“Consumers trust recommendations from a third party more often than a brand itself.”
– Kristen Matthews
All the 90 borns have grown up watching Shaktimaan. No one could deny the fact that Shaktimaan was the superhero of all those who have grown up in their 90s. Shaktimaan’s Chhoti Chhoti Magar Moti Baatein after the end of each episode through which he used to alert the children from harming their family or environment- still echoes in our ear no matter how grown up we are. We still couldn’t forget those small small tips – Switch off the fans and lights when not in use, save water, protect environment, always keep one’s promise, never tell lie, etc. This is the kind of effect an influencer can have on the minds of people. Let us first understand what do we mean by Influencers.
Who are Influencers ?
Influencers are those who can affect or impact someone’s opinions. There are many influencers we encounter in our day-to-day life like the celebrities, critics, opinion leaders,etc. who have the power to influence us. We can categorise the influencers into 4 levels – Celebrities, Publishers, Fans & Friends. The reach of the influencer is more as we move higher up the ladder and lesser on the lower side as shown below. Consumers look forward to their influencers for making purchasing decisions.
Influencer Marketing is the process of marketing goods and services to specific individuals called influencers who can impact our target customers. Marketers are now trying to tap the major chunk of the market using this strategy. Influencer Marketing is one of the most effective ways of tapping potential customers and establishing long term relationship with them. Consumers trust influencers more than the brand, so the need of the hour is to tap the influencer base to get hold of their potential customers.
Let us compare the reach of an individual with that of an influencer. We observe that the reach of an influencer is almost more than 1000 times the reach of an individual. This explains the wide impact an influencer carries with him.
Consumers generally prefer going online for finding reviews or recommendations from other people than trusting on brand content as they feel that the brand views are biased. Hence tapping the influencer base is very important for a marketeer to get hold of the market share. The following steps play a key role in implementing the strategy effectively:
1. Identifying the right influencer
The biggest challenge in implementing this strategy is to identify the right influencer. Social listening is an important tool in identifying the influencer. The first step in identifying the influencer is defining the target customer. After identifying the target customers, we should define the goals which the influencer needs to fulfill. After establishing the goals, the influencer is identified using three key parameters- Reach, Relevance & Resonance. We prefer an influencer having a proper mix of these three parameters. There are various tools like Buzzsumo, Klout & LittleBird which can help us in identifying potential influencers.
2. Finding the right engagement tactics
After identifying the influencers, the task underneath is to find the appropriate medium to engage with the influencer. This is one of the most important step in building a strong relationship with the influencer. We need to design the strategy for engagement properly. Billions of people are now mobile users. Major chunk of their time spent on mobile is on interacting with social media. All engagement tactics like giveaways, hashtag contests, blogposts can be optimized for mobile so that people can access the content posted by their influencers on mobile.
3. Measuring the performance of the campaign
After finding the correct platform and approach to engage with the influencer, the next important task before us is to measure the performance of the campaign after its implementation. Continuous monitoring of a campaign is important to ensure its successful implementation. Impact on influencers, impact on target audience & the impact on organization in business terms must be measured to get a correct idea about how the campaign is performing and what all improvements can be brought in the campaign. For example, if a campaign is launched through blog posts, then the following parameters can help gauge the performance of the campaign- social following, social impressions, comments, clicks on links, site visits, etc. Source: mediakix.com
4. Keeping track of Influencer’s activity
It is very important to keep track of the influencer’s activities from time to time. It can help us to gauge their interest areas and tap them effectively. In the world of Big Data, tracking the influencer’s activities is really difficult and requires specialized analytical tools. It is important that we nurture our relationship with the influencers by communicating with them from time to time. Engaging with them through social media, showing interest in their work, sharing articles and industry related news with them are effective ways of building a lasting relationship with the influencer. We can try tracking which all conferences the influencer has attended, what all he has spoken about the brand and its competitors, which all articles he has published, etc.
Tools for Activity Tracking
Activity tracking is very important to keep the details of influencers updated. It can help us in finding out which all influencers are active, what all they are saying, whom they are working with and how are they influencing customer’s decisions.We all would agree with the fact that each one of us has some or the other inspirer. It might be Shaktimaan, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan or any other. We try following and believing on what our inspirer says or does. Marketers are very clever in identifying these influencers of their targeted customer. After identifying it, the task becomes easier. Now-a-days there are many tools which can help us track these influencers. For example, if we want to know who has been the frequent user of the hashtag #pizzahut, we can go to the following link. Http://hashtagify.me/hashtag/pizzahut
We can see the top 6 influencers of the hashtag and their follower base. We can observe that RealTonyRocha with 2189584 followers is the most frequent user of this hashtag. Pizza Hut can grab this opportunity to tap this influencer with the largest follower base to influence their customers. In this way, we can see that identifying the influencer has become easy these days using various tools. Influencer marketing can help marketers grab the hidden opportunity if they use the social listening tools judiciously.