Nowadays, positive word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful tools a business can have in its marketing arsenal. Paid advertisements and targeted campaigns are also extremely useful, but generating recommendations and referrals throughout a community or customer base can go a long way.
Think about it. You want to try a new restaurant in town and do your research to find the right place. What influences your final decision more – the restaurant’s website with the full menu, prices, and professional photos or the Yelp and Google reviews talking about customers’ previous experiences? Statistically, the latter of the two will carry the most weight. According to Nielsen, 68% of people trust online opinions from other consumers. Likewise, 88% of people trust online reviews from other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. So, hearing about someone else’s personal experience with a brand, service, or product is highly influential to future customers making a decision.
People in the community that have attracted a loyal following via blogging or social media and have the power to move their followers to action are called Influencers. As previously mentioned, people care about others’ opinions when it comes to services and products, which makes Influencers with audiences that care what they have to say dynamic business partners.
What is an Influencer?
Influencers can take many forms, so identifying them successfully will vary depending on your community and what matters to it. Influencers can be successful bloggers or writers on a certain topic, local newspaper or magazine critics, as well as academics, consultants, and beyond. It’s important to remember that celebrities are not the same as Influencers. According to TapInfluence, “Influencers are real people who are really good at something and earned the respect of others because of it.” An Influencer’s expertise and experience with a product or industry gives them an authentic authority that many celebrities do not have.
Hopefully some local Influencers immediately come to mind for you. In order to utilize this tool effectively, you need to identify Influencers that align with your company’s values and can reach an audience that you either cater to already or are looking to target. Their message will resonate more for your business if it can supplement and boost things you’re already saying.
How do you get Influencers on board?
First, you have to get their attention. This can be done directly by sending them an email or calling to ask about their interest in a partnership. In a more subtle fashion, you can follow them on social media, send shoutouts to them about recent accomplishments or publications you enjoyed, recommend them to your customers and followers on social media, etc. There are endless possibilities! Most importantly, be authentic in your outreach and demonstrate genuine interest in the Influencer’s work.
The terms of the partnership are up to you both. Oftentimes, businesses will provide a service or product to partners at a discounted rate in exchange for a review or mention to their larger audience through a video, blog article, formal review, or podcast. Influencer’s could also offer to bring a business owner in and talk about the service or product personally. For longer term partnerships, you can agree to provide new products at discounted rates in exchange for reviews or guest blog on each other’s sites about agreed upon topics. The end goal in partnering with an Influencer is to “influence” members of their audience to try your product or service and hopefully become loyal customers of yours too. The Influencer will probably have creative ideas as well to make the most of your partnership based on their past experiences. It’s what they do after all!
Now it’s time to hit the ground running! Do some research of your own into the Influencer marketing strategy and how it can work for your business. And be creative. Influencers are excited to hear from potential business partners and quality services they can offer their audiences. It could be the missing piece your marketing plan needs to really shine.
These types of marketing tips are exactly what our franchisees receive from the Mosquito Joe Corporate marketing team on a daily basis.