There are three key reasons why people buy products, services, and ideas: they need it, they think they need it, and they were told it’s a need.
In all these, influence marketing can play an important role.
A purchase driven by an actual need is rational, functional and intentional.
- Rational because there’s a reason to have it.
- Functional because it serves a purpose and solves a problem.
- And intentional because it’s essential.
Where influence marketing plays out is in the choice – why choose your brand over the others.
The ability of a business to grow is relative to its capability to influence customers to buy its products or services. Influence that need with these customer-centric influence marketing approaches.
Select an Influencer From Your Target Audience
Reaching your desired audience, and resonating to them, comes easy for an influencer who hails from the same target audience.
He/she not only knows the need, but can also speak of that need with authority having followers in the same space.
The real value of selecting an influencer from among your target audience is the trust among their followers. Without that trust, any results will be superficial.
An influencer from the same community can more effectively earn that trust and create a huge impact on your target audience.
Knowledge of your product, and the industry your business is in, can transform your influencer into a brand ambassador.
While influencer marketing originally stemmed from celebrity endorsements, the latter has now evolved to be just one form of it either as mega or macro-influencers. They influence from the point of their fame and popularity.
But there are now non-celebrity influencers with niche audiences, who often offer more value to brands. They are the micro-influencers, and more often than not, they are among your target audience or have followers among them.
Micro-influencers can reach your target audience easily, engage them, and build trust.
They are original content creators, with the unique selling proposition being their own style for producing engaging content that does not follow an advertising template.
Micro-influencers among the target audience can also be regarded as nano-influencers, whose word is gold to dedicated followers that are as few as 1,000.
A smaller follower count can be very powerful because reach is easy, relevance is reflexive, and resonance is a given.
Create Original Content and Leverage User-Generated Content
Whether it’s a video, an image, a text, a blog – content is the lifeline of influence marketing.
Content can be mined in-house, from an influencer, the influencer’s community, or the target audience itself.
Your brand is the content you create, so there’s merit in original content. It can have a consistent look, feel, and tone.
There’s also value in original content because of the opportunity to present your brand to potential customers. Creativity your way, with your message, your call.
But of all content sources, it is the organic, non-paid content that keeps followers interested, enthusiastic, and engaged.
Authenticity and ownership is the value of content generated from the community or the target audience.
Use reviews and feedback for content. Repost, or share them on your channels, or – better yet – feature the positive review as testimonials.
Customers feel valued when they are heard, even more so when they are promoted.
Product reviews are big among young customers, as they have a tendency to go for the popular choice, “most liked” and highly-recommended.
But when customers want to know about the quality and reliability of the product, they generally look to recommendations of peers, rely on reviews and feedback.
Therefore, influencers are key to reaching such customers.
Remember, though, that rules on disclosure must be observed by influencers. Sponsored product reviews or posts should be disclosed. Video reviews are not exempt from the rule.
Disclosure of the partnership – both written and verbal – must be within the video itself (not just the description).
The hashtags #ad and #sponsored can be used for disclosure, but people should be able to spot the disclosure easily, and not tucked in a jumble of hashtags
Choose the Most Influential Channels
The medium where you engage the customers, whether through your content or influencers, is the gateway to those customers. And social media is where they are.
Customers both young and old are influenced by what they see, read and hear on social media.
With 71% more likely to purchase based on social media referrals, social media is a major influencer to customers ready to buy from you.
For millennial customers, recommendations from peers, and/or popular posts of brands, can reap a lot of shares and likes that are likely to convert to actual sales.
Traditional advertising no longer appeals to customers as they prefer what their peers say, seek their opinions, and look for validation of their decision.
But it’s not the same for all customers. By understanding your target audience, you can determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand to utilize.
Every social platform has its own demographics that come in different shapes and sizes.
Each social media network has a unique user base and comes with its own content strategy, so the tactic cannot be one-size-fits-all.
This social media survey by Pew Research Center also indicated that “Instagram and Snapchat have an especially strong following among young adults.”
For your influence marketing strategy to work, focus your time, or that of your influencer’s effort, creating content for a platform where your audience actually has a large presence.
Income demographics also need to be considered when determining the purchase power of your customers. To focus on the buying customer means going niche in your approach in choosing influencer, content, and channel.