It seems like everybody is talking about influencer marketing.
A quick search on Google Trends reveals just how steeply search volumes for that keyword have skyrocketed over the last few years.
Once upon a time, marketers would focus their attention (and their ad dollars) on reaching the target market via big, blanket campaigns — think billboards and broadcast ads. It was all about the brand reaching consumers with their own voice and directly attempting to win their trust.
With the rise of social media platforms, brands have cottoned onto the fact that influential individuals — influencers, creators, Insta-celebs, whatever you want to call them — have enormous persuasive power over those potential customers.
In other words, getting influencers to push their products is a highly effective tactic.
(Don't believe it? 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities, and 4 in 10 millennial subscribers say their favourite creator understands them better than their friends.)
This has made influencers powerful people — with lots of valuable opportunities to do well for themselves and the brands they represent.
As influencer marketing has grown in significance, a range of different platforms, tools and events have emerged to connect content creators and brands, and even promote their own products.
Our 'Influencer Marketing Landscape' infographic (below) contains over 200 such platforms, tools and events that any serious influencer marketing aficionado should be aware of.
They're split into 5 distinct areas:
- Agencies & Consultancies
- Software Tools & Outreach
- Influencer Merchandising
First up, we have 'platforms'. These are essentially websites that both brands and influencers can sign up to and connect with each other.
If you're an influencer, it's well worth checking a few of these out and signing up to as many as possible. This will give you maximum exposure to brands. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to work with all of them — it actually gives you the power to be more selective over the companies and products you choose to endorse.
Brands can access lots of valuable information about influencers via platforms; they can easily browse social network information, published content and demographic information — as well as contact information, allowing them to quickly and easily make contact to arrange partnerships.
Agencies & consultancies
Whereas platforms help you build an initial connection, many brands and influencers prefer to build ongoing relationships, backed up by influencer marketing expertise. That's where agencies and consultancies come in.
These companies have teams of experts in place to help brands and influencers maximise the value of their partnerships. Influencer marketing agencies have expertise in strategy, design, digital marketing, analytics and more — which can help them support brands (and influencers) throughout the whole process, from goal-setting through to execution and analysis.
The beauty of these agencies is that they generally have strong relationships with both social media personalities AND brands — this can potentially help influencers get a 'foot in the door' with large multinational companies.
Software tools & outreach
Like any other area of modern marketing, 'there's a software tool for that!'
Influencer marketing tools can be used by brands to find and connect with influencers 'at scale.' Outreach tools allow a user to build large contact databases, and then reach out with large personalised 'blanket' emails. This means brands can quickly identify influencers who may be interested in representing their brand…and influencers can prospect for new partnerships from hundreds of companies in seconds.
But software tools add much more than just discovery. They can help both influencers and brands organise every aspect of their relationship — from identifying topics and areas of interest, through to evaluating the impact of each campaign. Software tools can help measure mentions, gauge the value of each post and most offer attractive, valuable reports, and dashboards, to visually represent this information.
As an influencer, you aren't limited to selling other people's products. Increasingly, there are ways to create and sell your own range of products. We've identified a few tools here that let you do this.
As with any niche, the rise of influencer marketing has brought about its own calendar of events, where influencers and brands can get together, generate ideas and network.
Many of these events offer great opportunities to meet new people, build relationships and discuss collaborating on projects.
There are several very good reasons to consider attending influencer marketing events:
They help you stay current. Many of the speakers will be respected professionals at the very top of their game, with cutting-edge ideas you can apply to your own business.
You can build meaningful relationships. It seems counterintuitive when we're extolling the virtue of online influencers, but in business nothing beats meeting face-to-face. The relationships you strike up in-person are often the most meaningful, and the longest-lasting.
You can get fresh ideas from your peers. The atmosphere at conferences and events is very much one of cooperation, support and idea-sharing. Whether you're learning from fellow influencers, or fellow brands, there's always a good chance you're going to pick up a useful tip or trick that can help you moving forward.
There have never been so many great ways for influencers and brands to get together and collaborate for mutual benefit. Our infographic lays out some of the platforms, tools, agencies, events and products that can help — but we're sure we'll have missed some out!
Also, if you're looking for some great tips for working with micro-influencers then we recommend this great article over at the Smart Insights blog
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