Word of mouth has been an essential part of how consumers make decisions about what to buy for as long as marketing has been around.

Nothing inspires a sense of interest and faith in a given product quite like hearing about how wonderful it is from someone whose opinion you value.

That person can be anyone from a celebrity you admire to a beloved friend or family member. The reason why it works remains the same. People listen to individuals they like, relate to, or trust.

Social media influencers are the latest addition to that group, and they're a popular one at that. But, does influencer marketing really work?

If it does work, how well and for how long? Most importantly, is influencer marketing a viable way your company can build trust and loyalty going forward? 

What Do Today's Influencers Bring to the Table?

Many of today's most popular social media influencers are personalities who strike an interesting balance between trusted friend and celebrity idol.

On the one hand, they're technically everyday people just like the consumers that are buying your products, so it's hard not to feel like you know them personally at times.

However, there's also an appealing distance there that allows their followers to idealize them a bit at the same time. In addition to this dynamic, influencers:

  • Are authentic. Although many brands do pay influencers to create great content around their products, the influencers themselves are not employees or official spokespeople. So, it's always up to them to agree to a promotion or not. Receiving a recommendation from an influencer feels like receiving one from a friend for that reason.
  • Generate content. Influencers are already adept at creating content with a significant impact on a target audience. They know what works, so getting one on board with promoting your brand is a wonderful way to gain new customers.
  • Offer uniqueness. Every influencer is his or her own person. Each brings a one-of-a-kind perspective to the table that you wouldn't be able to get anywhere else. 

In other words, social media influencers aren't just successful marketers in their own right. They're also thought leaders that can affect how your target audience views your brand and the products or services it creates.

Adding influencer marketing to your overall brand building strategy isn't just something that works.

It will grow your social media following, help you connect with your target audience, and improve your overall engagement rate.

Identify Goals

Of course, knowing you're ready to make influencer campaigns work for you the way they have so many others is one thing.

Knowing where to start is another. However, it's really a lot easier than you think. As is the case with any new dimension you'd add to a marketing campaign, you need to start with clearly outlined goals.

What are you hoping to gain by bringing influencers on board in the first place? Are you looking to personalize your brand, boost sales, increase social media followers, or something else entirely?

Before you can shape a strategy that yields results, you need to know what you're looking to achieve.

You'll also need to give some thought to what makes a given influencer the right choice. You want those who are active on social media so you can count on them to regularly share excellent quality content.

They should have large followings that show they're invested in what the person posts by commenting, reacting, and regularly sharing as well.

Approaching Influencers

Once you've identified a few people that fit your ideal profile and will be able to help you meet your goals, it's time to win them over and get them on board with what you're doing.

One of the most important things to consider is how what you're offering will help you stand out from the many other people who regularly approach the influencer about business alliances.

Yes, financial rewards are valuable, but many influencers favor brands that can bring something more to the table.

A longer reach, free products to try, and increased engagement are just a few examples of desirable perks.

At the end of the day, a successful influencer marketing campaign is just as much about building relationships with the influencers themselves as it is your target demographic.

How will you make your campaign work for you?

Want to get paid for your influence?