Influencer marketing: What is it, and how can it work for me?

February 22, 2017

Conceptually, it’s easy to understand traditional advertising. Much about it is the same as it always was: advertisers get a certain amount of space and/or time ― on a website, on a television show, in a newspaper ― to promote what they’re selling.

They purchase a block of real estate, craft a message, design the look and place it in front of hundreds, thousands, even millions of eyes.

This method has been around for so long because it works.

But the ways in which we interact with the world are changing, and advertising is changing, too.

Consider this: Nearly a quarter of all people ― and nearly half of those between 18 and 24 ― use services online to block ads from appearing on websites. And 74 percent turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions.

How, then, do businesses get their messages across?

One growing method is via influencer marketing.

What is influencer marketing?

Instead of paying a website or newspaper to place a traditional ad, some businesses are beginning to pay influential people to personally promote their products.

Influencers, simply, are people who are listened to and trusted among the audience you’re trying to reach.

“When you have a personal brand, when you have an audience and people see you as a thought leader in your specific niche or market,” writes AJ Agrawal in a recent article for Forbes, “you have something no one else does: you have people’s attention.”

If someone with a network significantly larger than yours ― or a personal brand that shows him or her as a thought leader ― talks about your business in positive ways, that can be powerful. That can be worth paying for.

What do these influencers do?

Typically, influencers will speak to their audiences in the medium they’re most influential in. They might tweet about a recent experience at your business or post an Instagram photo of something they bought there. Maybe they’ll post on Facebook or write a blog post singing the praises of your products, your services, your value to the community ― whatever you’d like them to promote.

The cool thing about influencer marketing is that you’re tapping into the trustworthiness of the influencer and into that person’s pre-built audience. Someone who’s a recognized authority in your community or among your desired audience will already have the ear of your potential customers.

Does influencer marketing work?

You bet it does. According to data compiled by TapInfluence, 49 percent of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions, and influencer marketing content delivers an 11 times higher return on investment than traditional forms of marketing.

If you’d like to discuss the merits of influencer marketing and how it might work for your small business near Bellingham, WA, feel free to get in touch with PR Consulting. We are a trusted voice in Whatcom County and can help you determine what marketing tools could be best for your business.

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