Earlier this week, Forbes ran an article on influencer marketing and how it will dominate social media marketing in 2017. The article states that in a recent report it showed that 66 percent of marketers are adding this to their marketing strategy, and “50% of brands will significantly increase their investment in 2017.”

Wow. That’s some powerful news. But, what is influencer marketing anyway? Listen up.

Influencer marketing is almost like word of mouth marketing with a twist. Here are the basics:

Suppose you have this really awesome product or even a highly distinguished service such as a niche practice area in the legal field. But you’re just not getting the sales or the contacts you really want. So instead of marketing to a whole bunch of people and hoping for the best, you select a group of influencers that have a large following on social media to try to get the word out. You may send them a tester of the product asking them to try it out and let their audience know about it. Or you may even pay these people to spread the word about the awesomeness or uniqueness of your product or service. Almost like a celebrity spokesperson – only their celebrity is on social media.

As you can imagine, there are some problems with this type of marketing. Take the recent news of PewDieDie. The YouTube star, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, had 53 million subscribers and was under contract with Disney’s Maker Studios to do some influencer marketing. However, things didn’t go as Disney planned. PewDieDie decides to post nine videos with anti-Semitic messages on his channel. YouTube responded by removing his channel from Google Preferred and canceling his Web series “Scare PewDieDie.” In addition, Disney also broke ties with him.

Other than this blowup, influencer marketing does have its advantages. And if done correctly, you will see an increase in product sales, foot traffic to your store, or build awareness of your brand. But how do you even get started?

These strategies can be like a backlink strategy for SEO or even a PR campaign. First, you need to do your research. Who out there is making a splash in your industry? What type of social media works for you? If you have a product you want to sell, YouTube may be your best bet. If you’re in a service industry such as legal, you may want to stick to Facebook or Twitter or someone’s blog. You want to make sure the influencer is the right type of spokesperson for your brand.

Once you recognize the influencers, send them a message. Ask if they are willing to promote or review your product to their audience. What’s the worst that can happen, you get the sound of silence? Well, that happens more often than not so who cares! You are at least trying.  If you don’t try, then you’ll never know. You will also want to follow up with the influencer and make sure that a review actually was given. You may also want to monitor your own analytics and ROI to see if the strategy paid off.  Your data is your best friend so keep up with it!

If you need help with your social media marketing strategy, we can help. Contact ENX2 Marketing today for an audit of your social media marketing efforts.