It is Not About Influencers, It is About Partnerships
Does the word "influencer" leave the same confusing taste in your mouth as the word "TikTok"? A taste that reminds of aging and does not understand the youth.
But we're here to help you find out.
Here it is: Influencer marketing is just a dazzling, cold-brewed alternative term for "Strategic Business Partnerships".
I know that everyone who is a pro marketer knows that a strategic business partnership is one of the most overlooked and unused growth levers in business.
I just piqued your interest, right? The words "overlooked" and "not used" are like marketing candy. And we at DigitalMarketer believe that influencer marketing can be a great asset for your company.
But. To get real, long-term benefit from your influencer marketing, you need to change your attitude towards influencers.
And that starts with understanding what exactly an influencer is.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who – usually on a social platform – has their own followers that companies pay to advertise their product.
But the most important thing to remember with influencers (at least in the traditional sense) is that they Area brand. For many of them there is no separation between their work and their life. In essence, their life is their product.
The most common (though not necessarily the most valuable) way influencers are used in marketing is for companies to pay an influencer to represent their brand or product, and ideally create an opening to their audience to the audience to make this company.
Effective: You, as a marketer, pay for the ad placement in a movie, except that the movie is that person's life and that cinema-goers are a huge following of people who LOVE this “movie star”.
Let us be clear: Nobody who sees this "film" is really there to see your product. They are there to see their person who make them laugh, make them cry, who "get" them. But it's more than just film, because if you can get the right product-audience match, the audience who loves your influencer will be interested in the products that influencer loves. This is a great opportunity to see how your product affects someone you trust.
Influencer marketing is a word-of-mouth recommendation in which a friend tells a friend about something that he loves only with some money that changes hands.
This is where the “partnership” element comes into play.
What is a strategic business partnership?
We have a full course on strategic business partnerships (find out more here), but here are the basics:
You can find a company or person that fits without your (and their) needs and that you work with to accomplish some of the following:
– Open up new markets
– Reach new target groups
– Generate more sales
– And spread the word about your product or service
It is really easy.
Exchange a guest blog post with another company? It is a partnership.
Do you want to take over an Instagram story with another entrepreneur? Partnership.
Are you paying someone to represent your project?
You guessed it. Partnership.
The trick that makes it strategic is that you don't just choose an old Instagrammer or TikToker, but do your research to work with the right person or company.
At DM we take our partnerships seriously. Not only because we want to reach the right potential audience and because we want to ensure that our current customers find value in what we produce, but also because we want to be good citizens in the business world. We want to help our friends as much as they help us.
Some of our influencers (uh … strategic partners) create training for us, like Billy Gene Shaw and his video ad workshop:
Others work with us on social media, such as Sunny Lenarduzzi and Sue B. Zimmerman:
Whoever we choose, we make sure it is a mutually beneficial partnership that primarily helps our audience, but also our partners and us.
Choose the right influencer for you
In influencer marketing, the focus is on the number of followers and the engagement rate.
How many times have you heard someone on Instagram, Facebook and your favorite marketing podcast telling you that they have 10,000, 40,000, 50 million followers? This is great, but we want to know more.
The right influencer for your business may not be Insta famous and you definitely don't need a private yacht (unless of course you are in the private yacht business). You just have to be someone in your niche with your own dedicated audience, willing to promote your brand to their followers (after all, influencers influence people), and someone who your audience trusts and likes.
Regardless of whether you're using an influencer-finding tool / service or just looking for tags on Instagram, you want to make sure that the partnership doesn't affect either target group. The more seamless it feels, the more successful it will be.
That said, if you sell cheese, you probably shouldn't choose an Instagrammer that is dairy-free, and if you sell high-end shoes, you don't want to choose an influencer who lives barefoot on the goats and wild honey farming.
Take Brad Leone, a Bon Appétit test kitchen chef and an internet sensation. He worked with Flint and Tinder on an apron and flannel shirt.
I know what you're thinking…
The apron, of course. He is a cook, his followers like food, that makes sense. But the flannel?
If you take a closer look, you will find that the partnership blends well with Brad Leone's personal brand: he can often be seen in flannels on his show. And the partnership benefited both parties as a smaller company attracted the attention of a highly engaged, enthusiastic audience.
Another BA test kitchen chef, Molly Baz, has her own partnership with a clothing company, and that worked well too because the company matched her personal brand.
In fact, she wears the jumpsuit in question on the cover of the magazine.
And again the brand gained a new audience and a long-time partner.
While you want to work with someone who has a certain number of followers, the quantity is much less important than the quality. It will always be better to have 100 followers, 50 of whom are buying, than 10,000 followers, 15 of whom are buying.
So when you dive into the glamorous pool of influencer marketing, be sure to strategically decide who you are working with.
Personally, I will have a strategic partnership with DavidsTea, one of my all time favorite brands. It could be a great deal: DavidsTea gets my tireless support and representation, and I get more tea for my tea corner in the office (you think I'm kidding, ask one of my colleagues).
Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
P.S. If anyone has contacts with DavidsTea, let me know.