We live in a world where we are bombarded with information everywhere we turn. Brands are everywhere and if you look closely, the ones we engage with seem to follow us around the internet, popping up with adverts on every page we visit. The problem that creates is that people become distrustful. With so many companies taking up so much digital space, it’s difficult to know what to trust and what not.
One way that companies are finding to get around this problem is turning to influencer marketing. The ones we trust the most when it comes to making a purchase decision are often are friends and family. A trusted recommendation from a friend carries far more weight than an advert and that’s why more and more people are turning to social media and review sites before making purchase decisions.
To some extent, influencer marketing has been around for years. Celebrities have been endorsing products through advertising since advertising on TV began. Let’s face it, if it’s good enough for Beyonce it must be a pretty good product. Celebrities are trusted figures and with it comes exposure for a brand and respect from that celebrity endorsement, however people are looking for more.
Bloggers are becoming some of the most influential people in the digital space. The growth of content marketing has opened up opportunities for people to have a voice and many of these people are ‘experts’ in their chosen subject. The thing that bloggers have is authenticity. They are not been paid by companies to endorse their products. They may be given products and samples for free but typically they are seen as a much more trustworthy source of information than an advert by the brand.
We work closely with a wide blogging network, building up strong relationships and helping to get products and services reviewed and promoted through these ‘trusted’ sources. There are of course other ways of ‘developing’ your influencers, not just through blogging. Many companies set up Facebook communities for their most loyal customers. This can be tied in to a customer loyalty scheme but these communities will get the opportunity to test out products before they are launched or get sneak previews of upcoming products and services. BY nurturing these groups, companies can build a wide network of advocates who talk positively about them on social media platforms and the cost of managing these advocates is fairly minimal.
There are of course some drawbacks to influencer marketing, the main one been a lack of control. Sending samples and products to a blogger or to people within your community does not guarantee a positive review. This is when you need to be prepared to deal with any fall out and manage the negative feedback and publicity as well as the positive.
Influencer marketing is not limited to big companies as there are many different forms of influencer marketing. A small restaurant may encourage customers to leave reviews on line or a landscape gardener may write an informative blog telling people when they should be planting and where.
Larger companies will often take it to the next level and whilst customer reviews online are important and a company blog can help with engagement, other strategies such as forming influencer groups, loyalty programmes, online communities and celebrity endorsements are much more commonplace.
Whatever the size of your company, online influence is becoming increasingly important and at Teleno we can help you to leverage your customer influence.