OnMax Host Digital - Rethinking Influencer Marketing in 2020 & Beyond

Rethinking Influencer Marketing In 2020 And Beyond

I have been thinking about the concept of Influencer Marketing especially in this era of social distancing and what small businesses and startups can do to build value into their Brands and increase Brand awareness and loyalty. In this article, I am going to discuss how Influencer Marketing can help small businesses, but at the same time it is important for small businesses to understand what I consider to be a different type of Influencer Marketing that can yield more opportunities/

Who Is An Influencer?

First of all, what does Influencer Marketing mean? According to Wikipedia, Influencer marketing (a.k.a. influence marketing) is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field. Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising; influencers play the role of a potential buyer, or may be involved as third parties. These third parties can be seen in the supply chain (such as retailers or manufacturers) or as value-added influencers, such as journalists, academics, industry analysts, and professional advisers

The above definition is pretty broad but it provides a clear understanding of what influence or influencer marketing is. But let me provide a context in which I want to discuss this topic today. I want to focus more on the role that social influencers play in shaping the perception and behavior of a group of people to get them to take a specific action, such as purchasing a product or supporting a cause. This is generally someone who is liked by the target audience such as a famous celebrity. This has to be someone that the targeted group can identify with.

It is therefore not possible to clearly define who the influencers are. But we can mention journalists, business executives, retail employees can all be identified as influencers in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing scenario. For B2B (business-to-business) scenarios, we can refer to experts in the field such as consultants, financiers, government officials involved in regulations, known user communities, etc. Marketing Influencers can be further categorized by the number of followers they have on social media, and obviously their ability to influence the behavior of those followers.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

One of the benefits of using Influencers Marketing is that the Influencers can reach and captivate the attention of sections of the public who are increasingly becoming wary of marketing. Therefore, it is much more likely to anticipate campaign reach potential from past performance. The cost of Influencer Marketing is also based on much more predictable indicators such as how likely and to what extent the Influencer is willing to endorse the product or Brand, how many people the Influencer is able to reach. These factors can help make Influencer Marketing much more cost efficient than other methods.

OnMax Host Digital - Rethinking Influencer Marketing in 2020 & Beyond

One of the benefits of using Influencers Marketing is that the Influencers can reach and captivate the attention of sections of the public who are increasingly becoming wary of marketing. Therefore, it is much more likely to anticipate campaign reach potential from past performance. The cost of Influencer Marketing is also based on much more predictable indicators such as how likely and to what extent the Influencer is willing to endorse the product or Brand, how many people the Influencer is able to reach. These factors can help make Influencer Marketing much more cost efficient than other methods.

On the other hand, those influencers who can exert a real influence on a large population can also be costly. They may not be easily reachable by small businesses and startups who may not have the budget to afford them. Because their brands have not yet been established, they may not be able to convince the reputable influencers to promote their products. Reputable influencers want to be associated with reputable brands. This enables them to build their own brands. I have spoken with a number of small business owners and startups who have faced this dilemma. The advice I gave them is what I have called “Rethinking the Influencer Marketing.”

I told them that they already have access to hundreds and thousands of influencers who carry a strong persuasive voice. They may not command the attention of large masses of people and in most cases, they will not cost anything. These are the people we live with: relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. And now, we also have a larger pool of people with whom we can connect

Why Rethinking Influencer Marketing?

Onfluencer Marketing may be a new catch phrase but it is not a new concept. We have all practiced it at one point or another. All of us have relatives, friends, neighbors, former classmates, ex-colleagues, etc. And most of us have had to pick up the phone and call someone we know and ask if he or she knows a reliable mechanic or plumber. In those days, we did not have Google and Bing or Facebook.

So, we called each other. And we trusted their referrals. At the same time, small business owners and startups also have had to count on their circles to spread the word about their businesses. These people were true ambassadors. They were what we call today Brand Ambassadors, except they did not charge money.

Today, we still have these people. We also have Social Media. There are billions of people on Facebook, for instance. These are people we can build relationships with. We can reach out and start building trust with them, one at a time. And if we can learn some skills, we could even reach and attract to ourselves hundreds of people into our circle. Each one of these people can become an Influencer for our Brand to those they know.

Social Media has opened a door for startups and small business owners to build a community around them. This certainly may take time, but if one learns how to do it, it can be achieved much faster. One must be intentional about it and create a plan with set goals. Even on Facebook, I have seen people post a request in Facebook groups asking if anyone in the group knew of a reliable mechanic. And many people generally respond with referrals.

Word of mouth

Word of mouth is therefore a type of influencer marketing. Like I said earlier, when we ask within our circles about information on a reliable plumber, generally we trust the people around us and more likely than not, we hire the person recommended. The trust in this word of mouth marketing is very high. Please note that I am not here talking about your previous customers recommending clients to you. I am talking about your social circle.

In the days of Amway, they used to ask, “Give us a list of 100 people you know.” Everyone of us should be able to build a list of 100 people we know if we work on it. And Social Media has made this much more easier than it used to be. The power in the Influencer Marketing is identification. The influencer must identify with the community he or she wants to influence. My advice is that you should connect with diverse people, not just people like you. These people who belong to communities you may not identify with, can give you access to members of that community.

Over 60% of business executives believe that word of mouth is a very powerful marketing strategy. As old as it is, I don’t think that it has yet to be recognized as a form of Influencer Marketing. And generally, it is discussed in the context of current or past customers putting out a word of mouth on your behalf. But I am emphasizing here the enormous potential of people who may not be your customers putting out word of mouth on your behalf. In order to get there, you will need to invest in the trust in them. And this is now easier than it used to be.

Social Media Groups

Facebook Group Marketing should be an integral part of every business digital marketing strategy. Facebook Group can help increase your Brand Organic reach. Facebook algorithms favor groups. Take advantage of that. And learn how to build and manage a Facebook effectively. It’s not enough to just create a group. If you screen membership into your group, you will have members who are more likely to engage with your content.

Groups facility building a community around your idea. When screened properly, your group will be made of like-minded members and with a healthy conversation strategy, you can achieve some amazing goals. Many people join groups where they simply dump content and never attempt to engage with other members. You should take the time to spot valuable content and then join the conversation.

Build Meaningful Connections

I will write more about Social Media Group Marketing in a separate article. I just want to point out here that when done properly, Social Media Groups are a very effective way to build yourself as an Influencer, an authority and trusted expert in your field. Publish content that address the issues that group members are facing. Participate in forum discussions and demonstrate your expertise. Share a mix of current affairs and updates on topic of interest to group members as well as content that can help face members solve the problems they may be facing in their own businesses. In other words, provide value.

Do not just dump ads about what you sell. Take time to build real connections with real people. This will take your time, but you should look at this as an investment. Keep in mind that Social Media active users are connecting with Brands daily and buying from those brands on a regular basis.

Engage with group members, not only within your group(s), but in other groups as well. Invite people who are likely to contribute value in the group. Create interactive opportunities such as group surveys, question-and-answer (Q&A) Sessions, etc.

Conclusion

The reason many people spend a lot of time on Social Media and yet achieve no real goals for their businesses is because of a lack of preparation and strategy. You must set goals for everything that you do. Make sure that your goals are measurable. Then create a plan and strategy for achieving them. You can build a community of people who will believe in your Brand and will be willing to speak about your Brand to people they know.

This may not produce results in terms of sales dollars, but it will in the long run. And the trust capital built this way will go a long way. I am not advocating for the abandonment of the Influencer Marketing as popularly known. I simply want to help you open your mind to ways that you can create even a wider Brand reach through connections or relationships.

Facebook Algorithms are built to prioritize group content with high engagement levels. So, when done well, Facebook Groups, for instance, offer an opportunity to save money on Facebook Ads with an effective Group Content publishing and management strategy. It also helps build both your personal brand and your business brand.

2 thoughts on “Rethinking Influencer Marketing In 2020 And Beyond”

  1. This is a very good article. Building a business requires diligence and hard work. It is very important to work on building relationships one at a time. It is true that the biggest influencers are not always those celebrities, but the people around us with who we talk regularly.

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