Find Your Brand Influencers

by | Apr 10, 2017 | Customer Service | 0 comments

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is—it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook
We know how many players there are in the market today, and how much information goes to customers – existing and potential – each day. Often customers are so overwhelmed that they choose to ignore or even block out the information, advertisements, and other promotional materials. In America today, there are probably about 8.6 million people, who use ad blockers, which is roughly an increase of 26% since last year. However, these ad avoidance tactics prove to be an opportunity for companies to reach customers via unforced and more amenable touch-points, which would include brand influencers. It is therefore necessary for a company to find its brand influencers, who would help the company to use its content in a way that would enhance awareness, reach, engagement, and even conversions. These ‘influencers’ can, if ‘used’ judiciously, can create top line content for the company, help with distribution, brand reach, and engagement to an extremely viable and relevant set of audiences.

Using brand influencers is a method of marketing to a targeted set of customers, which in turn can potentially influence a much wider set of potential customers – even those that the company may be unaware. Of course, using brand influencers to market, promote, and sell the company’s offerings is not a new method. Brands consistently use movie stars, sports geniuses, and other such ‘celebrities’ to promote their products – and those companies that are unable to spend the huge sums required to pay these ‘celebrities’ are using other tactics to serve as brand influencers. Today these ‘small time’ but equally effective brand influencers have created a niche for themselves – top bloggers, ‘stars’ on popular social media channels, and other such people – are gaining popularity. Prospective customers tend to trust the opinion of such ‘influencers’, and would be more likely to buy product and or services recommended by them. Using brand influencers is a method of marketing to leverage the trust and confidence these people enjoy, to grow their business, enhance reputation, and build credibility.

Has your company found its brand influencers? How does a company identify them? Experts recommend that a company’s first step should be to identify and get a fix on its target customers. Even though the company’s products may have mass appeal, it is always prudent to focus on a set group as far as possible. The more focused a company can make its target customer segment, the more relevant, personalized, and engaging it would be able to make its communiqués. Once a company is able to narrow down its target customers, the next step would be to ascertain its goals and performance indicators that it would expect to achieve through the brand influencers. Based on the goals and KPIs, a company would be able to decide the ‘kind’ of influencers it would need – higher conversions, enhanced engagement, more brand awareness, greater reach, and other such goals.

It must be understood that unless a company is able to how to measure its goals and put a timeframe by when they can be achieved, goals would be useless. It would be pointless to reach out to potential brand influencers without deciding the goals and KPIs, since these would be necessarily required to measure and improve the company’s efforts in the direction of brand awareness and engagement. Some of the performance indicators would be inflow of website traffic, increase in conversions and sales, enhanced engagement, and higher brand reach. The best brand influencers would be those who would be able increase the reach, relevance, and interest of the target audience – not just work on one aspect of the KPIs. A company should ascertain how many people would see, read, and react to the messages of the brand influencers, how well the ‘influencer’ would be able to align the audience with the company’s values and vision. In addition, the company must be able to know how much importance the influencer places on the company and its offerings such that she or he exerts enough effort to make the brand resonate with customers. It is obvious then, that the aspects are inter-dependent, and it would be necessary for a company to find its brand influencers accordingly.

The tools available to companies today help them make the right decision with regard to which brand influencers to use. Through these tools, a company can search relevant content and find the relevant influencers by searching keywords pertinent to the industry of operation. In addition, some of the tools also provide data with regard to the number of times a post is read and shared, and which influencers seem to have a better ‘hold’ over the minds and opinions of the target audience. The main aim, of the popular ‘tools, is to find a company the best brand influencers who will help it grow its business exponentially.

Once a company has been able to identify the brand influencers it would like to associate with, the company must monitor their activities closely on a daily basis. The company must observe the kind of content and messages these influencers send out, and which of the messages resonate most with the audience. This is a vital and crucial step, which many companies make the mistake of ignoring, which in turn lowers their chance of getting the best brand influencers, forming a long-term association with them, and increasing the potential of their business. Once a company would be convinced of the efficacy of a brand influencer / s for its business, the next step would be to begin the process of building a strong and durable relationship with them. This again is a crucial stage, and companies must remember not to ‘jump’ straight into a partnership, without going through this step. By monitoring the potential brand influencers, a company would know exactly how to engage in a conversation with them, and how best to approach them for the most effective results. While it is important to build a relationship with the brand influencers, there is no single way to approach and engage with them – each company must assess the most effective way.

When reaching out to potential brand influencers there are however, some common methods. The first connection message that a company sends out must be personal, interesting, and engaging. Influencers receive requests and offers constantly, and they would be more amenable to respond to a company that seems extraordinary and with whom they would benefit too. The message should tell them that the company has done its groundwork and research, and that the partnership would be a perfect fit for both parties involved. The message must also reflect the direct and long-term benefits to the influencer – this will enable the influence to advocate the products / brand with more enthusiasm and conviction. Brand influencers too need a reason to help a business grow – they need to know that their time and effort would yield ‘fruits’ for them too. A two-way beneficial relationship always works better and lasts longer.

The use of brand influencers is growing – reports suggest that at least 75% marketers use it, and 47% say that this method is extremely effective and beneficial to their business. As an increasing number of companies look at using brand influencers to grow their business, it is sure to become a front-runner in the list of marketing tactics. However, businesses must remember to conduct research, do the groundwork, ascertain their target audience, and only then identify the best and most effective brand influencers for their company. Not all influencers may prove ‘right’ for a company – so it is imperative that a company directs its energy and focus on getting the right ‘partner’ for their business.

 

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