Influencers may be bloggers. Many are not. They’ve built an audience and a successful channel on Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram or Snap Chat. They’re making Vine videos and live-streaming on Periscope.
Connecting with the right influencers and having them endorse and spread your messaging has been a core part of PR for decades. We used to call them opinion leaders, then thought leaders and now they’re referred to as influencers. Whatever you call them, the notion that there are certain people who lead the pack and influence what others think and do is 100% valid.
Trust is the key to influencer marketing. Marketers report that they get a better quality of customer from an influencer referral because the relationship starts with a trusted source. The trick is to find the right influencers for your brand or organization.
Traditionally influencers were people with a high profile – like authors, media personalities and celebrities. The Internet changed that. It provided a way for anyone and everyone to create and publish content. Teens are more likely to be influenced by YouTube and Instagram stars now than a celebrity. So the first step to finding influencers for your brand is to know who you want to reach. Then you can figure out who they would trust and follow. There are tools you can use to find content creators with large audiences and sites that rank the level of influence. (Klout, Kred) Use these as a starting point in your influencer marketing, but don’t rely on them.
THE RIGHT INFLUENCERS FOR YOUR BRAND
Not every influencer will be right for your brand or organization. Successful influencer marketing depends on identifying who actually has influence with the target market you want to reach. By definition, influence means that one person can cause another to take an action or behave or think in a certain way. So just having a large audience is not the only criteria. The final deciding factor is can they move the needle?
You have to work with several influencers to see what results they get. Most times we find that it’s not the one that would at first glance seem to be the obvious choice. One example was a design blogger with about 50,000 followers who consistently drove traffic to a client’s site and her followers had a very high conversion rate. When she published content about the client’s products they got more conversions than an appearance on The Today Show produced.
If you’re looking for influencers for marketing a luxury brand be sure to pick the ones that have the right audience. Mom bloggers may be eager to try and review your products, but do they actually have an audience with the discretionary income to purchase your brand? Exposure to the wrong public won’t help you meet your marketing goals.
If you need help with identifying and reaching out to the right influencers for your company give us a call. 888 243 3470
INFLUENCER MARKETING CASE STUDY
Challenge: Mizuno Running was new to the US and had to compete with brands like Nike and Reebok with large budgets for paid and earned media. Mizuno had a 7 percent brand favorability and a $1.5 million marketing budget — just 1% of the category spend.
Generally speaking running junkies tend to stick to what they know works: Eighty percent know the brand and model of running shoe they intend to buy before they shop, and 90% actually do buy that brand and model. Mizuno needed a campaign that was extremely compelling to disrupt that behavior.
Mizuno shoes don’t feel as cushy and comfortable as the mainstream brands. So trying Mizunos on in the store is far from compelling. On top of that, Mizunos are priced 35% above the category, including their flagship shoe the Wave Rider, which they had recently redesigned in a way that alienated many within the small group of Mizuno loyalists.
Solution: Get the top influencers in the running field to actually run in the shoes and report on their experience.
Meritus Media was tasked with finding and reaching out to the top 150 key running junkie influencers, from bloggers to running club leaders and celebrities. We contacted them and got their agreement to receive a hand-made personal invitation and a code to order a free pair of shoes at the Mezamashii Run Project site. Mezamashii means “The Art of the Brilliant Run”
This initial outreach created a lot of interest in what this project was and why certain runners were being invited. Those who joined and received their free pair of shoes were then given invitations they could share with fellow runners they thought would also appreciate a “mezamashii” run. We followed up with these influencers and stayed in touch with them throughout their period of running in the shoes so that we tracked all online posts and comments about the shoes and the project.
The Influencer Marketing outreach used up half the budget.
The other half of the budget was used for paid, owned and earned media to build awareness of the program and offer the overall running public the chance to be among 100 people chosen to receive a free pair of Mizuno running shoes.
Mezamashii Run Project members continued to get new, relevant and exciting information and offers from Mizuno, like the opportunity to wear-test future products, influence shoe design and access future models before they become available to the public.
Results: In just 60 days, the Mezamashii Run Project accomplished the following:
- Engaged 19,504 Mizuno runners and Mezamashii Run Project members
- Welcomed 100,000 new unique visitors to mizunorunning.com, an increase of 52%
- Brought 155,859 visits to the Mezamashii Run Project home page through paid media
- Gained 25% more Twitter followers
Brand favorability, which was reflected in comments made by Mezamashii Run Project members who rated the shoes they received, grew 54%, from 7% to 10.8%, in the first five weeks of media support.
Of those Mezamashii Run Project members posting reviews, 94% gave top scores to the shoes and 93% said they intend to buy Mizuno shoes in the future. Mizuno saw immediate growth in strong specialty store sales and quickly achieved a three-year market share high.