Social media is and always will be about communicating in real-time with the ability to have conversations around any given topic. Social media marketing as we know it is changing and it's changing for the better.
The olden days of social media marketing was all about blasting your message for everyone to see. It worked too, for a while. But when anything is too easy there will be leeches who bring it down. In this case it was the spammers who got in and now that strategy doesn't work any longer. Now we're seeing a change in the fact that what you put out there is only as good as the boost it gets by your most active online fans. I think this is a good thing. It's an evolution and usually when things evolve opportunities are there for the taking.
With the change from brand sponsored messages or messages from the source to that of the community talking and rallying for the cause, Influencers are your best friend. Now before we get started there are a lot of different levels of Influencers out there. I believe everyone has influence in some way or another. With that said you can get a lot of traction by maintaining relationships with all your fans and followers. To be successful you don't have to have the Kardashians or Taylor Swift on your side. Don't get me wrong, that can help, but your fans are the first place to start to build your influencer marketing strategy.
If you need some more information on what an Influencer marketing strategy looks like you can read my series here.
Influencer Marketing Strategy Overview
How To Find Influencers
Where To Find Influencers
A good way to think about it is to look within your own social circle. It doesn't have to be online. But it has to be the place you go to for advice or to find out what's new, hip or cool. It could be your next door neighbor who always buys the newest kitchen gadgets and tells you about them. With her praise the whole neighborhood is using the product she recommended. You have to know someone like that. It might even be you. This is an Influencer and it works the same way online.
Now, you may go to your next-door neighbor for kitchen products, but you may have another friend who knows everything about gardening. That's your gardening influencer. For cars it might be your brother-in-law. Or for restaurants it may be your cousin. As you can see people have influence in different categories. Your most important Influencer for your business is the one that everyone listens to for the genre or category of your business. If you sell garden supplies you aren't going to bring that product to the cousin who has influence in restaurants, right? No. You want to stick to the influencers in your industry.
For many businesses you'll want a variety of Influencers who will talk about your product to their network. Because services and products can be used differently in different social circles, it makes sense to cover your bases and get your products in the hands and out of the mouths of as many related groups as possible. Got it?
Let me reiterate the fact that Influencer marketing has always been important. It's the word of mouth that carries your sales and brings new customers into your door. But now in this time of social media evolution it is more important than ever. Here's why.
Why You Need To Start Thinking About Influencer Marketing Now
1. Declining Facebook Reach
Facebook reach is declining. If you want to increase your Facebook reach you need more people sharing your products, blog posts, and website pages on Facebook. Influencers can help spur this. Facebook personal pages don't experience the same post blocking as fan pages do, so personal shares and likes are crucial.
2. Authentic Promotion
One of the best parts of having an Influencer on your side is that they are authentically promoting your products and services. If you tell them to, they won't. They have to really like you and when they like you it shows.
3. Trusted Voice
Influencers have an audience that already trusts them. In fact, it is more common for people to trust people than brands. When your Influencer shares your campaign or business, to their network it comes from a trusted source.
A few tips before you go out there. Don't try to buy Influencers, it won't work. You have to earn them and they actually have you like you. To make them love you, you need to build the relationship with them. Treat them well, be nice to them and make sure you have a mutually beneficial relationship. Good luck!