Social proof by way of influencer marketing is a great way to boost your product, brand or image. There’s a lot to unpack in that sentence, so let’s start at the beginning. Social proof is where people imitate other people’s actions. (A famous marketing example of social proof is when Nestle worked to make drinking bottled water while walking around in Italy more socially acceptable.) That covers social proof. What, then, is influencer marketing? To get to that, I’ll break down who is an influencer, how to use an influencer, and what strategies work best with an influencer.
Who is an Influencer?
An influencer is a person who holds sway within a particular community or demographic. When approaching influencer marketing, you have to consider if you want this to be an organic or paid effort. Sometimes you’ll have a brand evangelist who loves to tell the world all about your product or brand. Other times, you can nudge these influential voices in your brand space with free samples or by paying them.
Why are influencers so important? Well, a 2013 Nielsen study found that 84 percent of respondents trusted recommendations from people they knew. In that same survey, 68 percent of respondents indicated they found online reviews to be trustworthy. These influencers take the place of trusted adviser to the community. A video review is worth even more than a written one.
How Do I Use an Influencer?
You can use an influencer to create buzz, build excitement or be the social proof for your target audience. An influencer’s audience will rush out to join in, even if it’s a paid product placement.
If an influencer finds your brand and evangelizes without prompting, then you can share their content on your social media channels. If you pay or provide product, then many social platforms, particularly YouTube, require that influencer to disclose that fact.
Now, it’s important to consider who the influencer is and their track record before paying for placement. Without proper vetting, an influencer placement can turn into a PR problem. Review of potential influencers with the same scrutiny you would a celebrity endorsement. Why? Because in the age of social media, influencers can have a niche following that is as devoted as those who follow celebrities. In fact, many influencers are minor celebrities in the right circles.
What Strategies Work Best with an Influencer?
There are three strategies that work best with an influencer: collaboration, product placement and word of mouth.
By collaborating with an influencer, you can share and create content together. This helps raise the profile of your influencer and also extend your credibility within your target demographic.
Product placement allows for you to provide a product or service to the influencer to review. These reviews are fairly commonplace, particularly with YouTube vloggers.
The best social proof for influencer marketing is word of mouth. The right influencer can amplify your message to the right audience.
Wrap Up on Influencer Marketing with Video
Influencer marketing brings social proof to a new level, especially when you have that influencer talking about your product, brand or service on video. Using a well-vetted influencer can be beneficial to both parties.