Hate to say this, but no one is listening to you.
Or, at least, it can seem that way sometimes as a company trying to connect with potential customers.
Every day, more people are turning away from television, radio, and other traditional sources of entertainment and news. As a result, they’re no longer exposed to conventional advertising.
While integrated digital strategies and campaigns are successfully reaching these audiences, sometimes you need to step outside traditional marketing.
Word-of-mouth has always been a valuable marketing tool, even though it is almost impossible to track. One person has a terrific customer experience with a product or service and tells one or two friends.
Since those friends trust them, they listen to the recommendation.
Celebrity endorsements took word-of-mouth to the next level. Instead of one person telling a few others, celebrities spoke to thousands and even millions at one time.
Whether it was Oprah Winfrey recommending a book, or actors and pop stars wearing an expensive watch or elegant dress during appearances, influencers have been around for years.
A new breed of celebrity endorsement
Endorsements by someone people “know,” even though they don’t actually know them personally, has always been a strong form of marketing. It’s even more so today.
Only now, it’s referred to as “influencer marketing.” Same concept as celebrity endorsements, just different venues.
That’s because a new breed of “celebrity” has exploded across the digital landscape. Instead of acting or singing, they express opinions, offer words of wisdom, or give useful advice on products and services.
It’s another form of the always compelling content marketing.
These influencers broadcast their messages on YouTube, through social media, in blogs, podcasts, and webinars. They amass and engage thousands (or more) of devoted followers who consider them experts.
And those followers listen faithfully. To every word.
More importantly, their followers trust these digital celebs, which means they are influenced by what the celebrities say. Better yet, by what they endorse.
Because the influencers come off as trustworthy. If they like something, their followers will too.
B2B influencer marketing is growing
Influencer marketing is deeply embedded in B2C, but it is growing among B2B brands, as well. Companies are recognizing the true power influencers have on swaying the purchasing decisions of their business audiences.
And they can apply that power to push people toward your company.
Now is the time to take advantage of influencer marketing by incorporating it into your overall strategy.
Find out who your potential customers listen to. Who inspires them?
Search online to find savvy experts discussing the same topics and issues you do. Look at their social media pages, blogs, videos, and other content. Are their messages in sync with yours?
Look at their followers. Are those people your potential customers?
If yes, then reach out to those experts. Start building relationships. Ask them to share your message or product information with their audiences.
Have others tell your story
Usually, they may require some form of compensation. Either they’ll ask for a payment, or you can offer them your product or service to use for themselves or give away to followers.
If that’s the case, be sure they disclose it is a sponsored endorsement. The Federal Trade Commission has been cracking down on the transparency of sponsored content since revising its online advertising guidelines in 2013.
Some influencers may just want more exposure to increase their audience. If so, offer to mention them in your own blogs, videos, or social media.
Share their content and they will share yours. After all, they want to attract new followers just as much as you want to attract potential customers.
Industry experts don’t only exist on the internet either. Seek out authorities in trade associations, universities, authors, speakers, and media professionals.
Invite them to be guest bloggers or participate in a webinar. Use their reputations to present and recommend your company to a loyal following that heeds their advice.
Influencer marketing is a truly effective method of getting your brand message in front of your target audiences. In a world where you constantly hit brick walls trying to reach people, sometimes the best way to tell your story is to have someone else tell it for you.