Most senior executives are well acquainted with the concept of influence marketing.
The idea is to build relationships with a group of people who are able to sway the buying decisions of your target audience. We’ve been conditioned to thinking of influencers as celebrities, public figures, or Twitter profiles with a Klout score of 70. But these are not the people who influence your customers.
In fact, when shopping for your products, prospects are more likely to be swayed by their families, friends, and peers – people with whom they have common interests and a trusting relationship. But since most CEO’s don’t have access to this “inner circle,” what other options do they have?
#1. Digital Friends
Well the good news is that today’s consumer has a whole new set of individuals and brands that make up their inner circle. This is a group of “trusted digital friends” whom consumers rely upon to give them advice on what to buy and where to go. They include writers, niche bloggers, industry analysts, industry peers, event speakers, investors and more.
If you’re trying to identify the “movers and shakers” in your industry, these are some of the folks who offer a level of trust, credibility and expertise to prospects that you have yet to reach. They offer your company another route to an untapped market. For this reason it is well worth your time to identify and interact with them.
#2. Business Benefits of Influencer Marketing
- Drive more traffic to your website – When an influencer mentions your company and its products, a lot of people (whom you previously had no access to) will go to your website to get more information. They trust the influencer’s guidance and will be open to learning about your company.
- Increase brand awareness, inbound leads and inquiries about your company – When you invest in a relationship with a key influencer in your industry, they might review your products, guest-blog on your site, or just talk about your company’s values and mission. These are all opportunities for a wider audience to learn about your offerings.
- Boost positive sentiment, build credibility, overcome sales objections – When an influencer gives your company ‘the stamp of approval’, people who trust him or her are also more likely to trust your company, making it easier for your sales staff to do their job faster, without spending much time selling the company’s value proposition.
- Test your brand’s messaging and value proposition – if you can’t sell your company’s offerings to influencers, chances are you will receive the same friction from prospects. Influencer marketing provides vital feedback (whether positive or negative) that gives you valuable insights about how your company is perceived.
#3. Getting the Attention of Influencers
It’s not always easy to identify influencers, let alone get them on board with your company’s mission. Most of them have a laundry list of pre-requisites for working with brands – partnership, a long-term commitment, respect, compensation, relevant products, clear campaign goals and so on.
Brands that want to create successful partnerships with influencers find that they must meet these requirements. However there’s no doubt that they have a great potential to help your company achieve the marketing goals you want.
If you don’t have an influencer outreach program, or a staff to help execute it, consider hiring an Influencer Relations Specialist to help you. Their role is to represent your company well, reach out and get the attention of influencers, communicate your company’s message clearly, and deliver tangible results based on the goals set by senior executives.
Hopefully your company will start to engage with key influencers in your industry so that you can generate trust and credibility around your brand, and reach more customers!
Does your company have an influencer outreach program? What kind of experience have you had? Please share in the comment box below.