Do you know how content goes viral?
The answer is simple and I’m just looking for one word: Shares.
People share content they really like and their friends share it to their network and so on is the “Secret” behind Virality. We’ll come back to this.
That one friend.
We all have friends whose posts get a lot of engagement. People are “Liking and Reacting” to their posts, they are engaging with this person in the comment section.
Now have you noticed that when they share content to their networks, they get more likes and shares to that post compared to the same content shared by another person in your list. They’ll also put a word out like “Hey! My friend has started a new cake shop, show her some love!”
Now this person in simple terms is an Influencer in your list.
So what is Influencer marketing?
Social Media especially Facebook is like a huge party. You have to put cool content out there and hang out with the popular people. Influencers are these popular people, everybody, flock to. They have a massive following on social media, people listen to what they say and they hang on to their words religiously.
A perfect example of an Influencer is Lazar Angelov.
He’s an athlete and a fitness expert who has close to 12 million followers on Facebook. He may not come in TV channels or in your newspaper, but he is Facebook famous.
Now people who follow him take his tips very seriously and want to look like him. Lazar suggests products to his fans that help them with their bodybuilding.
Check out the image above. He says “Cooking my meal while I’m drinking Shredz Supplements”. Now “Shredz Supplements” is the product that Lazar users to keep his muscles intact. Now this post got 20,000 likes and over 110 shares.
For folks who are his fans and want to look like him, they also want to use products that he uses. Why?
He is an authority, he knows what he talks about and the results are clear to see.
The other reason is, we are humans and we have mirror neurons that copy other people’s behavior, this includes wanting other people’s products as well.
So they click on the link and purchase the product. Now Lazar has used his influence to make people purchase the product of that company. That for you is influencer marketing.
You choose mini-celebrities, get them to use your product or talk about your product in their normal social media posts, Youtube videos, blog posts etc.
How influencer marketing is better than Facebook advertising?
Now, remember I said Facebook is like a huge party. Everybody is having fun, watching great content and sharing jokes, memes and videos.
Now in the middle of this party, you go and in and tell everybody “Hey look at my product that I am trying to sell you, pay for it now”. It just doesn’t seem to fit in.
The thing with Influencer marketing is, the pitch is inside the content that people already like and love. There isn’t any intrusion.
However much you try to be creative with your advertising, it cannot compete with the Influencer’s style. This is because people who have chosen to follow the influencer like the way they talk, the jokes they crack, the way they describe the product. You cannot have this kind of connection with your audience through an advertisement on Facebook that people barely see for a few seconds.
3. Click Farms:
Truth be told, Facebook advertising has a lot of fake likes and spam. Facebook’s algorithm isn’t good enough to figure out fake users who a part of click farms. For your budget, Facebook targets these users who will ‘like’ your content, but the relationship stops there. Your marketing ROI takes a hit. Although Facebook suggests you have a lot of ‘Engagement’ on your posts, those aren’t valuable to your startup.
4. Quality People:
With Influencer marketing, the Influencers have spent money and time to build their quality audiences. You know for a fact that the people who are seeing your products through the ‘influencer’ are real people, and are your right target audience.
6. How content goes Viral:
I started off this article with this. And this is an important aspect of Influencer Marketing. Your advertising cannot go ‘Viral’. Posts can. A lot of companies collaborate really well with Influencers to make Viral videos. People barely share advertisement posts, but they do share posts with great content.
Don’t use Kim Kardashian to sell enterprise software.
One thing a lot of brands do wrong is, get a celebrity for the sake of it without considering the people they are trying to reach.
With Influencer marketing, you can choose the exactly right people you want. If you want to sell a product, which is a gadget, you could contact somebody like Marques Brownlee.
He/she is an authority in his space and people take his/her word before they make a purchase.
How does it work?
Influencers charge a price for certain kind of posts. It depends on the level of engagement.
How to start with Influencer marketing?
The best way to start Influencer marketing is to reach out to your own community and get people to start talking about your brand. Reach out to your friends who do well on social media and ask them to do a post on your product. This will give you an idea of true organic reach in social media.
If your product or a service is something that your friends and their network will be interested in, do the following:
1. Create a template. That is a little bit of copy about the product and an Image along with. When friends share on their own timelines they tend to add their own text. For this reason, keep your copy to the minimum.
2. Incentivize your friends by giving them the product or a sample, or a free service that they can talk about. Ask them to post a picture along with a few lines.
3. Create FOF (Friends of Friends) discounts for people who come through your Influencer friend. This is one of the growth hacking Dropbox did to become so successful.
4. Try creating networks in multiple cities and multiple countries. Identify potential influencer friends and reach out to them.
5. You can also create ambassador in various college or cities. One thing which made Firefox so popular & many other companies like Truecaller is doing actively these days. Here is one example from Inc42 which I spotted recently:
For a more professional approach to Influencer marketing and to reach bigger brand names, there are services like Fango, Tapinfluence, Traackr, Famebit. There are a few companies that focus in the Indian space, and a popular one is Blogmint.
I hope this article has given you a start on Influencer marketing. Try this for your own startup and let me know what you think! If you have tried Influencer marketing in the past, do share your experience & learning with us.