Consumers are more likely to turn to influencers who have specific expertise in their areas of interest, rather than say celebrities, today’s consumers are not stupid and will not fall for gimmicks such as paid-for celebrity endorsement.
The web is a busy place, making it difficult for both consumers and brand to know who is credible and trustworthy. Brands therefore need to find a strategy to identify and engage with online influencers who can communicate to the target market effectively.
The first step in identifying these influencers is to define exactly who the customer is and then determine the influencing factors such as their consumer habits, meaning where they live and how they buy their products. Drawing up a pen portrait of the consumer is a useful discipline during this process. Once you know whom your consumer is, inside out, you can then figure out who they trust and listen to.
It’s important to remember that whilst focused experts may not have as many followers as some other online influencers or celebrities, the followers that they do have will be dedicated and interested in the relevant areas of topic, allowing the brand to latch on to this useful following.
The next step is to engage the focused expert that your consumer listens to the most. It’s important to build a credible relationship with this person, one that consumers believe and trust.
It is likely that your influencer will require some kind of payment for their endeavours, but it doesn’t have to just be a cash sum. You you could offer to boost their brand awareness by featuring them across all of your content, or you may offer them non-cash rewards with your brand. Therefore the use of brand influencers is not just limited to those who have money to burn, smaller firms can receive help by lending a hand to assist the influencer by utilising the resources that they have.
For instance, you could provide an experience for your influencer to be the first to try a new product / service offering and in turn allow for them to create content (and buzz) about your products and services. This would create excitement not just from your existing followers but from the influencer’s followers too, lending to your traffic and building a credible brand image in the eye of the consumer.
Using credible, trustworthy influencers who have expertise in your industry to spread the message delivers better Return on Investment than a huge celebrity influencer with little relevance to your chosen industry. This is really a less is more approach, and allows your brands message to cut through the congestion of the internet in an efficient manner, whilst staying relevant to the consumer.
Independence is a powerful asset to look for in an influencer, consumers perceive focused experts to be objective, to state their mind and to be impartial. We are so used to advertising campaigns pulling the wool over our eyes as consumer that we are often now sceptical of brands. Gaining the respect and backing of an independent influencer means product reviews from someone who is not afraid to point out flaws and will do the product / service justice if it up to scratch.
This influencer could be a Youtuber or blog writer, they might be a columnist in a newspaper, or a popular local figure on social media. It doesn’t matter the size of the following or their status, rather just that their opinion is respected and that alone will sell itself.