The world is changing every day, and sometimes it feels like the marketing industry moves faster than the speed of light. In just a few short years, social media and digital marketing have become a vital part of any intelligent sales strategy. Yet there is still one word that strikes both fear and elation in the heart of sales directors, and that is the word “influencer.”
What exactly is an influencer, anyway?
Influencers are taking over the world.
Endorsements, TV programs and free stuff once reserved for only the hottest celebrities are now being handed out like candy to anyone with an Instagram account. But what exactly constitutes an “influencer”?
Influencers, or “taste makers”, are people who are very active on social media with a large group of dedicated followers. These followers will (we hope) buy anything that they are told to buy. And, although I comment in jest, the truth is that these tastemakers are a great way for any business to maximize their exposure.
While a feature or advertising space in a print magazine would have been the ultimate goal just a few years ago, things now are vastly different. Back in the ‘90s, a feature in InStyle or Vanity Fair would mean fantastic exposure and a high return on investment. Today, digital PR has all but taken over. Our society is fixated on valuing the opinions of “real people” over the once-revered mega brands. Age-old-style marketing is alive and thriving and the best part is that it’s very accessible, even for those on a budget.
Act, don’t react
Most businesses make the mistake of adopting a reactionary strategy towards working with influencers. That’s because these brands are often bombarded with requests from tastemakers seeking free meals, clothing or jewelry in return for an Instagram post or savvy Tweet. But the influencer marketplace can prove confusing. For example, what exactly is the impact of an Instagrammer with 100k followers snapping shots about your business? The truth is, this type of exposure could be incredibly beneficial for a business but only if it’s tailor-made to your ideal audience.
With the reactionary strategy, you won’t be able to pinpoint for yourself those influencers with the ideal audience and target market to promote your brand. You simply have to trust that the influencers contacting you have a similar type of following as those whom you are trying to attract. This is not always the case.
For example, fashion bloggers are incredibly popular with teenage girls but if you are a clothing brand that sells your pieces for thousands of dollars, I bet there are only a few teenage girls who could afford your clothing.
There are many great ways to vet your influencers, such as using a company like Ugli who will do the job for you. We conduct what is essentially a background check on your future partners. We’ve done it for our friends in their love lives as well as our clients and their influencers, and enjoyed great success every time! We are the matchmakers of the influencer world.
At the end of the day, influencers are a marketing strategist’s dream, and it will often only cost you a meal or a piece from your latest spring collection.
How can you make the most of the influencer relationship?
If your brand hasn’t been bombarded with influencer requests, all is not lost. Dedicated marketing companies such as Ugli will seek out your ideal influencers and build authentic relationships with them over time, paving the way to a long-term collaboration that works alongside your sales goals.
The influencer game is definitely a long play – the best influencers are picky and won’t say yes to anyone without proof of genuine interaction and value. We will play the game for you, and we will make sure that all the best people win.
So, once you’ve found the influencer Romeo to your brand Juliet, how can you get the most out of your collaboration? It’s essential to lay out guidelines to what you will do for them and what you expect them to do for you. Put it into a friendly contract, for an added level of security. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that influencers will always follow up on their promises. Define your expectations and make them clear at the beginning.
Once your influencer posts their content, it’s up to you to get it out there. Retweet, share, comment, engage and just talk, talk, talk online all about your collaboration. Dedicated blog posts and newsletters discussing just how fabulous your influencer is will also prove effective. Hashtag everything and link back to your website, their website and all related online content to make sure your message gets across. The more effort you put in, the higher the rewards you will reap.
Conclusion: less is more
The last point of all this is to remember, more is not always better. We tend to be enchanted by the social media superstars with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers. But the truth is, high numbers don’t always equal more influence. Reports show that tastemakers with a following between 5k-25k have been able to affect the most change in terms of buying habits. This is exciting news for business owners, as these people will inevitably be easier to contact and build a relationship with.
In conclusion, do your research and spend time on social media—it is a wonderful sales tool. But we can’t forget that posting is just half of the equation. By working to develop relationships through social media you can create a strong brand and marketing channel that ultimately supports your overall sales goals.
Want to learn more about how to use influencers? Download our guide to find the perfect influencer for your brand and exactly how to approach them.
By Victoria & Olivia at Ugli Brand Management
We give substance to beautiful brands
With Ugli Brand Management, we take our most cherished values – hospitality, creativity, luxury and community - and extend these with open arms towards boutique brands and passionate entrepreneurs.
We will show off your brand on your behalf, and shout from the rooftops about just how fabulous you are. After all, there’s no point in having a good hair day if you stay home. We use our extensive creative skills and sales experience to get you out there, make an impact and show the world what your brand is all about.