According to research, traditional marketing doesn’t evoke the trust and authenticity it once did. A recent report shows that almost half of customers are already using ad-blocking technology because they don’t believe paid advertising. On the contrary, customers put a large amount of trust in content created or published by social media influencers.
An influencer is a person who has established credibility in a specific industry, has access to a broad audience, and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach. We will present you several stats to prove the power of this marketing tactic:
- Marketers receive $7.65 in earned media value for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
- Influencer marketing delivers 11 times higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.
- 60% of consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review while shopping at a store.
In such circumstances, it’s not surprising to see so many startups choosing social influencers as the primary marketing tool. This post will show you an ultimate startups’ guide to effective influencer targeting.
The Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Marianne Anderson, a marketing expert at Best Essays, says that well-selected social influencers can do miracles for a company: “The goal is to find the right person to represent your startup most efficiently. But once you do that, influencer marketing will help you to raise awareness, build relations with customers, and generate new leads or conversions.”
However, most people still can’t figure out the real benefits of this tactic, so we are going to name a few of them here:
- It works: As we already mentioned, influencer marketing really generates excellent results in terms of ROI, lead generation, and brand building.
- Building trust: Over 80% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. Since they are widely recognized as the industry thought leaders, influencers exploit the power of word of mouth marketing to build trust and strengthen the bond between your brand and your customers.
- It is budget-friendly: A lot of influencer campaigns don’t cost a dime, while some of them require only a modest budget. We will discuss both of these options later.
- Influencers hit the bull’s eye: A perfect influencer will get you straight to the target audience. This individual shares the same values as your prospects, so you don’t have to worry about missing the target.
What Makes an Ideal Influencer?
Now you know the benefits of influencer marketing, but can you recognize an ideal person for your project? Are you able to find this man or woman among dozens of similar influencers? If you can’t do that, you should think about the following features:
Target Audience: Who is your average prospect? Do you know the traits of your typical buyer? These features will lead you to the influencer, so you need to learn as much as possible about your customers. Find out where they reside, what they do, and consider their age and gender. Learn more about their academic backgrounds, personal beliefs, and average income. Once you build a consumer profile, you can start looking for the social celebrity who matches your requirements.
Style & Values: Let’s say you’ve noticed several people who match the features of your target consumer, but how can you choose the best option now? The answer is to analyze the content to determine their style of work and personal values. If your audience is expecting a cheerful and talkative lady, you don’t want to hire a highly rational but dull influencer.
Micro & Macro Influencers: Influencers have different styles, but they also have different reach. Micro influencers are generally considered to have less than 100 thousand followers, while macro influencers surpass this limit. It’s reasonable to assume that influencers with more followers will generate better results, but sometimes it looks like killing a fly with a bazooka. For instance, B2B startups usually don’t target so many people. Such companies focus on several prospects instead, which means they need a micro influencer who can reach this specific target group.
Where They Hang Out: Where are your target customers? Do they hang out on Facebook or Twitter? This is extremely important because you have to choose an influencer who publishes content on the same social platform. Over 90% of marketers chose Instagram as the most important social platform for influencer marketing, but what if your prospects spend time on LinkedIn? You need to figure it out before launching a campaign.
How to Find and Approach Social Influencers
As an entrepreneur, you probably read a lot of industry blogs, websites, and magazines. This can help you detect key opinion leaders in your niche, but it’s a slow process, so you should give it a boost. One way to do it is by using Google Alerts.
With this app, you can monitor online news related to specific keywords. Google Alerts allows you to set a variety of preferences such as the frequency of email notifications, sources, regions, and languages. That way, you won’t miss anything important, and you’ll be able to find people who stand out from the crowd with quality content and user engagement.
However, Google Alerts also demands a lot of time and efforts. If you want to speed things up even further, you should take advantage of professional online tools. Here are the most frequently used solutions among marketers:
- Buzzsumo: This app analyzes what content performs best for any topic or competitor, thus helping you to find the key influencers to promote your content. You can search for thought leaders in any topic, area, or location based on their reach, authority, influence, and engagement.
- Influence.co: It’s a great place to learn, connect, and execute cooperation with social influencers in all fields of work and expertise. The platform gathers entrepreneurs, influencers, marketers, talent managers, and agencies to enable easier collaboration between relevant industry stakeholders.
- Deep Social: This is a freemium influencer ranking and discovery platform. It gives you the opportunity to search for influencers by a number of indicators like location, interests, gender, ethnicity, age, hashtags, keywords, brands, and so on.
Now that you’ve found the perfect match, it is time to reach out to the desired influencer. First, you should make yourself visible to the influencer by subscribing to their blog or following their social media accounts. You should share their content occasionally, comment on posts, and respond to their social media questions. Also, you can try guest posting for them introducing your product in your author section.
Once you’ve got that covered, you can move on to a more serious phase. This phase consists of linking to the influencer’s post or including him in an egobait post. Egobaits are essentially lists of top bloggers or opinion leaders in your industry. Creating such lists, you get the reason to approach influencers directly.
You can send them emails or messages to ask for cooperation. If you can afford a budget for influencer marketing, you can act more freely and propose the terms of cooperation directly. But if you don’t have money to spend, you can suggest giving discounts or freebies to the influencer.
In this case, they don’t get financial compensation, but they still have a good reason to cooperate with you. But it doesn’t have to be about giveaways—if your social media accounts have a lot of followers, influencer marketing is a win-win option because both parties can raise awareness through each other.
Most startups cannot afford to waste money on inefficient marketing tools, so they should consider turning to social media influencers as one of the most productive means of promotion, which enables vast reach and beneficial relationships.