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How to Incorporate Influencer Marketing Into Your Marketing Strategy

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Using influencer marketing effectively can provide a huge boost for your business marketing, enabling you to reach new customers and markets that are currently outside your brand’s influence.

Unfortunately, many businesses use influencer marketing ineffectively, wasting their marketing budget and receiving little in return, or, perhaps worse, attracting the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by ignoring their legal obligations.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is the practice of reaching out to and engaging with individuals who have influence over the behavior of your target market (or a segment of it). These influencers then create content that promotes your products or services and provides suitable exposure to followers. Influencers publish this content on their social media channels, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Often, businesses will have a formal agreement with one or more individuals who agree to represent them in exchange for payment or other advantages. Some businesses prefer to gift products and services to a wide range of influencers in the hope that they will reciprocate with a positive review, but this can be less effective because exposure is not guaranteed.

Incorporating Influencer Marketing Into Your Marketing Strategy

Businesses often assume that influencers must be famous or have millions of followers. Although that might help, it is never necessary. What matters is that the individual has influence over your target market. Of course, the smaller their following, the more influencers you need; influencers with smaller followings have a larger administrative burden relative to the effect they have.

Finding these influencers is easy; they are the people that your target market is listening to, watching, and following. If you are not sure, ask your customers.

You should look for:

  • Influencers with a following largely made up of your target market
  • Personalities and styles that are in line with your brand
  • Influencers with an active following – look for comments & retweets
  • Influencers who are already advertising (non-competing) products

Once you have found your influencers, you can ask them to create content that supports your existing marketing strategy. For example, you might engage with influencers to post sponsored reviews of a new product to build anticipation shortly before the launch of a new product.

 

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Sponsoring a post  from active accounts, like RossHelen, can showcase new products or services (clothing, food, travel destinations, hotels, etc.)
with its strong following can build credibility and excitement.

The Legalities of Influencer Marketing

The FTC is increasingly cracking down on businesses that use sponsored content without disclosing their relationship with the influencer posting it. It is your responsibility to provide ‘clear and conspicuous disclosure’ to ensure it is impossible for customers to mistake a sponsored post for a normal post.

Best practice includes: 

  • Using hashtags that clearly state the nature of the post, e.g., #ad #sponsored #sponsoredpost
  • Providing a clear, audible disclosure (audio and video content)
  • Putting the disclosure upfront: at the start of audio/video, and with any hashtags or written disclosure displayed toward the top of the page

The easiest way to achieve this is with a written agreement stating that influencers must provide an effective disclosure or risk forfeiting their pay.

Getting Started With Influencer Marketing

One of the reasons influencer marketing is so popular is because it is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Larger businesses with plenty of time and resources can engage with multiple influencers, each with thousands or even millions of followers.

Smaller businesses might not be able to attract the largest influencers – but there are plenty of individuals with smaller followings who can have a positive effect. Additionally, businesses approach these influencers with smaller followings less often, so they are often willing to get involved for less compensation, or even for free.

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Vera Fischer

By Vera Fischer

The visionary of 97 Degrees West for more than thirteen years, Vera has served as the CEO and President since 2004. During Vera’s tenure, the agency has achieved steady growth while surviving both economic recessions in Austin, Texas. Vera began her advertising career at GSD&M where she worked on accounts: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Houston Rockets, Dollar Rent-A-Car, Pearl Vision, SeaWorld and DoubleTree Hotels. Her next stop was the nationally recognized T3 known as “The Think Tank.” While at T3, Vera spearheaded the Dell Computers launch of the Preferred Accounts Division and lead national projects for the ESL and Enterprise Divisions. Other notable accounts included Quintiles Oncology, Austin Lyric Opera and St. David’s Hospital. In 2001, Vera left the agency world to embark on the client side as Director of Marketing for Forgent Networks, the software spin-off of VTEL video conferencing. Vera managed an annual multi-million dollar marketing budget, developed online lead generation programs, managed the inside sales team and consistently delivered high-quality MQLs to the sales team. In 2004, after a company wide re-org, Vera was laid off while on maternity leave. Within the day, she founded her agency, 97 Degrees West. Vera’s weekly podcast entitled, “System Execution”, launched in mid-2016 with notable guests like Ari Weinzweig, Jeff Smith, Gary Bizzo, Dr. Alan Pitt, and other business and thought leaders. Vera is the first woman to host a podcast devoted to systems and processes of successful companies. She is quickly becoming one of the country’s leading authorities on the topic of execution Vera is a member of the Austin University Area Rotary Club, an advisory board member for the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Texas State University and a Mentor at Capital Factory in Austin, Texas. Vera is completing her Master’s in Strategic Communications at Texas State University in May 2018.