Remember 30 years ago when Bruce Jenner got everyone to buy Wheaties?
Okay, that’s not completely accurate. Though back then purchasing behavior was often influenced by recognizable figureheads like athletes, celebrities and dancing raisins. We were so shallow.
But advertising methods have changed. Now we’re a different kind of shallow.
Purchasing Behavior Is Now Influenced by Social Media Stars
It’s true. Bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers with a slew of followers are the ultimate authority on what’s cool. (Even if they’re painfully uncool.)
They could be spinning anything from brilliantly thought-provoking content to senselessly heart-warming pictures of baby animals to seventy-three ways to pointlessly crush a bowling ball on a hydraulic press.
At any rate, cool or not, these social media influencers are key to growing your presence on the internet. And with the vast and sundry array of endless distractions, the internet is a hard place to be truly present. (That’s why those working to master the art of meditation will choose the land of the Yeti over that of Yahoo!, hands down.)
How Do Social Media Influencers Help Your Business?
Well, actually, they can do this in a number of ways. They can:
1. Help Build Trust
Something like 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends, family or people they know. Only 58 percent trust branded websites. But get this - 70 percent said they trust online consumer opinions. People are more likely to believe strangers than the website’s brand.
So does that mean if your paper production company’s website states unequivocally that they don’t source their wood from the highly endangered Truffula tree, all it takes is an emphatic “Not true!” from some guy at email@example.com to deter that 12%?
Probably not. But it isn’t gonna look good for you.
If, on the other hand, your paper company donates a portion of their proceeds to conserving the Truffula tree, and firstname.lastname@example.org spreads the word (and has a surprising number of followers), it’s gonna click with people. They're likely to remember it. And, even better, since the info came from an influencer the audience already trusts, they’re likely to believe it.
Boom! Trust established.
2. Wear Or Use Your Product
You want to work with influencers who are relevant to your niche and will appreciate your products. So get in touch with them. Make them aware of your products.
As we’ve said before, people love freebies. So send them some. They can try them and if they’re into your stuff, they’ll talk about it on their highly influential sites.
Their followers will be foaming at the mouth to try your stuff next. And it will give your product a serious boost.
3. Write a Favorable Review about You
Way back in the day, like a good nine months ago, keyword optimization was all you needed to kick up your search engine ranking. But not anymore.
Google likes high-quality organic links. (And we don’t mean chemical-free breakfast meat.)
So when you partner with super-star bloggers who write features about and reviews for your products or services, you'll start building those high-quality links. That means more traffic to your site and improved search engine ranking.
4. Generate Quality Leads
While you’re imagining all of the traffic flooding your site, ease back a moment. It’s not all about reach. If only a small percentage of those visitors are going to be genuinely interested in your product or service, they’ll just be gumming up the works.
For example, if you’re selling ball-point pens and the social media influencer happens to have a subset of friends who are rabid anti-ballpointillists, things could go south fast. To yield the highest ROI for your digital marketing spending, you want leads who are deeply passionate about ball point pens.
In other words, to get quality leads, stick with social media influencers who specialize in your specific niche.
5. Engage New Audiences
You’ve got some heavy hitting social media influencers loving on you.
Their followers have never heard of you.
It’s not really the end though. The influencer gave you the VIP pass to brand awareness, but now you have to prove yourself. Offer a giveaway or run a contest and ask the influencers to promote it.
Here’s how it works.
Let’s say you sell specialty cakes featuring exotic fruits. Just find yourself an influential food Instagrammer who has a big following. After you’ve won her over with your gorgeous ganache with goji berries, she could post an image of one of your featured specialties.
In the caption, she could announce a giveaway to her followers and give them the step-by-step on how to participate.
The rules of the giveaway could require users to follow both her and your Instagram account. They may also be required to repost the photo, tag both accounts, and include you branded hashtag in the caption in order to enter.
And now you’re out there.
6. Drive Conversions
Even though some of the top social media influencers may not be old enough to drive cars, they can drive conversions.
Again, this is not a matter of handing over the keys to the influencer and expecting miracles. Because no matter how passionately influencers promote your product, there will always be consumers who hate to part ways with their money.
So consider developing and offering a special discount code that’s valid for a limited time.
These work in two ways. First, they can be promoted through your influencers to give their followers an extra reason to buy your service. Second, by creating a unique discount code for each influencer, you'll be able to track how many conversions each influencer generates.
So How Do You Get Social Media Influencers?
If the sheer overwhelming awesomeness of your product or service doesn’t do the trick alone - and, no offense, it usually doesn’t - you’ll likely find that you’re paying your social media influencers a commission.
But if you scratch their backs, they’ll scratch yours. And it could be really worth it. Just be sure they don’t have claws.