A Quick Guide to Influencer Marketing

influencer marketing, influence marketing, marketing

Your company’s marketing efforts are up against some stiff competition. Way back in 2014, the research firm Yankelovich estimated that “the average American is exposed to 5,000 advertisements a day” (imagine how much that number has grown since then!). As a result, consumers have become increasingly impervious to ads, banners, pop-ups and other attempts to draw their attention to any particular product or service.

What’s the solution to overcoming this blizzard of images and ads that fewer people pay attention to? For many businesses, the answer lies in influencer marketing.

In case the term is unfamiliar, it’s pretty much what it sounds like, that is, “the action of promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) who have the capacity to have an effect on the character of a brand.” And in our era of social media, influencer marketing has largely shifted from relying on superstar athletes and Hollywood celebrities to aligning with individuals with massive followings on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

If you feel influencer marketing has potential to dramatically enhance awareness of your brand, keep these tips in mind:

Be selective about the influencers you pursue. Obviously, an influencer should possess a following whose tastes and needs correspond to your offerings. Research influencers before asking them to endorse or otherwise promote your products or services, in order to ensure that you’re connecting with likely prospective customers.

In the same respect, it’s not necessary to chase after “A-list” influencers with the largest social media audience. As communications strategist Linda Landers notes, “If your influencers are reaching the target market for your brand, then you’ve hit the jackpot, no matter how large or small their audience may be.”

Clarify your goals. Associating with a key influencer can assist your business in a variety of ways, so it’s helpful to determine beforehand where they might be most effective. As noted, boosting brand awareness is a common objective, but there may also be opportunities to:

• Actively generate sales leads
• Reach a wholly new target audient
• Become more visibly active on social media
• Strengthen your relationships with an existing customer base

Knowing what you want to achieve will affect the ways in which you approach influencer marketing.

Reach out to influencers in an authentic, respectful manner. In many ways, key influencers need businesses like your own as much as you might need them. But they will also be selective about whom they associate with. So don’t rush in like a bull in a china shop. Cultivate a relationship based on an approach of authenticity and respect.

Start slowly, by following the influencer on social media. “From there you can comment on posts, retweet their content, or simply send them a compliment via social media,” advises marketing communications expert Bonnie Harris. Demonstrate a sincere interest in their content and don’t ask for reciprocity “until they see that you also want to do something for them.”

Incorporate influencer marketing in a broader strategic plan. It’s exciting to successfully associate with a prominent social media figure and to begin amassing a whole new set of followers. In the long run, however, influencer marketing is more effective as part of a larger strategy that also draws upon more traditional marketing activities. This way, you can refine your various campaigns so as to reap the most benefits from a wide range of strategies.

Want more advice on sales and marketing or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

Content Marketing Trends for Your Business in 2017

content marketing

Content marketing continues to serve as a key marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Those businesses that make a commitment to provide informative and useful content build a stronger bond with their target audiences, leading to greater sales and enhanced profits.

Why? “Content marketing works because if people trust you when the time comes around that they need your product, they’ll think of your company first,” notes marketing expert Brian Sutter. “That’s all content marketing buys for you: Familiarity and trust.”

Online content takes a wide array of forms, including:

  • Articles
  • White papers
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

All of these forms of content can serve as vehicles for the messaging you wish to get across to your customers. The key is creating content that offers value and meaning, not unabashed self-promotion.

Here’s a look at content marketing trends for 2017 that can benefit your company’s marketing and sales efforts:

Authenticity works. As noted, blatant efforts at boosting your business will invariably fail to connect with your chosen audience. Instead, people respond to authenticity—for example, stories of the challenges and solutions you encounter in your efforts to improve your services or products.

“Today, everyone feels entitled to a behind-the-scenes look at things,” notes Small Business Trends. “We want to see the final product AND how it was made.” Visitors to your site or social media platform are interested in your brand’s history and commitment to social responsibility, as well as how your product or service will solve their problems or enhance their lives.

Video offers a different way to tell your story. Increasingly, marketing departments and others charged with communicating with the public see the benefits of repurposing posted content into video form.

Obviously, not everyone responds the same way to the written word. Look for opportunities to retell your story—or provide valuable “how-to” information through video—that resonates with prospects and customers who like to see, rather than read. Videos of employee events and tradeshow demonstrations, for example, provide that appealing behind-the-scenes perspective. So do video customer testimonials.

Not convinced? Look at these compelling statistics:

  • More than 60% of users who watch a video are more likely to make an online purchase.
  • Placing a video on a landing page can boost conversion rates by 80%.
  • Nearly 100% of B2B companies employ video in their marketing campaigns.

At TAB, we get the appeal of video. That’s why we’ve created a brief, fun video that explains the TAB model and how it can benefit your organization. Take a look!

Influencer marketing remains strong. The power of influencers—prominent bloggers, social media personalities and industry thought leaders—continues to be a driving force in the arena of content marketing. If your brand becomes associated with these individuals, you gain access to a potentially huge audience (and prospective customers).

If you aren’t already doing so, research figures affiliated with your industry and reach out to them via their social media platforms. Create content that includes links to their sites and invites them to contribute to your platforms as well.

Enlist the resources and creativity of your entire organization. In many businesses, the responsibility for marketing resides solely in the marketing department. But some companies are beginning to leverage the creative potential that exists throughout the entire organization.

“It is simply not possible to streamline your content strategy if individual teams are working in isolated silos,” notes serial entrepreneur Marcela De Vivo. Not only does this open up new ideas for future content, employing this strategy means that “businesses large and small can ensure every employee understands the business’s goals and is working towards the same end.”

Want more advice for your sales process, or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!