Marketers are constantly looking for new, innovative ways to increase brand awareness, stand out from their competition, and drive more sales. After all, that’s the name of the game, isn’t it? This is why it’s a good time to build an influencer marketing campaign.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, what exactly is influencer marketing? How is it different from word-of-mouth advertising? Influencer marketing is one of the top five biggest marketing buzzwords today. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on driving relationships with key industry leaders who can help you get the word out about your brand, such as via social media (Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram), or through other applications.

How important is influencer marketing?

All in all, influencer marketing focuses on marketing to key industry influencers rather than solely to consumers. Although this might leave many businesses skeptical. (After all, should you really focus your efforts on marketing to influencers who likely won’t make a purchase?) If this seems like it goes against the marketing grain, remember that influencer marketing is only one part of your marketing strategy — and one that you definitely should not ignore.

In fact, according to an article published by Inc, approximately 84 percent of marketers have at least one influencer marketing campaign in the works. And according to The State of Influencer Marketing 2017 report, 86 percent of B2C marketers have used influencer marketing, and 94 percent of them found it to be effective.

The future of influencer marketing is expected to grow, and if your business doesn’t keep up, then you are missing out on key opportunities to expand your social reach and network and to reach your marketing goals.

Marketing ROI: return on INFLUENCER rather than INVESTMENT

Influencer marketing campaigns are becoming an essential part of larger marketing strategies. And with the help of social media, quality content, and powerful technology, brands can effectively build and manage a successful influencer marketing campaign. As a result, marketing departments are recognizing that while ROI from an investment perspective is very important, ROI from an influencer perspective is going to drive brand affinity and long-term benefit to the bottom line (which includes return on investment).

3 main sources of influencer marketing

Let’s take a deeper look into the three sources of influencer marketing and how each makes an impact:

  1. Social Reach: Your social media audience may be growing by the minute. However, think about how much larger you can extend your social media reach by also targeting and recruiting influencers. Influencers are able to reach millions of consumers through their social channels and blogs, and they also maintain strong relationships with their audiences who already have an established level of trust in the influencer’s opinions. Just be sure to vet your influencers first, like with these great investigative tips to flush out who has fake followers.
  2. Quality Content: Influencers produce original and effective marketing content for brands. However, some brands prefer to create content for their influencers to use in their campaigns. Either way, quality content is still king.
  3. Technology: Some examples of technology that can help power influencer marketing campaigns include social media applications, community-based applications, advocacy portals and access to data analytics. Technology can help brands find influencers, manage and distribute content, and also track high-performing content.

The power of content (and content distribution) with the right technology

Yes, regardless of what you may read or hear, content is still a powerful marketing medium — as are its distribution channels. As I’ve been working in the heart of Silicon Slopes for the last 9 years, I’ve seen companies come and go. I’ve also seen many unicorns (companies valued at $1billion+) rise out of the dust.

The Lehi, Utah, and surrounding areas are really bustling, in large part because of the focus marketing departments are putting on their content marketing budgets. Many of them are customers of ClearVoice, to ensure they have great content to help build their brand. Regardless of the approach these companies are taking, those that are growing into unicorns have recognized that they need to build strong content marketing assets that they can provide to influencers to help grow their brand.

Here are some examples of applications to help brands find and manage influencers as well as distribute content. I’ll go more in-depth on each in the subsequent posts in this four-part series.

3 applications to help with influencer marketing

Communities: There are a number of community-based platforms available to help brands share ideas, knowledge, and grow their networks. Brands can access more than 200,000 different communities, allowing them to not only find key influencers from diverse communities but also to expand their networks.

Customer Advocacy Platforms: A customer advocacy platform is another example of an application that helps brands keep content and conversations organized from and for advocates, such as messages, activities, invitations, share requests and so on. These applications not only help with converting leads to customers, as well as managing and measuring customer engagement levels, but also converting those customers to key influencers.

Employee Advocacy Platforms: If you are running short on resources to help you generate content, why not tap into your own network, such as your very own employees? Since your employees are well immersed in your business, they can often time be the best influencers to help “humanize” your brand. There are also a number of applications available that can help empower employees to increase brand awareness and reach on social media.

Building your influencer marketing campaign

All in all, influencer marketing is a crucial component to any brand’s marketing strategy. Now that you understand the importance of influencer marketing, and you are armed with some information and tools to help you find and leverage influencers and distributing content, you now have what you need to create your own influencer marketing campaign.

Liked what you read? Stay tuned next week as we will be reviewing the three hottest “community” tools to use for influencer marketing.