“Influencer Marketing” – You have probably heard this term already and would have some idea about it.
For those, who haven’t, let me share the definition of Influencer Marketing. Wikipedia defines Influencer Marketing as “a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placements from influencers, people and organizations who possess a purported expert level of knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields.
Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where influencers play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be involved as third parties. These third parties can be spotted either within the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or among the so-called value-added influencers (such as journalists, academics, industry analysts, and professional advisers)”
In this article, I intend to present a slightly different aspect of Influence Marketing and how you can benefit from it. But that will come later. For now, let us analyse this definition.
If we go by the above definition, then we can broadly categorize influencers as:
- People of great repute and social standing. For convenience, let’s call them “Celebrities”
- People having great knowledge or expertise on the product or service you are dealing with. Let’s call these people “Experts”.
So, if you want your product or service to be accepted by the masses, you will need either a Celebrity or an Expert to endorse your product or service.
Now the question is, why would a celebrity or an expert endorse your product or service (unless he or she happens to be your relative )? Of course, for money. You will need to pay them to endorse. And bigger the celebrity/expert, higher the sum you need to pay.
If you are a start-up or a small business with limited funds, where do get the money to pay the influencer? That is where you lose the battle to a well-established, well-funded competitor.
Being associated with several start-ups and fund-strapped projects, I have faced this question umpteen times and that made me wonder – Is Influencer Marketing not for me? It is then I decided to look at the definition of Influencer Marketing again and realized how it is going to work for me.
So here I am, with my take on “Influencer Marketing”, especially in the context of Digital Internet Marketing.
In my opinion, Influencer Marketing is a process of getting more and more influencers to promote your products or services and thereby contribute towards your business’s growth.
Let us now look at the word “Influencer”. Who is an Influencer? Based on my understanding, an entity who can ‘influence’ another person in favour of buying my product or service is an Influencer for my product or service.
Furthermore, an Influencer
- May not be a Celebrity or an Expert
- May not even be a person (More on this later)
- May not do it for money or any other personal gain
Now, let us look around ourselves and find out who could be our influencers, I mean, other than celebrities and experts.
- Our Customers: This is a as simple as it can be. Our customers are the biggest influencers as their feedback, experiences and reviews play an important role in prospects making their buying decision in your favour. The more customers give you favourable reviews, the more likely you are going to get new customers. So instead of spending a fortune to get a celebrity to endorse your product or service, pay attention to your customers and serve them with full honesty and attention (which they deserve anyway, and it does not cost you anything extra).
- Our Employees: Often, we fail to recognise the fact that our own employees can be our biggest influencers. Simply put, each one of your employees is connected to many people as family, friends, relatives, neighbours, social contacts and what not. There lies the huge potential of reaching out to prospects just by leveraging your employees’ contacts. And you don’t need to do much for that. Just make sure that they are reasonably paid, given the basic workplace benefits and cared for. Then if you make them part of any referral schemes with small benefits, they will gladly participate.
- Independent reviewers: There is a plethora of websites that offer independent product reviews. Some examples of such websites are https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm, https://www.bestconsumerreviews.com, https://www.consumersearch.com etc. Besides, there are websites/blogs dedicated to specific products and services. E.g., https://hostingfacts.com provides comparative analysis of top hosting providers. It does not cost a fortune to get your product / service reviewed on one of these websites, yet the benefits are immense. Often people give a lot of importance to these reviews since they seem to come from a third party. So, if you can get your product or service reviewed at one of these portals, that can do a world of good for your Influencer Marketing initiatives.
To cut the long story short, Influencer Marketing is not extravagant or expensive always. With a bit of planning and meticulous approach, you can carry out Influencer Marketing even at a very small budget.
Want to know more on Influencer Marketing? Watch out this space for the next article where I will describe various ways you can leverage your existing customer base for Influencer Marketing.
Until then, Cheers!