The proliferation of paid streaming services, DVRs and ad blockers means that we are all now seeing, watching and engaging with fewer advertisements than we were just a few short years ago.

Although most consumers would likely be quick to say that the absence of intrusive ads is a positive thing, marketers are currently experiencing a limitation to the number of marketing opportunities they now have to share new messaging with audiences. Businesses are being pushed to identify new approaches for the first time in decades and many are securing significant successes with influencer marketing.

What is an influencer?

Research illustrates that more than 90% of people have more trust in individuals than brands [1] and interestingly, those trusted individuals do not necessarily need to be personal friends or acquaintances. In fact, people regularly place trust in online reviewers they have never met when they search for feedback and testimonials to help them make key purchasing decisions.

Regardless as to whether they are style bloggers or silver screen icons, influencers have built significant social media followings by gaining the trust of their audience. As influencers also hold some sway over the purchasing power of their audience, they can be a valuable addition to a successful advertising campaign in today’s socially-driven digital age.

Leveraging the power of influencers

In most instances, influencers are paid to promote a specific service or product however this should not be taken as an implication that they are solely in it for the monetary benefits. The most trusted influencers will need to personally believe in your brand and your service or product before they will give you access to their platform.

The Core Elements of an Effective Influencer-Focused Social Media Marketing Strategy

Approaching an influencer with a vague request is not going to deliver the results you want to see, so the following elements are key to creating an effective influencer-focused social media marketing strategy that works.

Determine your audience

If you don’t have a clear idea as to the demographics of your ideal audience, you’re going to find it impossible to both shape an effective message and identify the best possible messenger to deliver it.

Select an appropriate influencer

Skip straight over the celebrities with tantalisingly large audiences and partner with a popular influencer within your niche. The reality is that working with an influencer with between 10,000 and 100,000 hyper-engaged followers will deliver a much better return on investment (ROI) than most celebrities and help you to achieve that coveted social success.

Provide fair compensation

Whether you opt to give your influencer a one-time payment or place them on a monthly retainer, make sure that they are compensated fairly for their time and access to their audience. Remember, they put their reputations on the line every time they endorse a product, so providing them with appropriate compensation is not an unfair request. Also, ensure that your influencer follows the relevant legislative requirements in declaring the commercial nature of the endorsement.

Strive to provide genuinely valuable content

Audiences want authenticity and they don’t want to be actively advertised to all the time. For each action you ask an audience to take, endeavour to provide them with between three and five engaging and valuable pieces of content. This will ensure that you don’t overwhelm audiences and actively demonstrate that you aren’t just here to sell sell sell.

[1] https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2018/cmo-report-2018-digital-media-roi-measurement-omnichannel-marketing-technology.html