Online Brand Influencers: Finding the right voice for your brand


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.


The importance of looking ahead whilst creating content: SEO

Search engine optimisation allows your firm to stand up and be counted amongst a crowded online marketplace. SEO allows a firm to drive new customers to their site and increase traffic levels with the end goal of increasing revenue.

Now, whilst SEO is essential to attracting new traffic to a website, it is the quality of the website’s content that will attract potential customers and keep the bounce rate (meaning the number of visitors who leave the site without clicking to anywhere else on the website) at a low level.

To do this, the web content must be created with a specific audience in mind. Doing this will build a natural following and will ensure your content is relevant. A site that creates content with a target user in mind will retain visitors and hold a much lower bounce rate than a site that does not.

High quality, targeted content actually also works to create keywords unintentionally, search engines can then use these keywords to bring traffic to the website and allow the site to rank higher amongst less competitive search terms.

Creating unique, creative and – perhaps most importantly – relevant content is essential as part of the bedrock of website search engine optimisation and will assist in both making the site more discoverable and lending to create better targeted content.

How changes in the Digital Marketing Environment are effecting the Marketing activity of SME’s


The complexity of marketing is growing sharply, owing largely to the adoption of new technologies, with a focus on the personalisation of content, video content, mobile device optimisation, social media marketing and content marketing in particular.

A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit supports the opinion “that marketing will own the customer experience by 2020”, marketers are now snubbing the blanketed, mass market approach, in favour of personalising the customer marketing experience to each individual user.

The adoption of new technologies supports this notion, social media, the internet, mobile internet and mobile apps are set to be the top marketing channels by 2020. And these channels allow for greater personalisation over the customer experience as opposed to traditional channels such as tv and radio, which both lack two way interaction with the end user. Personalisation creates a more positive customer experience and is said to better customer loyalty and improve brand perception.

However, returning to my first point, tailoring services to each individual user makes marketing complex and this could be why many SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises) don’t use digital marketing to drive their business, despite more than three quarters of them believing that digital marketing is critical to their success.

Small businesses are often intimidated by digital marketing, citing the expense and difficulty of use as barriers to use the technology. The digital landscape is fast paced and driven by trends, which also makes it complicated to invest in.

There are also new challenges such as the rise in user ad blocking, which is set to cost content publishers $27bn in lost revenues by 2020. Adoption of ad blocking software is strongest amongst young people, who are the primary users of such technology and with in-app ad blocking set to appear soon, this presents a large problem for digital advertisers.

This supports my view that digital marketing is becoming more focused on tailor-fitted, personalised content that is individual and valuable to the end user, the huge uptake of ad blocking software is a backlash in protest of  the traditional blanketed marketing approach which offers little value to many users and may be seen as a nuisance. It is essential for firms to build up consumer’s trust in digital adverts discourage the use of ad blocking if this medium is to still have impact. Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page and Acceptable Ad Initiatives are attempting to do so this but my gut feeling is that they will see little success. Digital marketers must provide users with useful, engaging content, not pester and frustrate them with mass marketed advertising.


I found these articles useful whilst writing this piece: