People are tired of sales pitches. I recently had a friend unfollow and vow to never support a brand because of retargeting ads, as she found them invasive. We are all inundated with marketing messages constantly and consumers are sick of it. How then, as a small business, can you get your message heard? Influencer marketing has become the big buzz word in the last year or two, and the reason is simple: it may be the only real way to get your brand’s message out there!

What exactly is influencer marketing and how can a small business participate? First, let me be clear: many people are jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon like it is something new. It is not – influencer marketing has been around since Eve convinced Adam to eat the apple. Despite what many people are promoting, influencer marketing is not simply Instagram models with lots of follwers posting photos wearing the latest fashions in exotic places. Influencer marketing instead is about getting someone to take action!

Influencer marketing is about getting someone to take action! Click To Tweet

Consumers may have stopped trusting brands and ad campaigns to tell them about useful new products and inform them how well something works, but they haven’t stopped needing those things to make their lives better. So, where did they turn? To each other! Influencer marketing used to simply be called word-of-mouth. The problem is that word-of-mouth wasn’t very scalable, it was hard to track, and unreliable. What changed? Technology.

We all carry around little computers in our pocket that have more computing power than what NASA used to send man to the moon.  This allows ordinary people to develop their superpowers and become an influencer.  And smart businesses are tapping into this effect.

The strongest influencers out there are people just like you and me. Ordinary people who are authentic and  relatable make the best influencers – not celebrities! The power of the ordinary person is so great today that a positive word from an ordinary consumer with the right sphere of influence is 10 times more likely to drive a purchase than a promotion by a celebrity. In other words, people trust influencers because influencers are genuine and often totally ordinary. Authenticity and trust are critical to a successful influencer marketing campaign, so the fact that the Federal Trade Commission requires full disclosure from the person endorsing the product is not a negative, but a positive thing. when an influencer tells their followers that this is a paid endorsement, it builds on the trust they have already created.

So who exactly is an influencer? Influencers can be anybody who has an established authority on a particular subject or topic. They can be niche bloggers, podcasters, hobbyists, YouTubers, and executives. They can be you and me. Anybody whose passion and enthusiasm has propelled them to the center of an online community through social networking is already an influencer — even if they aren’t getting paid for it yet!

Here’s the thing: Brands can’t control the narrative that influencers use. When influencers start promoting a brand using the brand’s words instead of their own, all that hard-won credibility goes right out the window.  If you are going to use an influencer, you have to be willing to give up control. You must let influencers tell your story in their own words. But when you do, the results can be a game changer!

Here's the thing: Brands can’t control the narrative that influencers use. Click To Tweet

Where do you find influencers? Start with your customers – a passionate customer might very well be your best brand advocate. Do your research. Visit sites like https://go.hubba.com/influencers and influencer.io. It is important to understand that influencer marketing is not free. You can structure all kinds of deals – from affiliate relationships to joint venture partners, to paid endorsements. But if an influencer is going to put the time and effort into promoting your products or services, they need to be compensated for their efforts. Usually this goes beyond simply providing free product, but actually paying them for the expertise and following they have acquired.

Other suggestions: read my book, The Influencer Effect. http://amzn.to/2vF516y  and listen to the 20 Minutes of Influence podcast.



How to Find Influencers to Promote Your Business