Importance of Influencers When it Comes to Your Marketing Strategy

Getty Images / Jim Purdum

As with numerous industries, the dynamics of public relations and marketing are changing. No longer is it sufficient to simply gain product placement in popular publications, websites or television shows. Even hiring a well-known spokesperson to appear in advertising campaigns has gone by the wayside. The newest trend involves forming partnerships with influencers, whether they are nationally known or simply recognized within their niche, as a means of reaching consumers.

Influencers can be a very important part of your marketing strategy. Let's take a more in-depth look at what working with these figures can do for your campaigns and how to work with them efficiently.  

Why Influencers are Important  
 are usually online personalities who have gained a positive reputation and a dedicated following through their expertise or personality. Such people may use various formats such as YouTube, blogs, Twitter, Facebook or other digital methods to reach their audience. Depending on their niche, many of these superstars carry greater weight and favor with their fans than more mainstream celebrities.  
The influence of online personalities is increasing every year. People are looking to resources on the Internet when making buying decisions, oftentimes, before any other method. Buyers look to a Google search, specialty blogs, specialized forums or pages on a social media platform to learn what real people have to say about an item.

In addition, consumers are looking for signs that brands are trustworthy and that they are run by "real" people. Creating an online social media presence that addresses consumers directly and creates rapport can go a long way toward developing trust. Adding the voices of influencers to these platforms enhances those trust relationships.

How to Choose Influencers 
There is a variety of factors to consider when deciding which influencers to approach regarding your marketing efforts. One of the primary considerations is likely your budget. Celebrities, in most cases, are more expensive to hire than niche digital influencers. You also want to consider a person's reputation and how well they have conducted themselves in the past.  
While there is always a chance for a mishap occurring, choosing a representative who has shown to be professional in past efforts is a wise investment. An influencer such as an online journalist, blogger, activist, business leader or subject matter expert who has proven to be credible with a dedicated audience is an ideal choice for an influencer campaign. Look for influencers who post regularly, are often re-tweeted or shared on social media,  
Ways to Approach Influencers 
It's important to understand that determining which influences to approach and building a relationship with any ultimate partners are time investments. A search on various levels should be conducted. Look for who is talking about your brand and its competitors online. Research well-known names within your product category, in general, along with related subjects.

Consider whether you are interested in reaching a particular demographic within your product niche, then search those related terms. 
Spend time  to determine whether they are suitable for your needs. Pay attention to the kinds of messages these people are transmitting and the ways in which the information is received. This data can prove useful in creating your marketing strategy down the line in addition to allowing you to narrow your search. Approach influencers on a personal note, making sure to let them know you are impressed by them in a specific way. This will set you apart from other contacts by demonstrating your knowledge of their work. Re-tweet them or comment on their latest blog post. Don't be too pushy, though. Always be genuine in your interaction. You may even want to establish personal contact at an industry conference or event, if possible.

Follow the above tips when planning and implementing your media strategy with influencers. Investing time in these media personalities can yield a major return.