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How to find your Unicorn #InfluencerMarketing is now

The Wikinition of Influencer Marketing is ‘Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential customers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.’

Digital, social, direct, above the line, through the line, below the line, influencer, affiliate, multi-level, mobile, referral… the list of marketing strategies to adopt is growing. Fast.

The world of advertising is getting noisier and noisier as the chasm between business, brands and consumers narrow. Technology is delivering curated content straight to the fingertips of decision makers and that alongside the information of every competitor out there in order to give said decision maker more options and a customized experience. As any marketer worth their salt will tell you, the key to success is reaching your customer in a meaningful way, with content that adds value to their lives and leaves a lasting impact on them. Granted, this seems like the most obvious truth in the profession yet if you look at the click-bait marketing techniques so many ‘Xperts’ are still using, you’d ask yourself – how are their brands surviving? Chances are, they won’t for much longer.

Queue Influencer Marketing

With a gazillion options available to them daily, consumers look to peers for guidance (consciously or subconsciously, we’re all influenced by a certain set of individuals at any time in our lives). These influencers either represent a set of values we prescribe to or wish to prescribe to so inadvertently we model the choices we make after the ones they make. Getting the just of it?

Leveraging Influencers to increase your businesses reach and brand authority seems like a no brainer when you consider the above yet one has to assess whether you’re business lends itself to influencer marketing and if an investment in this strategy will yield a favourable result. Leveraging an influencer to promote your office stationary brand or printers might not work as well as an organisation selling executive education for instance. So take the time and give it the consideration it need before launching into a full search for the right influencer for your business.

That said, Influencer Marketing is not only a critical B2C strat, many B2B businesses also benefit from associating their consumer facing brands with influencers as well – If DJ so and so eats this chicken #brand, then eating this at a braai might make me ‘cool’ too – it’s a layman’s example but you get the point right?

If we’re really to break through the noise of competitor advertising, then adding the ‘humanness’ back into our marketing strategies is the only way to do so. Granted, no tactic in isolation is the answer but some do add to your ROI more than others.

Just because Influencer Marketing is the new MUST in marketing, doesn’t mean everyone is getting it right – read this article by Brandon Brown for some failed attempts. Don’t laugh, it’s crazy easy to fail, and wisdom only comes from hindsight in most cases…

Okay, you know now that this is something you’re going to need to get in on right? Here are some of the first steps you’ll need to take to get cracking…

First you need to understand your why. What is your brand’s specific value add that makes you different from the others? (PLEASE don’t say stupid shit like quality, ease of access or price – seriously, in 2018 these are absolute givens and if you’re still differentiating on these, fire your Marketing Manager or at the very least get an agency in to evaluate your product profile, brand matrix etc).

Once you’re clear on your USP’s you’ll need to get online and start doing some research. Who are the key influencers around that share you’re values, ACTUALLY have influence with your target market and have a great digital/social track record? (Nothing can sabotage a great Influencer strat like a celeb with shady social posts or is prone to controversial and unfavorable rants online.) Once you’ve identified a list of 4/5 influencers, you’ll need to compile a pitch doc (why should they care two hoots about representing your brand), get in contact with them or their agents and start discussing the opportunity.

Remember to be clear around what your expectations are so that both parties are able to delver against the mandate and not some vague idea of success. A great idea is workshopping your KPI’s together. Be careful not to over ‘brand’ your influencer or be overly prescriptive about how they promote/engage with your brand or their following will smell the foul and jump ship – you’re trying to leverage the people on their networks who follow and engage with them for who they are, not what they sell – remember that…

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