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How to Drive Sales With Social Media Influencers

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As social media continues to expand its reach all over the world, more brands and businesses are starting to recognize the power that prominent social network figureheads hold. Traditional advertising is no longer the immediate go-to strategy of brands wanting to connect with consumers in the digital sphere — instead, companies are partnering with well-known social media users to leverage their outreach with online followers. Read on to learn more about social media influencers and how they can benefit your business.

What Is a Social Media Influencer?

A social media influencer is a prominent social media user who earns money by driving branded messages to their followers. Bloggers are the most influential group on the Internet, with 86% of influencers operating at least one blog, according to a report by Technorati. However, other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Instagram are also highly popular mediums for social outreach.

What Are the Benefits of Using Social Media Influencers?                                            

In 2016, a good social media presence can drive action as much as awareness. As a small- or medium-sized business however, you may not have the necessary resources to build out a far-reaching online following. That’s where social media influencers come in.

An endorsement from the right influencer can result in a conversion rate up to 10 times higher than branded content’s regular conversion rate. That kind of impact requires the influencer to have what many branded and sales-oriented companies don’t — a longstanding relationship with their followers that is built on trust.

Consumers are much more likely to take recommendations from “real” social media users than from brands, and good influencers know how to capitalize on that fact. So instead of spending marketing money creating a billboard — which would be displayed to a wide range of different consumers, to little effect — consider working with social media influencers to directly access their specific followers, many of whom may already be interested in your products.

How Can a Brand Use Social Media Influencers to Help Drive Sales?

To build your social media outreach, start by looking for influencers whose content aligns with your brand’s message. You’re a lot less likely to drive sales of your new skincare line with a technology blogger than with a fashion, beauty, or lifestyle blogger.

If your company doesn’t have the budget to pay large influencers, focus more on smaller users. Small- to medium-sized bloggers who are trying to grow their following, for example, are often very eager to work with brands, as it allows them to create useful content and build their own site’s authority.

Once you’ve determined which influencers you’d like your brand to work with, you’ll want to figure out what type of influencer campaign you’ll undertake. Larger influencers are likely to have a media kit detailing various options and pricing for companies wanting to work with them, while others may be more flexible and open to your suggestions. Here are a few easy ways to pitch your company to social media influencers.

  1. Invest in affiliate marketing efforts. Affiliate marketing is a popular style of social media influencer marketing. In this model, brands provide influencers with an affiliate link or a discount code to post about, and the influencers get paid according to how well their messages drive sales through that link or code. This is a great option for small-business owners who are new to social media marketing efforts, as the costs depend on performance and the returns are easily trackable. Do note, however, that affiliate campaigns tend to feel more salesy, and may not have the same effect that less biased influencer marketing might have.
  1. Send free samples of your product to influencers. Sending free samples is a strategy that’s most likely to be effective with small- to medium-sized influencers, as social media users with a larger following may be less likely to promote a product for free. This method relies heavily on the strength of your product, so don’t get overexcited and send subpar goods. Because there’s no official sponsorship or payment involved — beyond the cost of the product you sent, of course — this type of outreach usually results in a genuine and unbiased review from the influencer, which followers will readily embrace.
  1. Offer to sponsor posts about your products. Some influencers prefer fixed payments to feature a product on their social media platform. The most successful influencers, such as YouTube’s Zoella, can charge thousands of dollars to show a product in a single post. A small- or medium-sized blogger, however, will likely be happy to do a sponsored post via blog or Instagram for a reasonable fee.
  1. Sign up with companies like Influenster and BzzAgent. Several websites have created networks of influencers willing to promote or review products they’re sent for free based on their interests and content. These networks are great for getting everyday social media users to generate brand awareness or favorability, as many of their influencers are not professional content creators. This allows brands to connect with followers who tend to trust recommendations from friends more than those from professional influencers.
  1. Provide prizes for social media contests. Social media contests — often referred to as collaborations or “collabs” by users — are an incredibly cost-effective way to build awareness of and interest in your brand. A typical strategy is to have an influencer post about an opportunity for their followers to win free products from your company. The terms of the contest may require entrants to tag friends, share the post, or follow your brand on social media. This is mutually beneficial to both brands and influencers, as it helps everyone drive engagement on their content.

More than anything, remember that authenticity is key when it comes to social media influence. You’ll have the most success if your company’s products are so great that people genuinely love them and want to rave about them. Social media influencers build their reputation on trust from their followers, so keep the needs and wants of people in mind when considering how best to employ influencer marketing strategies for your company.

Note: The Federal Trade Commission requires influencers to state when content is sponsored by a company or if they have received a product to review for free. It’s important for both influencers and the companies working with them to be aware of this to avoid being fined.

 

Frontier Business

Frontier Communications offers voice, broadband, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for small businesses and home offices, and advanced business communications for medium and large businesses in 28 states and with approximately 18,600 employees based entirely in the United States.