Influencer marketing takes on many different forms. You may not have a large budget, but you also don’t have to hire the top celebrity in Hollywood to make an impact on your marketing efforts. Micro-influencer marketing is on the rise, and it may be even more effective than celebrity recommendations, depending on the audience you’re trying to reach.
Some 88 percent of consumers say they’ve made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation. Influencer marketing works with nearly any industry you can imagine, but the influencers you use and the techniques to reach the audience will change. You must first figure out who your target audience is and get to know them well by studying the analytics of your website and surveying current customers. Once you know your audience, you’ll better understand how to utilize influencer marketing to your advantage.
Although it isn’t possible to look at every industry out there, studying how some common industries utilize influencers for their own marketing efforts shows how you might add this type of marketing to your promotional lineup.
There is fierce competition in the travel industry. No matter what type of tour you offer, or what type of hotel you run, expect competition to spring up matching what you do. If you want to attract more tourists and grow your brand, you simply must reach out to your target audience online. Utilizing the help of influencers is a great way to reach a segment of the population.
DK Grand Safaris gets repeat and word-of-mouth business for their Nairobi-based safaris. The problem is that not many people go to Africa every year on vacation — it’s more of a once-in-a-lifetime trip. In order to grow their business and compete with the many other safari companies in Kenya, they teamed up with The Travelista, a blogger who reaches people who love to travel. Jess Gibson went on one of their safaris, snapped photos and shared her experience with her readers.
The world of post-secondary education is highly competitive, not only to get into top schools but also to gain the top students in each year’s high school graduation classes. Big schools often take to the internet to reach the younger generation. From students sharing posts about their experience at a school to bloggers who cover the advantages of certain colleges, influencer marketing is sometimes planned and sometimes accidental for universities.
The efforts of schools provide interesting case studies for small business owners, showing that sometimes the best promotion is one you don’t plan. Instead, focus on giving customers the best experience possible and, in turn, some of them will talk you up on social media to their own followers. Word-of-mouth influencer marketing is one of the most powerful recommendations possible. Even non-celebrity influencers convince people to buy from brands.
3. Home Improvement
Home improvement companies have been slower to get online than some other industries. Since many home improvement brands serve local homeowners, an online presence seemed unnecessary in the past. However, now that more people have smartphones and access to the internet at their fingertips, they use their mobile devices to search for local businesses before choosing which ones to call for a quote. An online presence is now vital.
Home improvement brands can utilize influencer marketing by tapping into local celebrities or those known for home improvement in some way. A few words from a well-known person may be all it takes to gain the trust of new customers and open the door to gaining their business.
50 Floor uses Richard Karn, who played Al on the television show “Home Improvement,” as a spokesperson for their product. Al is a well-known celebrity, which works well for any business. If you can afford the endorsement of a celebrity spokesperson, they can serve as a powerful influencer for your brand. If your budget is limited, look for local celebrities willing to work with you. Start with any celebrity customers you might have who are already happy with your product or services.
The fashion industry has used influencers to their advantage for many years to inspire consumers to buy specific clothing lines. Even Fashion Week serves as a bevy of supermodel influencers who model the clothes and thus encourage the public to buy what they’re wearing. In addition to the publicity from Fashion Week, many designers team up with celebrities who then wear their lines on the runway and talk about “who they’re wearing.”
5. Insurance Companies
When people purchase insurance, they want to feel secure in their selection. Insurance is meant to bring peace of mind, and knowing a particular influencer endorses a brand makes the company seem more reliable to users. Think about some of the bigger insurance companies, such as Progressive, who developed their own built-in celebrity with Flo, or Nationwide using their customers and real-life situations to highlight how you can count on their help.
Esurance enlisted the help of actor Dennis Quaid to talk up their services. The commercials play on television and their YouTube channel, giving them both online and offline exposure. Quaid doesn’t hide the fact that Esurance hired him to talk them up, but he seems quite smitten with their services, and because people know who he is and that he’s likable, his influence has a strong impact on viewers.
6. Credit Industry
The credit industry serves consumers and businesses, making it both a business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) company. They’ve used online influencers as a way of reaching small business retailers through campaigns such as #LoveMyStore. Not only did they team up with Emily Henderson, an interior designer and blogger, but they also ran a “Love My Store” photo contest on social media. They asked stores to place AmEx signage in their storefronts as well.
Although there’s a lot of competition among credit companies, both to gain consumers and businesses, getting business owners involved in helping promote their services seems to be quite effective. This is an example of how much power micro-influencers have online.
Whether your retail store is online or offline, using influencers helps people who’ve not yet been introduced to your brand to make a connection. People tend to turn to reviews before making a purchase. One survey showed that about 93 percent of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. What if you could get ahead of that trend and ask your favorite customers to add reviews of your products or services? Don’t be afraid to encourage “citizen influencers” to become ambassadors for your brand.
YouFoodz is a meal delivery service that uses online influencers to spread the word about their new menu via Instagram. Influencers share photos of meals and add captions or hashtags to draw attention and start conversations about the meals. For example, they teamed up with 81 different influencers on Instagram for 167 posts with the tag #mealtimereimagined. This resulted in reaching nearly 1.5 million users.
Juli Mare runs a food blog and online group for foodies. She shared a photo of some of the food choices all dressed up and suggested having a waffle and ice cream for breakfast. The creativity behind her post resulted in 496 likes and numerous comments.
Technology industries are naturally suited for influencer marketing. Whether you make software for businesses and want to get the word out, or you sell a high-tech product that makes lives better, look for people who have a following in your target audience and offer to let them try out your brand. If the influencer likes what you have to offer, they can drive traffic to your website, which results in conversions.
Is There Anywhere Influencer Marketing Doesn’t Work?
There are some risks with influencer marketing. If you get too salesy, people may not find your influencer authentic and will shy away from your brand. This is particularly dangerous for big-ticket purchases such as homes or automobiles. An inexperienced influencer may harm your brand image more than help it, so choose people who’ve done other campaigns and been successful.
However, with the right plan and attention to detail, influencer marketing truly works for any industry you can think of. They key is finding an influencer who has an audience that matches your needs as a business. With a little collaboration, you can figure out the best way to reach that audience and encourage them to try your brand.