Here's the truth; Influencer marketing is now the order of the day and it has become a fundamental element for brands. In fact, buyers have shown that they increasingly trust the recommendations of this group, something that is due to factors such as closeness, empathy, and accessibility.
The relationship between a brand and its users is a mixture of numbers and “chemistry”, something difficult to put on paper. However, if this is effective and prosperous, it can be translated into interesting figures with the right influencers.
We could say, then, that these professionals have humanized companies and brought them closer to consumers than ever. Consumers, including your target audience, will always go to them—their profiles— to know what they think of a brand and its products. In other words, they have managed to make brands visible to a greater number of users, achieving levels difficult to reach with traditional marketing.
For starters, Influencer marketing has two different approaches; paid or sponsored influencer marketing and organic influencer marketing. We'll be discussing the latter. Organic influencer marketing is the process of turning your influencers into brand advocates. Welcome to the next level of influencer marketing!
The Other Side of Influencer Marketing…
Is there more to influencer marketing? Of course, yes. On that radar, we have influencers, then brand advocates, and brand ambassadors, in that order. Beyond just having an influencer promote your product (short-term product promotion), a greater benefit lies in the opportunity to build a genuine, strong relationship with these influencers —that's the point where they become brand advocates.
Influencers and Brand Advocates may be recurring words in current marketing, but the truth is that there are determining differences for a marketing strategy in each of them. An Influencer is a personality who has some credibility on a specific issue and has the power to influence the opinions of their audience. A Brand advocate, on the other hand, is an influencer or regular people in the online community that rave about your brand, sharing your content, or promoting your product with little or no incentive exchange.
The brand advocate is also capable of influencing his audience, but his relationship with the brand is different. Not only does he promote it in exchange for an incentive, but he's a satisfied consumer. And when he talks about your business, he wants someone else to also know its benefits. Although they are two different profiles, they are not entirely separate. An influencer can become a brand advocate. However, for this to happen you have to get them to commit to your product or service, to see the benefits of these.
Let's see three simple ways with practical pointers on how to genuinely leverage your relationship with your influencers that they grow to become brand advocates.
Invest in a genuine relationship with your Influencers
The truth is, getting your influencers to become brand advocates who promote your brand passionately starts with building a genuine relationship; a willingness to have a relationship beyond the economic advantages. Get to know them, their values as a person not just as an influencer, the causes they support, and every possible thing you can know about them.
Influencers are, first, people before “influencers”. Let them see you recognize them as respected individuals, beyond the business deal and paperwork. Don’t just ask them to promote your product; be involved in their process with your product, assist in every stage but give them creative freedom. Ask for their feedback too. An Influencer who's going to become a brand advocate will often point out any problem with the product they feel should be fixed.
Another genuine way to grow your relationship with your Influencers is by helping them increase their engagement rate. While you can't go around tagging them in every post just so they know you're in their corner, you can occasionally drop genuine comments on their post, follow them, repost relevant content, engage with their community, and ultimately refer them to bigger opportunities. Be interested and invested in their growth!
Invite your Influencers on your social platforms
You want your Influencers to grow into brand advocates? Make them see you really care and respect their expert opinions and authority. And you can do that by inviting them onto your social platform like Instagram or Facebook, especially Instagram. Influencers are creative social media experts in their various niches. They understand their audience and know how to create relatable content that connects with them.
So, when you find the perfect influencer who tells your story effortlessly, shares similar values, and connects with your audience, get them onboard as influencer partners by inviting them to your social platforms. Some practical ways you can do that are; Instastory takeovers, Live Chat on your YouTube channel, Instagram Live events, and other physical collaborations.
For example, you can host your influencer on your channel and let him or her talk about your product, their experience using it, and all. It could be quite educating and also generate questions from the audience which could be turned into another content. Plus, a familiar face on your social account can increase brand trust, providing both values to audiences and depth to your campaigns.
Consult with your Influencers and ask for Product Feedback
Another sure way of converting your influencer partners into brand advocates is consulting them to get product and, possibly, marketing feedback. Firstly, influencers have direct access to product information in their industry; they have it right within their reach and that's because it's their area of expertise. They understand the market, they understand functionality, and of course, they have a better perspective on product quality.
So, ask for their product feedback or review. Like earlier said, an Influencer who's going to become a brand advocate will often point out any perceived problem in a product they feel should be fixed. Interestingly, you could go a step ahead to involve them in product development because who better to help create a distinct product that'd be a success than an industry expert who has seen it all? Or almost all.
Also, besides having a more informed opinion on the products in your industry, influencers have direct connection and communication with your prospects —which is great for market research. So, by leveraging this, you can get valuable insights for product development and marketing strategy. When you consult and ask your influencers for their genuine feedback, it shows you truly value their expert opinions and gives them the right impression that you're worth the loyalty.
Ready to Get Your Influencers on Board?
Third-party mentions or recommendations can do numbers for a brand but even more when you've got brand advocates creating a genuine buzz around your products or services. The idea is to look past short-term sponsored posts to a consistent partnership where your influencers become brand advocates.
Of course, building a relationship takes time but at the end of the day, it's worth it, especially if you've got a limited budget for influencer marketing campaigns. Need help getting started? Lionize can help you create an influencer marketing campaign —from getting the perfect influencer for your brand to developing an organic influencer marketing strategy you can leverage.