Influencer marketing has turned marketing on its head. The art of marketing has always been about building trust with your target audience so that they really believe that what you’re selling to them can solve their problem. With so much competition out there, the brands with the most trust win – because they build loyal audiences that will consistently sing their praises, creating a flywheel that drives new customers through the doors.
To gain this trust, marketers have traditionally relied on placing advertisements in prominent media sources, using famous names to endorse their products – to create the social proof that they are trying to convey. This is still a strategy that is in use today. But it’s not nearly as effective as it used to be, because of the tremendous shifts in the media landscape caused by the internet and social media specifically. The major media organizations and publications don’t have anywhere near the influence over buying behavior that they used to have and instead, we’ve seen a new class of influencers pop up across social media.
These influencers are not major corporations but are often individual personalities who have built a loyal audience who consume their content wherever it is created. The reach of major social media platforms has allowed these influencers to gather like-minded individuals from all over the world in one place, creating online communities that are highly targeted and much more loyal than the community that might subscribe to major media organizations. As a result, influencers have been able to monetize those audiences and provide a brand-new channel for marketers to generate leads.
In this article, we’ll look at 4 reasons why influencer marketing is so effective and how you can jump on the train as an affiliate marketer.
4 Pillars of Effective Influencer Marketing
1. Trust at Scale
We’ve alluded to this above, but it’s hard to understate just how passionate the fans are of so many of these influencers. If they’ve built their community effectively, it is not uncommon for a significant portion of the audience to buy anything that the influencer endorses, directly or indirectly. The audience places a lot of trust in that person because they can relate to them in some way and are drawn in by their authentic sharing online. This directly translates into much higher conversion rates than with traditional media – often delivering a much higher quality of customer.
To take advantage of this, research the popular influencers who operate in your space and look to build relationships with those people. By authentically engaging with the communities they have built, without trying to sell to them directly, you can access a whole new market that previously would have been out of reach. It’s networking at scale.
2. Highly Targeted Audience
An individual influencer’s audience is always going to be much more highly targeted than a more general audience one can find in other places. These people have self-selected around a certain set of ideas and interests and this means that you can be highly confident that you understand the target market quite specifically if you do your research. It allows you to budget for a much higher cost of acquisition because your leads are already qualified and narrowed down for you. Additionally, you can follow their behavior and engagement in real-time, allowing you to adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.
Identify key influencers in your space and analyze how their audiences interact and engage with one another. If you find a community where you see a fit for your product, connect with the influencer to explore potential collaboration opportunities if you think you can bring value to their audience. However, don’t go for a ‘spray-and-pray approach here – be strategic with who you reach out to and how you build that relationship.
3. Social Proof
By virtue of these communities living on social media platforms, any campaigns that you run are likely to generate word-of-mouth publicity if they solve the customer need. There’s an in-built conversation component that comes as part and parcel of influencer marketing and you can take full advantage of that. There are no more effective ways to start public conversations about your product or service than to seed it into a discussion on social media. Customers who find value in what you provide will become serendipitous ambassadors who pass on the good news to others in the community, all gathered under the influencer themselves.
If you are going to make an influencer a brand ambassador, it’s important that it is genuine and authentic, or else the audience will see through it straight away. Make sure that there is a genuine value exchange and that the product/service really does solve a customer need of that specific audience. This is incredibly important for long-term branding.
4. Mass Attention
As a society, we’ve been totally desensitized to traditional advertisements because of how saturated the market has become and how we’ve learned to ignore them. All of our attention has shifted to our smartphones and social media specifically – so if you’re looking for eyeballs, that’s where you need to be. Influencers are the gateway to that attention and so their ability to drive traffic through appropriate calls to action is immensely powerful. You simply cannot argue with the numbers, social media is where the world has moved to.
As an affiliate marketer, you can’t afford to ignore the trend. If you’re trying to maximize the number of people who are exposed to what you’re offering, you need to be utilizing social media strategically and influencer marketing is the perfect catalyst for ramping up your presence on these platforms. Identify the places where your target audience is paying attention and work to create win-win collaborations with influencers in that space to maximize the impact your campaigns have.
So, there are four key pillars of why influencer marketing is so effective. As a channel, it’s relatively new but has tremendous potential. It’s a trend that is not going to turn around anytime soon, so it’s really worth getting to grips with it and starting some initial conversations. The right collaboration could be the break you need to really transform your affiliate marketing and take you to the next level.
Barry is an entrepreneur, writer, and consultant who is passionate about bringing ideas to life.