Every week as SmallBizLady, Melinda Emerson conducts interviews with experts on her Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. Melinda is Forbes #1 Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs and author of Fix Your Business and Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.
SmallBizLady: What is influencer marketing?
Pam Perry: Everyone knows the best form of advertising is “word of mouth” – and the success of whether something “sells” depends on whose “mouth” is doing the talking. Influencer marketing (IM) is all about positioning or associating your product, brand or company with an influencer because these are people that exert influence in a particular target marketing. Influencers are people who have crafted their own brand and cultivated a loyal audience. The more influence a person has the more traction they will garner for a brand. The ultimate “Word of Mouth.”
SmallBizLady: Why would you want to use Influencer Marketing?
Pam Perry: People will do business with people they know (or are familiar with), like and trust. IM comes down to trust. More people will believe a person they know, like and trust over paid advertising. Targeting influencers is a way to increase the reach of marketing messages in order to counteract people tuning out traditional marketing.
SmallBizLady: How do you define an influencer?
Pam Perry: An influencer is more than just numbers. It is a person who is valued by a particular tribe – a leader. Individuals that have influence over potential customers are an “influencer.” Our magazine, Speakers, is not sent out to the masses – it is distributed at major conferences where influencers are in the room. This is how our speakers got in front of influential people that they wouldn’t normally reach any other way.
SmallBizLady: How can you pair Influencer Marketing with other social media?
Pam Perry: An influencer who uses Instagram, Facebook or Twitter creates “noise” by endorsing or integrating the brand in their personal social media channel. This then creates a snowball effect for the brand/business or product. An influencer gets the ball rolling and reaches a large, engaged audience, who then shares the post with their followers and then with their followers and on and on.
SmallBizLady: How do you start an Influencer Marketing campaign?
Pam Perry: Find influencers whose content you respect and will respect your brand/product. Just like a talent scout, you will have a list of expectations and ground rules you would want the influencer to abide by for the campaign. Once you have those two items in place, make the pitch and interview them. Having the right “fight” is critical. Let the influencer know why they were chosen and what it would mean to your brand. Negotiate something that is meaning for the influencer, and it’s not always money. That’s why interviewing them is key – to find their hot buttons and future goals.
SmallBizLady: What are the benefits of influence marketing in business?
Pam Perry: Influence marketing has the ability to trigger 11 times more return on investment than other forms of traditional advertising annually. This return on investment is measured in terms of reach, engagement, and ultimately sales. In other words, more bang for your buck.
SmallBizLady: Does influence marketing have anything to do with relationship marketing?
Pam Perry: People think they are the same but they’re not. One has to do with the current customers (getting and keeping) and influencer marketing is about attracting and acquiring new customers. Think relationship marketing is like a marriage and influencer marketing is like dating. One is definitely sexier than the other. LOL
SmallBizLady: What’s the difference between paid and not-paid Influencer Marketing?
Pam Perry: Now, this where it can get sticky and have the FTC all on your back if you’re not careful. I’m not a lawyer, just a publicist. But if you are going to have influencers working for your brand – especially if you are paying them – I highly suggest getting a lawyer to create a contract for you. You want to avoid deceptive or misleading advertising – that’s how you break trust and lose customers. There are potential ethical and legal implications associated with influencer marketing. An ethical implication could be the influencer does not believe in or use the product, but they still post a positive review because they are getting paid to do so. This is misleading and practically lying to consumers. If not disclosed properly, the advertiser could get into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission and the influencer could lose credibility among their followers.
SmallBizLady: What does influencer marketing content look like?
Pam Perry: It can be an Instagram post with a celebrity saying that they love Chipotle with a burrito in their hand. Or it can be a Twitter post of a person with a big following sipping on their Starbucks Frappuccino. IM is all about “slice of life” and how the influencer integrates it their social media streams
SmallBizLady: Can you share 3 tips and strategies when it comes to influence marketing?
Pam Perry: First, define your goal: Brand awareness, gain followers or increase sales. Then define what “influencer” would help you reach that goal. This would require doing research and interviewing the influencer. Then, give them directions on how to match their content with their personality and your goal.
SmallBizLady: How does influencer marketing compel the consumer?
Pam Perry: According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. Advertisers are trying to capitalize on this by communicating their messaging through influencers, who are trusted nearly as much as a friend.
SmallBizLady: How can we build strong influencer relationships?
Pam Perry: I found this is Forbes, and it sums up how:
- Treat influencers as collaborators.
- Identify organic influencers.
- Reach out in creative ways.
- Understand the influencer’s audience.
- Show that you care about what they care about.
- Be genuine and straightforward.
- Trust the influencer to know their audience.
- Build credibility and pitch value.
Bottom line: Building and leveraging relationships will build your business.
If you found this interview helpful, join Melinda on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz
For more tips on how to start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.
Pam is an award-winning communications professional. She teaches and mentors authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs on how to build a platform and attract major media and publishing contracts. as the master of connecting the right people, for the right project, at the right time – Pam Perry works hard to help her client’s brand (and get paid) like a superstar. For more information: www.digitalbusinessacceleration.com