KNOWLEDGE BASE Influencer Marketing In The US
Influencer Marketing in the United States
There has been a lot written and discussed around influencer marketing. It is probably one of the most important marketing strategies to engage, especially when going into new markets such as the United States, on a limited budget. Spend time learning about influencer marketing, locating, and reaching out to the key influencers in the US who can help you succeed.
What is an influencer?
Influencers are people that others pay attention to within an industry, social circle, entertainment, or other target group of people. They typically have access to a network of people through social media, mass media, digital media, universities, trade and consumer conferences, and events. Often these influencers are well known within an industry or social group.
Influencers can mention, use, recommend and critique products and services within their vast influencer networks, and their influence can help promote and advocate for a brand, as well as hurt brands. Especially powerful influencers that are really on-target can drive people to act on things above and beyond increasing awareness, such as influencing them to purchase a product or service.
Every market and group of people has influencers and the US is no different. On most subjects you can find a list of top bloggers, and depending on their subject matter, they will use different platforms to get their messages out. Within the last several years, industries with the most influence reach in the United States have been food (especially around healthy and varied eating habits), lifestyle, parenting, beauty, and DIY. As we’ll discuss further on, you’ll want to make sure that the influencers with whom you are cultivating a relationship will reach your target audience in the medium they are most likely to use.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is unique in that you develop a strategy to market directly to influencers that you’ve identified in relevant prospect groups instead of the markets themselves, with the goal of having the influencer market your brand to their audiences. It’s similar to “Word of Mouth” marketing except that it’s specifically targeted to people of influence. Influencer marketing is primarily accomplished through digital and social media, and at times, events.
Why does influencer marketing work?
As consumers, we naturally trust the opinions and recommendations from people we have a relationship with more than we trust brands. Influencers have worked hard on developing trust with their audiences and this loyalty then allows them to introduce people to new ideas, products, and services that they think are interesting.
The network effect of an influencer connecting with their audience as well as the friends and family members is powerful.
Another reason influencer marketing works is that most people have become blind to traditional advertising because they are bombarded with marketing messages and commercials. Because people choose to pay attention to influencers, they are then open to being exposed to brands in an indirect way. And they are often better customers once they’ve found a product or service.
Synergies between influencer marketing and inbound marketing
Another very important modern marketing approach is “Inbound Marketing”. This is the strategy of creating content such as articles, webinars, podcasts, videos, infographics, and other desirable content that can be downloaded and viewed from your website. In order to gain access to the content, people are asked to provide their email address and at times some information about themselves. Distributing and promoting that desirable inbound marketing content via influencers with a much larger audience than yours will magnify the contacts you get from your content alone.
Who are your influencers in the United States?
When looking to identify influencers, the place to start is to identify your target customers and people you would like to influence. What types of media do they pay attention to? What social media platforms do they use? What blogs do they read, which Instagram and Twitter influencers do they follow? What are your competitors and others in your industry using to reach customers using influencer marketing?
Americans get their information about the US and the world most from TV news and second most from the internet. Their third most used source is friends and colleagues. Facebook has the largest share of visits of the social media platforms and is considered by marketing professionals to be the second most effective influencer marketing platform behind blogs.
Relevant context is everything. Even though someone is influential, that doesn’t mean that they will influence the people you want to influence. A lot of celebrities have large audiences but they may not be a great fit for a B2B software company looking to reach businesses that will test their software.
Not only does relevance of the audience matter, the size of an audience also matters. Larger influencers typically have very structured ways such as tiered advertising and paid sponsorship to allow access to their audiences. Their influence strength may also be diluted because their audience size doesn’t allow them to develop a deep relationship. Sometimes the smaller and mid-sized influencers have the best relationships with their audiences and are more flexible in testing out products, promoting your brand, and often have a variety of different pricing options.
Keep in mind when working with influencers that they are very selective in which brands they will promote and you will not have control over what an influencer says about your product or service once they know about it.
Defining your influencer strategy for the United States
As with everything in marketing, being intentional and strategic in identifying and planning to connect with influencers is the best approach.
Don’t put influencers in the US all into one bucket. Separate them by the following and develop a strategy for reaching each group:
Influencer type: blogger, Facebook influencer, Instagram influencer, Twitter influencer, different social groups, and market types
Topic of interest and what they talk about: technology, food, parenting, etc.
Size of audience: larger professional bloggers, smaller non-professional bloggers, customer prospects, etc.
Priority: audience size, openness to working together, cost to access audience, relevance, context, and level of influence
How to find influencers in the US
There are several ways to find influencers, all of them are helpful in narrowing down the right ones to help you reach your target markets.
Globig has identified and listed key influencers in the United States in a variety of niches that can help you with your influencer strategy. You can find them in Globig Connect.
By setting up alerts for the different topics relevant for you, you can monitor the bloggers that write about the topics as well as social media influencers that discuss those same topics.
Blog searching ‘Best-of’s, Top 10’s’
Searching for reviews of the top blogs by country is a great way to get a list of possible blog contenders such as the best fashion blogs in the USA, top software blogs in United States, and other descriptive searches will help you get started. Once you have a couple of blogs you like, you can then search using comparison sites such as http://www.similarsites.com/ to find other blogs in the same genre.
Alexa allows you get a sense of how popular a blog is so you can compare the blogs you’ve identified.
Social media influencer tools
To identify social media influencers, there are several excellent free tools available to use such as Followerwonk.com by Moz, BuzzSumo.com, .Kred, and Topsy.com. These allow you to search primarily Twitter but also other social sites to identify top influencers by keywords.
Social media monitoring tools
There are many free social media monitoring tools which allow you to monitor conversations and topics of interest within different social sites. Each tool has its unique pro’s and con’s. Some of the more popular tools are SocialMention.com, Hootsuite, Addictomatic, and so many more. A great way to monitor social conversations is by relevant #hashtags since those are very focused on topics of conversations.
How do you reach out to influencers in the US?
Some of the ways you can engage with influencers are to appreciate and reward them by following them, commenting on their blog posts, discussing topics in forums and communities, commenting on Facebook posts, re-tweeting their tweets, giving them shout outs on your own social media, and quoting them in articles you write. Again, you are building a mutually beneficial relationship with them and making it more likely that they will notice and engage with you.
There is less engagement on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Instagram, although it could be that your target market does pay attention to those platforms. Don’t write them off without first understanding where your market goes for information. For those who do use Twitter, for instance, many check in one or more times every day.
You can send US influencers, especially bloggers, samples to try and free product as well as interesting content to share with their audiences. Free product does not guarantee the influencer will use or talk about your product, but it’s often an effective strategy. You can also offer to give away or discount a set amount of product to their audience as a part of a contest or game.
For some influencers in the US, you can ask if you can compensate them financially. After you have confirmed that they reach your targeted audience, that they are a legitimate, well-respected influencer, and ideally you have established a relationship with them, this is another viable approach. For very targeted influencers that are interested in your product, perhaps there is some sort of revenue share or commission relationship that makes sense.
The key to a strong influencer marketing strategy in the United States is to consider a variety of the tactics mentioned throughout this page to see which work best for you. Influencer marketing is a great companion to your other marketing efforts as they will support each other. And as stated above, 51% of surveyed marketing professionals believe that customers who come to them through influencer marketing are better than those acquired through other means.
KNOWLEDGE BASE Influencer Marketing In The US