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This is the guest post by Japs Buidon.         

With the rise of different social networks comes the rise of social media influencers as well. Who are they, and what good can they bring to your brand or business? Read on.

The first widespread use of influence in marketing can be dated back to the late 1800s where the influence of popular celebrities are leveraged to market cigarettes and home goods services. And from then on, the influence of prominent personalities and the biggest names in different industries are used to market products and services.

Two centuries after, in 2004, blogging became popular. In 2006, social media networks became mainstream. Slowly, bloggers, YouTube vloggers, and other people gained their influence in their own social networks.

Now, their influences are being used by different brands to market their products and services to wider audiences.

How Social Media Influencers Benefit Brands and Businesses

Together with the boom of the different social networking platforms, more and more marketers are collaborating with a variety of influential social media users to build a bigger audience for their brands and businesses. These social media influencers help brands increase their brand trust and awareness, engagement, and sales.

Let’s determine who an “influencer” is first. Anyone who has an authority and a measurable level of influence within a specific niche or his/her respective audience is, whether online or offline.

On the other hand, a social media influencer is anyone who has a considerable amount of influence across the different social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and various blogs.

What is it with these social media influencers that marketers are tapping on them for marketing?

  • With social media influencers, you can tap different sets of audiences across different the social platforms, thus, increase your scope and attract more people to your brand which can convert to actual sales. They have varying and unique sets of followers, which is a good, plus in collaborating with them in marketing your brand, products, or services.

But, numbers aren’t everything when it comes to influencer marketing, engagement is. Sometimes, an influencer with a small community is more effective than an influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers. Micro-influencers are great in engagement. For better results, build relationships with influencers with different levels of influence instead.

  • After developing strong relationships with influencers, having them to market your brand becomes more personal, authentic, seamless, and effective. Influencers marketing your products or services will appear more like personal recommendations which are more hit with consumers. The majority of consumers trust peer recommendations than ads.

Different brands today invite a variety of social media influencers to their events, product launches, etc. To build relationships with them. Because of this, these influencers treat them more like friends than business partners. In return, they give more personal and genuine posts about the experiences they have with the brand’s products or services.

  • Last but not the least, influencers’ huge amount of influence over their audience can be passed on to you. When you find the right influencer for your brand, you’ll notice a significant increase in your following, and eventually, sales – most especially when your product or service is easily shared through recommendations or word of mouth.

In 2015, a budding Filipina entertainment personality referred to by fans as “Yaya Dub,” made one of MAC’s lipsticks sold-out. The huge influence she has over her followers made them rush to the nearest MAC stores after discovering the lipstick she’s using. Take note; she’s not even an official endorser of MAC. Truly, influence benefits marketing.

MAC Confirms Sold-Out Lipstick Was Because of Yaya Dub

To reap the full benefits and success of marketing through social media influencers, you must first figure out how to select the right influencers that fit your brand. You are more than just finding a suitable influencer to market your brand; you are also choosing someone to build a relationship with.

How to Select the Right Social Media Influencers for Your Brand

Leveraging social media influencers in your brand marketing strategies is building relationships with the people who can build relationships that will both benefit them and your brand. More than that, in choosing the right social media influencer for your brand, you must:

  1. Get to know who your customers are –  Leverage different strategies such as in-depth analyses to get to know your customers better. Figure out how they think, what activities they are into, etc. If you fully know who your customers are, it’ll be easier to craft a message they can relate to.

Roxy, a popular women’s clothing and lifestyle brand, searched for and involved their passionate customers in determining who a Roxy girl is to them through ‘slambook’ style collages filled with quotes and photographs. Through this, they were able to determine which influencers to tap on.

  1. Choose an influencer you can partner with – Besides looking for someone who your customers can resonate with, look for someone you can have a longtime partnership with. You must also find someone you can offer something of value to capture his/her audience.

If you’re a swimwear brand, for example, you can look for influencers such as surfers, fashion bloggers, travelers, etc. Your product can fully suit and sustain their lifestyles. Likewise, they can offer you a more personal “marketing” of your brand and products.

  1. Collaborate with those who have a huge amount of influence on your target market or audience – This guideline pretty much explains itself. Let’s say, you’re a cosmetic brand, collaborate with a beauty vlogger in her makeup tutorial video. After using your product in her tutorial, her audience will most likely rush out to buy your product after watching.
  1. Have influencers for all sorts of social platforms – You’re lucky if you find someone who fits your brand well and has a strong influence in all social networks available. However, that type of influencer is rare and may be hard to find. So, you must have a mix of a variety of people who are strongly influential in their specific niche or social platform.
  1. Consider micro-influencers too – The requirement for the number of followers depend on the niche you are targeting. If you’re aiming at a brand with an over-saturated niche, like fashion, you must look for an influencer with at least 10,000 followers.

However, if your target niche is still new or not that big, consider tapping on micro-influencers too. Micro-influencers, because of their smaller niche, can engage better with their audience.

With the right mix of influencers as your seeds, you can reap a bountiful social marketing harvest.

Influence Marketing Quotes to Get You Started

People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising.

Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman, CEO, & Co-Founder of Facebook

Influencer marketing at its core is about developing real relationship to ultimately champion your influencers to market with you.

Amanda Maksymiw, an award-winning marketer

There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them.

Malcolm Gladwell (in his book The Tipping Point)

 Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.

Seth Godin, an American best-selling author, and entrepreneur

With the right set of social media influencers, your business can reap the many significant benefits of influencer marketing. Start finding influencers you can build relationships with today, and in the days to come, reap the harvest and conversions you’ve always been aiming for!

Author Bio: 

Japs Buidon is a Social Media Specialist and SEO from Always Open Commerce. He loves hiking as well as electronics.