Do You Need an Influencer Strategy?
Rose Klimovich, Manhattan College
kHUB post date: 2019
Read time: 4 minutes
Influencers can be useful to a business in many ways. Looking at this from a Business to Consumer perspective, influencers can be part of your Marketing, Launch, Testing and Product Management Strategies.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who has expertise and/or impact in a certain area and solid relationships within a related community that can affect consumer behavior. Influencers can come from many walks of life. What makes them influential is their relationship with other people who follow them on internet sites like Instagram and Youtube. The key is to find the right influencers that meet the goals that you have. Today, many businesses recognize the power of influencers.
- Instagram is the most important influencer channel followed by Youtube and Facebook. Instagram is the most effective platform to reach millennial consumers.
- There are more than 500,000 active influencers on Instagram according to InfluencerDB
- According to Google, 4 in 10 millennial subscribers say their favorite creator understands them better than their friends. This leads to higher engagement.
- 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram according to Instagram research
- Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer.
The influencer area continues to evolve. Here are some areas where an influencer strategy may be important.
- Influencer Marketing: This is the most active area with respect to the use of Influencers. Consumers like to get information and interact online with other individuals who are like themselves, who are authentic, are relevant to their interests and/or have expertise in a given area. In some cases, the impact an influencer has on consumer purchasing is higher than other forms of marketing like advertising or direct mail. Brands work with influencers to reach their target consumers. An appropriate influencer aligns with the brand’s message, budget and marketing campaign objectives. The level of followers an influencer has is important but more important is the engagement the influencer has with their followers and if the influencer can stimulate the followers to action.
- Product Launch: As a new product is launched, getting information out to potential customers quickly is crucial to building awareness. Support of key influencers can significantly elevate your brand message and promote your new product to users. Even a simple tweet or photo can create a buzz around a new product. Consumers also use influencers on social media to understand how a product work, what features it has and whether the product will meet their needs. So, getting new products to influencers quickly can be a strategic imperative. As a new product is announced and ready for sale, consumers can watch influencers use the product thru a live stream, see photos of the product features and begin discussions.
- Product Management: Seeing what influencers and their followers say can impact your future development. They may have opinions about present product features, product use, product documentation that could be good input to your future development requirements. Influencers can provide feedback on your proposed products and features. Consumers may care more about certain features than a company realizes. There may be features missing or the product information may be incomplete or confusing. These areas could be fixed before launch.
- Product Testing: getting influencers involved with testing products, may give you valuable insight into the importance of some features and options. Listen to their opinions. Giving influencers and possibly their followers a view into the development and design process can make them feel more like insiders with a personal investment in your products. They can help you improve the product and/or the message around it. These influencers will then be familiar with the product and can talk about it during product launch.
Here are a few examples:
- Target joined forces with 10 young influencers, between the ages of 7 and 14, who have already made waves in the fashion, music and tech industries. Each of the 10 influencers was tasked with designing two custom items that were later available for sale in Target stores and online.
- In this YouTube video, see an influencer unboxing and reviewing Air Jordan Retro sneakers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNKI9L9FkQk
- Canon has worked with photographer influencers for years. Recently, they enlisted not just professional photographers but recruited amateur photographers who are lifestyle bloggers and Instagramers. This helped them open up their products to a broader audience. Canon also surveys influencers on how they use cameras not just smartphones to create content. This information could be valuable for future products and how to educate customers on how to use the cameras.
- Dr. Mikhail Varshavski — better known as Doctor Mike — is your average family medicine doctor but with a combined social media following of three million people.
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