotions, opinions, or behaviors are affected by others. In the context of influencer marketing, influence is less about coercion and more about community interactions.
Influencer marketing can be loosely divided into two sub-practices, earned and paid. Similar to most traditional marketing touchpoints, influencer marketing can:
- Improve brand awareness and recognition
- Build trust, credibility and loyalty
- Develop relationships and facilitate conversations
- Drive sales
Businesses seeking to incorporate influencer marketing into their sales strategy should consider the following key steps to guide implementation:
Identify influencers that will resonate with your target audience
Start by creating influencer personas. These should align with user personas and match your brand’s vision. The right influencer for your company may not necessarily have the highest follower count. Focus instead on building meaningful connections with individuals who align with your brand ethos and future-looking goals. Those influencers will resonate most honestly with your audience.
Choose which platforms to leverage for influencer posts
Similar to influencers themselves, select platforms based on level of engagement. A significant following is beneficial, but engagement is key. For instance, many beauty industry influencers have YouTube channels with robust followings, while food & beverage industry influencers might have well-developed food blogs for recipe sharing, with corresponding Instagram profiles for photos.
Create influencer content that aligns with both their brand and yours
Securing the most powerful influencer in the world is useless without well-written, honest and transparent content to support the partnership. Be sure to consider and carefully merge the influencer’s voice with your brand’s voice when writing social content.
Ensure your website is equipped to handle any future traffic spikes
Before any influencer marketing campaign kicks off, check in with your technical team to be sure that your website is technically sound and up to date, should any traffic spikes occur.
Gorilla has partnered with a number of brands using influencers as part of a broader marketing strategy. Below are a sampling of our clients in the health and wellness space building and leveraging unique influencer, ambassador, and social media initiatives.
A trending brand founded in 2013, RXBAR makes whole food protein bars with simple ingredients that contain no soy, gluten or dairy, as well as a direct and upfront approach to branding.
- RXBAR has seen rapid growth in brick and mortar channels across the country like Trader Joe’s, Target, and fitness studios as well as ecommerce expansion on their website and Amazon.com.
- RXBAR leveraged social media as a key path to the health-conscious consumer. The company not only develops original content with an in-house social team, but also works with social media influencers and brand enthusiasts to provide fresh information and act as ambassadors. We also leveraged Yotpo for rating and review functionality, as well as social integration with their ‘Real Like You’ Instagram photo carousels on product detail pages.
Specialized Bicycle Components is a leading American bicycle manufacturer, with a focus on high-end components and products. Founded in 1974, Specialized revolutionized cycling by introducing the first mass-produced mountain bike with an emphasis on riders’ needs for functional and technically advanced products that provide performance benefits.
- In addition to configuring bicycles on their ecommerce channel, the bicycle manufacturer shares brand ambassador stories, which offer an inside look at how Specialized bikes and products are used day to day.
- These influencer ambassadors humanize the brand and can often rally a new potential customer segment into purchasing Specialized also encourages social sharing.
- For instance, a campaign around urged customers to share inspiration and why a bike ride is always ‘worth it’ on social media through a video and hashtag campaign.