Consumers now have unlimited freedom over the content they want to see thanks to technology. They are no longer tied down to their couches at a specific time to watch a show. They don’t read publications that aren’t accessible online. While this all translates to convenience for the consumer, it’s getting harder for marketers to reach these consumers by placing advertisements on TV, billboards, magazines, or any traditional media. Thankfully that’s where social media steps in and fills the gap, providing marketers with new ways to create engagement opportunities with the target market. Influencer marketing is one of the most popular ways for brands, in this case YOU, to expand your reach. We’ll breakdown the science of influencer marketing:
What Is Influencer Marketing?
In short, influencer marketing is a collaboration between brands and influencers. “Collaboration” is the keyword because it requires more than just paying influencers to give positive reviews about your products or services. Unlike celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing is about establishing a relationship with the influencer to promote authenticity and help reach a specific audience.
Influencers are trusted figures within niche communities. They have a loyal following because of their riveting content and ability to engage with target audiences. They don’t want their credibility to be jeopardized in any way or to lose their followers' trust. They have to want to carry your brand message so you should focus on marketing to them first, before your target audience. There's even affiliate software that allows you to recruit and empower influencers.
Types of Influencers
Not all influencers are created equal. Just because they have a large following doesn’t mean their audience aligns with yours. As an auto insurance agent, it wouldn’t make sense to collaborate with food bloggers. Their audience would be confused as to why this influencer is promoting irrelevant content. They would soon lose trust in the influence, which would hurt both of you in the process. When deciding which influencer to work with, consider whether or not they fit with your brand message and find one that will help you.
Not only are influencers labeled by the type of content they produce, the number of followers they have also places them in different categories:
- Mega influencers - These are mostly celebrities with a huge following (in the millions club), but it might not be the best way for you to reach your consumers. Even though many people know of them, it doesn’t mean they respect them enough to buy the products or use the services they recommend.
- Macro influencers - These are people with a lot of respect in their niche and a moderate following, but they are still very competitively approached by other brands. If you’re just starting out, it can be expensive to work with them, and it may not be worth the money because of the multitude of other brands they also endorse.
- Micro influencers - They have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers with high authenticity and trust established between them. Working with micro influencers is becoming more popular since they’ve already obtained an audience relevant to yours. What matters most is when they share your story, their followers are ready and willing to listen.
- Nano influencers - Although they might not have the best numbers, fewer than 1,000, these influencers have immense influence with a comparatively narrow market, making them the most credible within that market. They are also the least expensive to work with and can help you create more personal relationships with your target audience.
Working with Influencers
The most important thing to remember when working with influencers is to cultivate a long-term relationship with them. Many make the mistake of moving on from one influencer to another in hopes of reaching more people. Keep in mind that the influencers you work with are constantly promoting their own content and expanding their reach also. Being engaged in multiple campaigns with the same person shows the audience a genuine relationship between the you and the influencer, making it seem less like a one-time paid advertisement.
Pitch the Influencer
Focus on marketing to the influencer first instead of the audience to increase the authenticity of your relationship. If the influencer doesn’t believe in your services, why should their audience? People are skeptical about ads and marketing tactics, so trust is harder to build. Currently, 40% of customers use ad-blocking technology while 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. The more an influencer works with you, the easier it is for them to come across as being genuinely supportive.
Now that you have an idea of what influencer marketing is, the question is will it be worth it? Data shows that each $1.00 spent on influencer marketing averages about $6.50 through earned media or the publicity a brand gains from promotional efforts other than paid advertising.
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing channel for brands, beating organic search, paid search, and even email marketing. Currently, 59% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budget. Since 74% of people trust social networks to guide purchasing decisions, influencer marketing is definitely a more than viable option for you.
Influencer Marketing for Insurance
How can you, an insurance agent, take advantage of influencer marketing? Because your job revolves around building a relationship with your customers, the service you provide is your brand. Insurance is an essential part of everyone’s life and people are often cautious to avoid being taken advantage of. By using influencer marketing, you can communicate with your audience that you genuinely have their best interests in mind and allow them to know you as a human being outside of insurance. You’ll be able to form deeper relationships with your clients and generate positive word of mouth to expand your network.
For more on crafting an influencer marketing strategy, visit here.