Monday 02 December, 2013

Influencer Marketing – How to Make Word of Mouth Work for You

Marketers focus their efforts on appealing to a target market made up of individuals that will buy. What if you could instead focus on a few key individuals and companies who would then spread the word about your products and services for you?

This is a new strategy that has emerged in recent years called influencer marketing (also known as influence marketing). It means identifying key individuals and marketing to them, and then letting them do the rest for you.

These key people may be customers or they could be third parties. They might be a company that uses your products visibly so that others can see. They may be industry professionals, journalists or opinion leaders that have an audience and a great deal of authority with that audience.

The 3 Activities of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing consists of three main activities:

*  Identifying influencers and prioritizing them in terms of importance (in other words, figuring out which are the most influential)

*  Marketing to the individuals or companies that you’ve identified as key influencers

*  Using influencers to market to your wider target market.

If done well, influencer marketing multiplies your efforts. Your influencers market for you and also help you reach a wider audience.

Influencer marketing is especially prevalent today because of the many more marketing channels we have online. Communication is immediate and this makes it much easier for your influencers to get the word out on social media and other places on the web.

An Example of Influencer Marketing

Perhaps one of the best recent examples of influencer marketing done well is what Tyson Foods did last Christmas season to sell chicken nuggets. It launched a campaign where it had mommy bloggers decorate its nuggets and share their creations via social media and their blogs. The result was more sales of chicken nuggets.

The company reached out to an extremely influential segment of the population – mommy bloggers. Moms listen to what mommy bloggers had to say. It then got the mommy bloggers engaged in its brand by making something creative with its products. The campaign was an even bigger success than Tyson imagined it would be.

A Twist on the Celebrity Endorsement

In a way, influencer marketing isn’t much different than the old celebrity endorsement idea. If you get a high profile actor to drink your soda, their fans will as well. But influencer marketing is different because it leverages the way the internet has changed the game and made everyone a celebrity. Rather than convincing Tom Cruise to talk about your product, you just need some bloggers to blog it.

But the internet has changed things in other ways as well. Promotion is out. What people want is a real, genuine experience. This is why it’s a bad strategy to approach bloggers with a payola deal, offering them cash for blogging about your company. Like Tyson Foods, give people something fun, interesting or creative to do with your product. Make it a genuine experience and it will catch on.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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