Influencing the Influencer: How can we as Marketers appeal to influencers in the digital age?

 

 

By Zubair Timol, Partner & Area Director for India, Middle East & Africa, Meltwater

 

 

As consumers are increasingly turning to social media to make their purchase decisions, marketers can no longer ignore the importance of ‘influencer marketing’ which focuses on specific key individuals who are driving the conversations about a brand or an idea online. Unlike in the past when consumers were swayed by company advertisements,  today’s digital savvy consumer looks to friends, followers, personalities and celebrities on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube,  Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other platforms, when making a purchase decision.

This has opened a new world of opportunity to marketers. It has opened up a new channel for companies to connect with their consumers and stakeholders directly. Traditionally, consumers made purchasing decisions based on the advertisements they were exposed to, today with the advent of social media they find it easier to make purchasing decisions by learning about others first hand experiences with a product or service that they share online.

However, influencer marketing is still new and most companies are still skeptical or unaware of how to effectively tap into the opportunities opened by social media channels.  Those marketers who are hesitant, risk the danger of being left behind by the growing number of peers who are actively embracing this new channel.

Influencer marketing is the new reality and it is important for companies to tap into this opportunity. Today, consumers expect brands to engage with them rather than tell them what is best for them. In this new paradigm, influencers are the driving force. Marketers can strategically partner with influencers to create organic conversations that will attract more followers to their brands. By aligning with an influencer, you are also getting the attention of their audience and that of the audience’s network as well. It is like an instant chain reaction resulting in a ‘call to action’.

It is important to create a win-win situation for influencers to have them speak about you to their fans – with content emphasizing on what influencers are interested in. An example is Blendtec’s campaign to sell its blenders to the right audience. Being in the USD 400 to 600 range, they needed to target people who looked at a high-end blender as part of a healthy lifestyle. The company partnered with dietitians, nutritionists, and athletes to create content that was authentic and appealing. They reached out to Instagrammers and bloggers who shared their experience and recipes created with Blendtec. Today, Blendtec enjoys a huge fan following and it has directly impacted their sales in a positive manner.

There are two types of influencers we must consider when devising an influencer programme

  • Influencers by impact (individuals with the highest following)
  • Influencers by volume (individuals who mention your brand or product the most frequently)

A social media listening and engagement platform like Meltwater Buzz helps find and build relationships with key influencers. With a click of a button the Meltwater Buzz tool provides insightful analytics like content relevancy, level of engagement, the number of followers on Twitter and the number of Facebook likes.  These insights are presented in easy to read visuals and can be segmented by location, gender, sentiment and reach among others.

Every social media strategist dreams that their latest campaign goes as viral as the ALS ice bucket challenge. With the right tools, it is possible to reach out to the most influential of your influencers and create a relationship with them that can reap dividends for the brand.

 

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