People trust their peers and people they look up to much more than big brands and marketing gimmicks. That’s the reason the number of influencers is increasing and influencer marketing is gaining more momentum.
For a successful influencer strategy and to successfully recommend services or products to your audience, you have to first clearly establish who exactly is your target audience. Your content format, promotional channels, target demographics and interests are going to be very different considering the audience that you’re targeting.
Additionally, the platform that you’re using for your influencer marketing will influence the length, format, the tonality and the overall style of your content. Once you thoroughly understand your target audience and even connect with them, it will be much easier to grow your personal brand as an influencer.
This article will teach you three strategies and target audience groups you could tailor your influencer strategy around. We’ll also discuss the platforms to choose for each strategy to capture and build your audience. You will also learn practical steps and guidelines to kickstart your way into becoming an influencer or authority in a specific niche.
Influencer Strategies in B2C Cheap Impulse and Emotional Products
Instagram influencers – that’s probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “influencer”. The basis of Instagram influencer marketing is that brand-loyal users (or brand ambassadors) recommend products and services to their loyal audience of followers.
These followers trust the influencer’s suggestions a lot more, because the followers identify with them and admire them in some sense. Recommendations sound a lot more sincere and unbiased when the same message would come from a real person, rather than a brand commercial.
In fact, 78% of marketers say that Instagram content is most effective for influencer marketing campaigns. One of the reasons is that Instagram photos are easy to produce, approve, publish and therefore – scale.
Another thing that’s really attractive about Instagram is the extremely high number of users on the platform, with over 1 billion users.
The content for Instagram is relatively easy to produce (compared to long-format videos), which makes it an affordable, relatively low-effort format. However, having crisp-looking beautiful photos is a hygiene factor for Instagram nowadays. That’s why top influencers use lightroom presets to make their photos pop and have a unique theme.
One of the reasons why Instagram is so enticing is the discoverability of the platform. It’s possible to amass a huge audience in a relatively short time frame. Most experienced gain Instagram followers by using hashtags.
However, spamming tons of hashtags on your post is not enough to generate a large following, or even wise influencer strategy. There is almost a science to using Instagram hashtags. They shouldn’t be too generic. You just won’t stand out from the crowd of tens of thousands of #beach hashtags.
You don’t want to have too unique hashtags either, because those just won’t be found. That is unless you’re creating your own hashtags, which can actually be a smart influencer strategy by promoting the use of that hashtag to your followers as well. In that case you want to be measuring the reach and the mentions of your unique hashtag.
Another vitally important Instagram metric is the engagement rate of your posts. Essentially, it measures how many of your followers actually engage with (like or comment) your content. It’s a signal that your followers care. This is a metric that most smart brands will check and verify when choosing an influencer to partner with.
So, the best way to have a high engagement rate is…well to make engaging content. Duh. But what makes a post stand out and be engaging? Here are some ways:
How to Make Your Social Media Content Stand Out and Be Engaging
- Start conversations with story stickers – Use question stickers to ask something from your audience, where they can tell their opinions; Or use a quiz sticker in your stories.
- Tag locations or users – Tagging a location or user on your post increases the discoverability and engagement of your posts
- Write longer captions – Instagram captions can be up to 2200 characters long. That’s a lot.
- Create shareable content – Posts that raise eyebrows or are a bit controversial in some sense usually are shared more
- Have fun with it – Just let your personality shine through and you’ll attract followers who think like you
Instagram caption length correlates with engagement
For Instagram and Facebook influencers, the most important strategic asset they have is their followers. That’s why it’s important to use social media analytics tools to understand your audience interests, demographics and affinities. When you know your follower metrics and your engagement rate, it gives you leverage and it becomes easier to negotiate better deals with brands. These are the main metrics brands look at when they’re doing influencer outreach.
When you’re negotiating deals, it’s wise to set the agreements of the influencer marketing campaigns. The most important factors to keep in mind are:
Influencer Marketing Campaign Specifics to Consider in Negotiations
- Number of posts expected to deliver
- Type of content (posts, stories, videos)
- Hashtags and keywords used
- Message that the brand is trying to convey
- Duration of the partnership
But what type of products are suitable for social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat influencers? The platforms are designed to be highly emotionally-charged and visual. Promoting products that are well-designed and beautiful tend to work great, because the influencer can show them off physically. Social media-based influencer recommendations help 49% of consumers decide what to buy.
Products that don’t require much explanations and appear exclusive are the perfect candidates for an Instagram influencer campaign. For example, wrist watches, gym gear and sports drinks tend to work great on Instagram.
To give you a real example, GymShark (the sports outfit company) has chosen influencer marketing as its main marketing strategy. And it’s working wonders for them. GymShark decided to sponsor 18 influencers, who had a combined 20 million followers in the US. This influencer strategy has proven to be extremely effective for them and boosted their sales.
Influencer Strategies in Costly B2C Products for Consumers
We’ve discussed simple physical products, which are basically “what-you-see-is-what-you-get”. But for some products there is more to than meets the eye. Sometimes there’s hidden value under the surface.
For example, smartphones, smart watches, headphones or even consumer-facing software products can have features that are not apparent right away. Oftentimes, these products are more expensive as well, and thus require more thought, comparison and consideration from the consumer.
A whole other type of influencer strategy is at play here. First of all, the influencer cannot ignore the fact that this is less of an impulse purchase because of the multifaceted features of the product. And because of that it’s sure that the consumer is going to do at least some “research” before making the decision to buy.
The research could mean reading a blog post about it or watching a review on YouTube. These consumers want to make an informed and well-considered decision when they’re about to invest in an expensive tech gadget. They want to make sure it fits their needs, durability and usability standards.
To actually have an influence on the purchase decision for the audience, the influencer should produce content that matches the level of detail that’s expected for such high cost consumer products. The influencer should have researched the product and preferably have some first-hand experience to share as well.
YouTube is the perfect platform to create this kind of deeply researched video content. The format of video inherently allows you to convey more information and actually creates a trustworthy connection due to the extra audio and video layers, which show your personality and personality. These layers help you build trust among your audience.
Authenticity and trustworthiness are the main keywords for this type of influencer strategy. The most successful and trustworthy YouTube reviewers and influencers talk willingly and honestly about the pros as well as the cons of the services and products they review. They’re not afraid to voice their honest opinion about the product if they genuinely think it’s rubbish. This level of openness and honesty shows their integrity, which makes them seem congruent and trustworthy.
The space of tech bloggers and influencers is extremely competitive. First, due to the high price point and therefore high commissions for the influencer if a follower buys with their promo code or affiliate link. The second reason is the high search traffic volume.
That’s why I recommend starting in a tight niche, addressing a narrow niche market segment. Try to become the thought and opinion leader in that arena, so far so that you totally dominate it. You can always expand your reach later.
For instance, if you want to become an influencer for wearable gadgets, start with “Best sport watches for swimmers” or “Best headphones for metalheads”. Go deep in your research and instill your knowledge and experience into your reviews. Always keep your target audience in mind.
The second important strategy for high cost consumer items’ influencer is to invest in the quality of your content. For YouTube videos it means really nailing the “hygiene” factors of YouTube product reviews. More specifically, that means:
How to Create Great YouTube Product Review Videos
- crisp audio quality (get a pro-level microphone)
- top-notch video quality (the standard today is 1080p)
- turn your webcam on (work on your shyness and get over it)
- edit and trim your video (alternating zooms and background music to engage your viewers)
- be clear and accurate in your speech (put attention into articulating your words)
Buying the required equipment to create content with this level of quality could be a quite significant monetary investment for you. Also time investment for learning the presentation skills and video montage skills that are needed. When looking at the expected degree of content quality for these costly consumer product reviews, it’s an absolute necessity. The good thing is that if you really get going and gain some momentum, you’ll notice the cumulative rewards.
Influencer Strategies in B2B High Ticket Products and Services
To continue on the topic of expensive products and services, another possible target segment is business executives and professionals. The products can be expensive marketing software or online courses. The cost for these products and services is usually also very high.
What’s attractive about this influencer strategy is that the rewards can be recurring. For example, being an affiliate for a subscription software product can mean that you’ll get paid as long as your referral keeps paying for the subscription. This kind of recurring revenue can really boost your income as an influencer.
However, to realize your influence in the B2B arena, you first have to create authority for yourself. You have to create your personal brand. You have to create valuable, expert-level content to build trust and assure your expertise.
A smart way of going about it is creating guest posts and blog articles on different websites and blogs in the niche, which you’re targeting. Having your name associated with niche-specific advice is a brilliant first move for putting your personal brand and message out there. In the same way, appearing as a guest in an industry-specific or a role-specific podcast is one of the most effective influencer strategies for getting your name out there.
The second extremely effective influencer strategy for creating authority in a particular niche is by hosting professional role-expertise or industry-specific webinars. Essentially, webinars are online live seminars in which the host is sharing practical knowledge or teaching a new skill to the audience regarding an industry-specific problem.
For example, the webinar could be “Effective Supply Chain Management in 2021”. This would target specifically supply chain managers who are looking to identify and eliminate wasteful steps and activities in their supply chain. A role-specific webinar example would be “7 Steps to Setting Up Lead Nurturing on Your Website”. This webinar would specifically target CMOs and marketing managers of small and medium sized businesses.
That being said, generating quality leads is one of the most important aspects of your B2B influencer strategy. You need to get relevant people on your webinar landing page and register. One of the best places to find and attract these kinds of leads is LinkedIn. In particular, there are 2 main strategies to generate leads to your webinar landing page using LinkedIn:
How to Generate Leads Using Webinars on LinkedIn
- Target specific people and work your way up to get their contact. This is for cases you know specifically who you’d like to target from which company and you’ll just need to find their email address.
- The second approach is a broader and automated approach. It works best for cases when you know your target audience’s job position or interests. For this kind of targeting, LinkedIn automation tools are used to automatically find relevant prospects.
By hosting these types of webinars, the event host will be seen as an expert and a thought leader in that field. The live aspect of webinars gives a chance to really engage and create a real connection with the audience. Online webinar platforms support this kind of engagement by having features, like:
Features to Look for in an Online Webinar Platform
- launching polls and sharing the results live
- showing slides and videos to illustrate talking points
- answering audience questions
- letting an attendee take the stage to share their personal experiences
After the influencer has emphasized with their audience about the problem, it’s ultimately time to offer a solution to that problem. That’s when suggestions for particular software or products come to play. When the webinar host (the influencer) has created trust and warmed up their audience, it’s time to launch the live webinar offer. This usually happens near the end of the webinar and that’s usually when the influencers cash in.
Having these audience engagement and live offer features are a crucial part of your influencer strategy if B2B webinars is your game. That’s why it’s paramount to choose a webinar platform which enables these features.
That being said, not all your webinar attendees will be ready to buy right away. Often these types of business decisions require managerial approval and can even take several weeks to actually convert into a sale for you. That’s why it’s important to gather email leads and continue to produce valuable content.
Having a targeted email list of leads who know and trust you is an incredibly valuable asset. You may leverage your email list to establish yourself as an authority even more by writing weekly industry-specific newsletters and occasionally recommend a product or a service to your audience.
Choosing Your Target Audience and the Right Influencer Strategy
Making the choice between these influencer strategies can be a hard one. All of them require a lot of investment in terms of time and money. It could take well more than a year before you’ll start seeing some real results. So, you really have to commit to one strategy and target audience to make it work.
But how to choose the right influencer strategy and platform? First, think about your skills and experiences. Odds are that you already have some type of experience in a specific field. If you’re passionate about that and see yourself digging deeper into that, go with it.
Another aspect to consider is which type of content do you enjoy creating. If you tend to be a detail-oriented person and value in-depth research, it would come more naturally to create content for costly consumer products or software.
If you’re a more hands-on, practical person and enjoy the flashy colors of social media, then impulse-driven low-cost products might be down your alley. Then definitely go with Instagram.
For all of these influencer strategies, it’s important to offer value first and not appear too pushy. If all you’re trying to do is push the sale, then you’ll start losing your congruency and trust within your audience.
Key Takeaways and Actionable Next Steps
If you could remember only one thing, it’s this – deeply understand your target audience and the thought process that goes into making a purchase decision. Only then you can choose the right channel and the right methods to have an influence on these purchase decisions.
Building a personal brand takes time. There’s no way around that. The only way to keep the momentum and keep yourself going is choosing a target market, which you identify with. Choose an influencer strategy that feels most natural to you. That’s the best way to keep producing content for a long time and not quit. That being said, don’t be afraid to make mistakes or even switch your influencer strategy. Oftentimes, it takes some trial and error to get it right. It’s hard to know what feels most natural to you if you haven’t even tried it. The most important advice is to actually start and try something. See how it feels. Adjust, rinse and repeat.
This guest post was written by Erkki Muuga. Erkki is the creator of WebinarSoftware.org, a blog dedicated to help marketers, coaches and start-ups leverage webinars to grow their businesses. Having over 5 years of experience in building software either as a founder or a product manager enables him to give deep and thoughtful insight in his blog. After having travelled the world, Erkki currently lives in Estonia, the land of start-ups.
Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash
Influencer Strategies FAQs
The key to developing an influencer strategy is determining your target audience. You need to learn first the demographics and interests of the audience you are targeting so you will know the format of your content and which channel will work the best for your strategy. By knowing your audience, you’ll be able to tailor your influencer strategy and connect with them that will eventually lead to growing your brand.
If you are an aspiring social media influencer, you need to have authority. From the definition itself, influencers have the ability to influence other people. If you have the authority, people will trust and follow you. Besides authority, you should also be authentic and passionate. It’s vital to be knowledgeable on your niche but you also need to show who you are and you love what you do so more people will like and admire you.
The best way to approach an influencer is by reaching out to him/her personally. Always perform research about the influencer first so you will get an idea of the best method to approach him/her. Leaving a good impression and warming up the relationship is important. In your message/email, it is more desirable to include what you saw in his/her work that made you decide to work with him/her. Moreover, detail what your brand can bring to the influencer.
A successful influencer is a real, passionate expert who loves and cares about his/her craft. A great influencer is followed by his/her audience because he/she creates content out of passion. He/she loves to learn more and share all the knowledge with his/her audience. Moreover, people can relate to him/her because of being relatable and empathetic. He/she understands what his/her audience needs.
The most famous influencer is Cristiano Ronaldo. The football professional player has a massive following on Instagram alone (274 million) and is currently the most followed account on the platform (aside from Instagram). Furthermore, he has consistently been the top earner influencer in the platform. Cristiano has collaborated with lots of big brands like Nike, Unilever, Herbalife and Clear.