Thanks to digital age, a sense of entrepreneurship is prevalent these days. One-man show ventures are overloading social digital arena, showcasing personal skill sets, home based services, online shopping, delivery services, hobbies, online training courses and more. But many of these budding enthusiasts utilize social mediums in an “un-targeted” way that could create confusion and sometimes even frustration in their audience’s eyes.
How can “work from home” startups penetrate an already saturated market with not so traditional way of promotion?
Get influencers on your side!
What is Influencer Marketing?
People are not too comfortable with “in your face” promotional or sales material. It’s like watching your favorite show and getting swamped with repetitive commercial advertisements again and again. Influencer advocacy on the other hand enjoys hardcore trust, followership and has access to a target vertical. People love to share his/her statements and they get broadcasted across a wider audience. For discoverability, these influencers can increase the reach of your services by creating buzz in an audience already overwhelmed by businesses similar to yours.
Nielson’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising Report clearly mentions recommendations as one of the top most sources of trust based advertisements. It is normal to say that we will trust an opinion coming from a relative, a trusted friend or an expert endorsing a product’s qualities.
If your startup is always looking for clever and innovative ways to get in front of prospects, then let’s start working on this.
Who could be your brand advocate?
Influencers are people who consistently advocate or talk about a particular area of interest. For example a person who regularly writes about education or specifically female education and addresses various issues through his/her communication channels. Other examples could be a food critic who writes about food in general and more specifically about food styling in South Asian region. A technology enthusiast with decent fan following on his Social accounts and personal blog that writes regularly about tech related issues.
It’s not necessary that you should only approach celebrities for brand advocacy. Although highly effective, celebrity influencers could come at a high cost but would also be approached by your competition. The value proposition created by niche targeting influencers could be laser focused and highly effective.
According to We Are Social’s Global Digital Snapshot 2016, there are approximately 3.4 billion internet users, out of which 2.3 billion are active social media enthusiasts. This means your “total addressable” market is most likely to have a social media account on any of the popular social channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or others. And it’s not so unusual for them to follow someone as an influencer.
Below are some of the steps involved in creating your first campaign:
- Audience Segmentation: Using software such as NetBase, Keyhole, Followerwonk or various others can help you identify groups of people that match your market. They could be men between the ages 18 – 35 in Karachi, women over 30 years old in North America who love fishing and other demographics based upon interest and hobbies. Now match your brand’s target with the influencer’s audience (followers) interest. Bingo!
- Reaching out: Identification of the right influencers is the key to success. Then comes building trust and strong relationships in order for them to promote your brand. You’ll have to reach out in a way that clearly shows the benefits of the campaign for them, as well as the audience (society). Obviously it’s not a quick fix. They could be incentivized by paid, product testing or ambassadorship type tactics to get them onboard your bandwagon.
- Marketing Collateral: You’ll require targeted digital media on your side for you and your influencers to push through their social accounts. They could be short videos, CTA banners, content pieces and others. You must be ready to invest some $ into creating good, cheap marketing collateral.
- Measurement: No blind shots in the air, and therefore measurement of your influencer marketing is critical. What, where and how your target influencers are reaching out will give you a clear idea about who’s working and who’s not. It’s really interesting to monitor their activities and audience response regarding your product promotion as new ideas could pop-up all the time for better customer satisfaction.
I hope this article gives a generic understanding of how startups and home based business can start thinking about this technique to help grow a brand that is already struggling in a saturated arena. I will discuss a detailed step by step guide in my next article with best possible tools, media and messaging helpful in conducting these types of campaigns.
Adeel Khero is head digital marketing chef at AdeelKhero.com, a digital marketing restaurant serving scrumptious dishes, a SEMPO member and founding partner of OrloMedia.com. You can find him on twitter @adeelahmedkhero.
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