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The use of Industry Influencers for marketing purposes involves recruiting respected voices from within their respective fields to help promote your business. Online groups sharing a common interest can look to these influencers for information and recommendations. To use this strategy, it is important to find your audience, who they listen to and follow, and provide an atmosphere of authenticity and trust.
The value of influencer marketing has been measured. 75% of brands use it (Adweek). According to Tomoson, 51% of marketers believe they recruit a better quality of customer through influencer marketing vs. traditional channels. Influencer marketing pays $6.50 for every dollar spent (eMarketer). Your customer engagement increases as influencers tend to come with their own targeted audience following. There may, however, be a difference in your own brand message and the influencer’s take on the brand. This can be beneficial, but also involves a bit of risk, in that it may incorrectly represent your marketing strategy.
How do you choose industry influencers? Based on their impact and the value of their expertise to your brand. These thought leaders are necessarily talented, intelligent, well-informed, and well-connected. They actively research and gather knowledge that is educational and trustworthy, rather than spending time on obviously self-serving and promotional content. Industry influencers may be you-tube ”rock-stars” with a high following who offer testimonials (they are often sent free products to be reviewed); respected professionals from specific sectors; journalists seen as objective sources; or industry analysts, amongst others. They may or may not be paid. They replace the traditional use of celebrities as brand ambassadors. The customer has become smarter in the meanwhile, and has easy access to a host of information online. They demand qualified people to give honest assessments, and are less willing to buy into a lifestyle by associating a famous face with a brand.
The audience for these industry influencers can be customers researching a product, brands gathering information, students, or teens looking to buy the next cool thing. There are at least 923 active sub-communities on Reddit, and Instagram has become a popular avenue to find an audience, amongst other online forums. There are applications which can help you find the appropriate influencers on both Instagram and Reddit.
Some examples of successful platforms which can be used in the promotion of industry influencers and help your brand connect with relevant people include Revfluence, Content BLVD, Brandbacker, and Influenster. The availability of such online tools, applications and websites to address the market for influencers reveals how interesting this approach has become for brands.
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