What is Influencer Marketing,
and how does it fit in with my content?

Yes, you are able to target to audiences like never before.
But, with influencer marketing, you can go much farther than if you market alone.

By Curtis Kitchen, NAA Director of Communications

Sometimes, it is hard to keep up with every bit of new marketing lingo that’s tossed around. The good news is “influencer marketing” – one of the latest trendy terms to flood your email and LinkedIn timeline – isn’t hard at all.

Influencer marketing is finding those key individuals who hold influence in the public sphere and can help advocate for your brand among the masses. Simply put, “influencer marketing” is the present day’s word-of-mouth.

But, don’t let the simplicity of that idea fool you. Influencer marketing is the next piece to build and connect to your content marketing plan, and strategy is involved on many levels. This includes being able to manage relationships, politics, and other issues that can rise up out of depending on independent sources to push your content.
“But, wait,” you’re saying. “With all of the opportunities available to marketers to directly target their audiences and markets like never before, why would anyone need influencers?”

Influencers are necessary because these people are your translators to their audiences. Despite your ability to target audiences and markets better than you ever have, these people often speak the language of their platform better than you do, and they have the time and means to do it.

Why are those skills and time worth it to you? The game isn’t the same as it once was. Word-of-mouth on the web now includes those who post, like, share, blog, and pin. All of those people have audiences, some much bigger than others. The ones who have grown into a large-scale, respected role that can sway public sentiment for, or against, your brand with their audiences … those are your influencers.

Influencer marketing: How to find influencers

While your close friends, family, and best customers can and speak highly of your brand or service, they may not actually be the best influencers if they aren’t respected voices in the target audiences you covet.

So, the first question is: How do you find influencers relevant to your brand? There are two easy ways to begin the rooting out process.

The first way is to do a quick online search on social media platforms to see who is talking about your brand or industry. For example, search for “auction” or another term of interest. Browse the conversations. Look for users who: 1) have large audiences; 2) post frequently; and, 3) post original ideas and conversations that relate to the content and brand you would like to spread.

As you go, build a list of the folks you identify and capture their contact information. Then, as you go along, engage with these people. See how (and when) they respond. If things appear legitimate, you can add them to your influencer list.

Another way to identify influencers is to use keyword tools that will seek out influencers for you. A couple of these tools include BuzzSumo and EpicBeat. These kinds of sites allow you to instantly see who holds the most influence given a specific current topic, potentially saving you a ton of time and effort in locating the right influences as they apply to you.

And finally, search relevant conferences for presenters. You probably know the best places your peers are going for continuing education, or for hearing presenters (both live and online). Those presenters should certainly be on your radar as possible influencers to add to your group.

Is influencer marketing working?

Undeniably, the answer is yes, it works. According to data collected by SlideShare in its “Augure State of Influencer Engagement,” 93 percent of respondents said influencer marketing was either effective or very effective in raising brand awareness. 75 percent said it helped generate new sales leads; and, 76 percent said it increased customer loyalty.

In terms of being able to measure your own influencer marketing efforts, that’s where those sites mentioned above are handy. They, and several others, are built to spit out collective data surrounding those keywords you indicate. Going farther, once you begin to saturate those same audiences with your content, you will be able to use the same sites that brought you influencers to see how well those individuals are doing in terms of sharing and influencing others to your brand.

At this point, you’re likely ready to start finding your influencers. Start with your search, build your list, connect with your targets and begin building your relationships with them. Then, introduce your content to them, and you will be on your way.