Can you remember the last time a positive review or referral from a friend impacted your decision to make a purchase? If you acted on the suggestion, it was probably in part because it came from someone you trusted. This authentic word-of-mouth promotion is a powerful tool in the marketing world, and one of the ways you can leverage it is through social media influencers.
A social media influencer is a person who has a large following on social media and influence in their field. With influencer marketing, you can leverage the following of these individuals by using endorsements, product placement, or another form of sponsorship. Influencer marketing, particularly during this time COVID-19, can offer many benefits that go above and beyond regular marketing tactics. At this moment when digital marketing is more vital than ever for reaching your customers, credible influencers can give you a major boost on social media, drive the conversation about your brand, and help boost sales. They are especially helpful during an economic downturn, as they offer a unique funnel to your business, reaching new markets that your business may not otherwise have been noticed in.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the benefits of investing in influencer marketing during COVID-19, how it can help grow your business, and what to do to get started today!
The Benefits of Influencer Marketing During COVID-19
Nothing adds to a brand’s credibility like endorsement from a credible source. People get a sense of security towards a brand when they hear positive things about it from sources they trust, especially when those sources are real people that they feel a connection with or look up to, like their favorite influencer. The benefit to influencer marketing is the opportunity to have a real, trusted person willing to back up your brand publicly using their own experiences with it. A great influencer can endorse a brand in an authentic way by expressing their unique personal insights (i.e. “I’ve tried so many razors but none leave my skin feeling this smooth”) on the brand/product that make it both promotional and credible.
Furthermore, peer influence is proven to be highly impactful on consumer’s purchasing decisions. We tend to trust the opinions of other people in similar positions to us much more than we trust faceless business entities. This becomes especially true when it comes to people we look up to, like influencers. The person is, at least to their audience, like a trusted peer. They can describe the benefits of the product from a consumer perspective, which can be a great boost for your sales and brand reputation.
How Influencer Marketing During COVID-19 Can Grow Your Business
Influencer marketing can be especially effective during COVID-19 because it can boost publicity and help reach new markets. Each influencer offers a unique niche audience, making your brand visible in new circles. This allows for the opportunity to reach potential customers outside of your regular channels. For example, in recent months the Billie razor has become popular on social media, endorsed by several influencers. If the Billie brand had simply advertised from their own channel, their ads might only reach consumers who have shown interest or buying patterns related to razors or hair removal. By having influencers share the product within their travel, health, fitness, or beauty circles, Billie soared in popularity.
Influencers are also highly effective in terms of driving traffic to your website. Because these people often have their own blogs, sites, or even just strong social media platforms, they can easily funnel people into your channels through their own. Plus, the more your website is linked to from other sources, the more relevance search engines attribute to your website, which helps rank you higher in search results. During COVID-19 when many customers are spending less, influencer marketing can help make up for lost traffic and even grow your profits as your audience widens.
How to Get Started with Influencer Marketing During COVID-19 Today
Define Your Influencer Program
- The first step to creating an influencer program is to outline your marketing plan, including your objectives and target audience. This will help you discover which influencers would be viable candidates for achieving your goals. Some examples of goals for the program might be increasing new user traffic to your website by 10% each month, doubling user engagement in the next quarter, growing sales by 20% before the end of the year, etc. Whatever your objectives are, they should be used to guide your influencer marketing program.
- Once you’ve settled on your influencer marketing plan, the next step is deciding how you will incentivize your influencers. There are many ways to run an influencer program, and they vary by business. You can pay them a certain amount for each post they make about your brand, offer them free products in exchange for them posting a review on their channel, even grant them exclusive offers or deals on your products. We recommend doing some research and deciding what works best for your budget.
- Finally, determine how you will track and analyze your metrics. How will you measure the success of your influencer marketing plan? The metrics you choose to use for measurement should be based on the objective you decided on in step 1, whether that’s bringing more people to your website, turning more traffic into conversions, driving sales, etc. Then you can track clicks, impressions, engagement, and/or sales to see how effective the program is in achieving that goal.
Find Your Influencer(s)
Next, make a list of potential influencers to reach out to. You can start with a simple search on social media. Look for users who engage with your content, use your hashtags, mentions or related keywords, or post about your product. Twitter, IG, Facebook groups, SubReddits, and LinkedIn are great places to start.
Once you’ve found a list of potential influencers, review each one and assess based on a few key characteristics:
- Content quality: Do they have high-quality posts and would you feel good about them representing your brand? You’ll want to consider everything from their photography, their writing, their videos, their promotional skills, and their overall tone.
- Influence: Do they have a lot of followers? If so, do their fans seem to look up to them for their knowledge of the industry? Are they a trusted and credible source? Do they have previous experience representing a brand, and have they been successful in promoting similar products in the past?
- Personality: Assess how well their personality matches your brand’s identity. Be sure to check for anything that could damage your brand as well, such as too many political posts, offensive content, or trash-talking other people or brands. Remember, this person will be representing your brand, so ask yourself: Would this person be a good fit to promote the values of your business? Do they represent your voice and product well?
Work With Influencers
When you decide on a person you feel would be a good fit, you can ask them to join your influencer program, usually via email or a direct message on their social media channel. If they accept, you will need to do the following:
- Create a contract so you both agree on the terms and conditions, including how they will promote your brand, how long the partnership will last, and how often they should post about it. Include:
- Duties and Responsibilities of the Influencer Partner
- Deliverables and Deadlines
- Payment Details
- Usage, License, and Copyright
- Provide them with the resources they need to be successful. Give them a virtual handbook on your influencer partnership program, provide them with the materials they need, and offer dedicated support channels to help them if they have questions.
- Empower them! It’s important to keep them excited about the opportunity they are a part of. You can motivate them by getting them information about new products, offering bonuses and/or commission on their sales, offering new specials, and more. Remember that it’s critical that the influencer has a good experience both with your product and your brand, so that they can invoke the same genuine enthusiasm in their audience. Their positive outlook on your brand is vital to the success of the influencer marketing program.
There are many benefits to implementing influencer marketing during COVID-19, but above all, influencers can cultivate a unique enthusiasm about your brand. Their promotion of your products and services engages people in an authentic and meaningful way, helping you to build a relationship of trust with your consumers during a time of uncertainty for many people.
It’s also important to remember that influencers can only promote what is already effective about a brand. So make sure you’ve created a solid digital and social media marketing strategy during COVID-19, so that your influencers can use this as a foundation to strengthen and grow your reputation.
For more tips on creating a successful marketing strategy, read: TIPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL MARKETING DURING COVID-19
We know introducing new social media marketing tactics like this can seem daunting, and SND Agency is here to help. We are a full-scale social media management agency with expertise in building a strong social media presence and growing businesses through digital marketing. For help growing your businesses now and in the future, contact us today!