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Should You Try Influencer Marketing?

This is a guest post by Savannah Marie, a writer and online marketing enthusiast. She is the editor of her blog, Mixios, which focuses on online marketing, social media, and business.

Should You Try Influencer Marketing?

There are numerous types of marketing techniques available to businesses of all sizes, including the ever-popular influencer marketing. Not only has it been used by companies for centuries, but it has been proven to boost sales. However, not every product or service is conducive to influencer marketing, nor is every organization set up to really make a splash in this arena.

Influencer Marketing 101

It’s important to understand the basic elements of influencer marketing before you can truly determine if it’s right for your company. The typical “recipe” of influencer marketing looks a little like this:

  1. Create a product or service.
  2. Get an “influencer” to try your product or service. This could be a Hollywood star, well-known personality, author, web guru, athlete or politician.
  3. If your product or service worked well for the influencer, use that “edge” to market your businesses to more clientele.

The reason influencer marketing works is simple: People tend to trust those who are “popular” or in the public eye. A perfect example of influencer marketing at its finest is Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list. When Oprah talks, her audience listens. Any product she raves about is suddenly catapulted into the spotlight.

While this can be a definite boon, it comes with a double-edged sword. Some of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” businesses have historically not been equipped or ready to supply the demand that comes after the announcement of her list. The sudden spark of interest has caused everything from manufacturing and customer service glitches to website crashes for businesses, although every listed business has been thrilled for the free publicity.

Still, let’s be practical: most influencer marketing will not happen on the international level of the Oprah “Favorite Things” experience. Generally speaking, it’s more niche-specific. Case in point is the company HydroWorx and their connection with pro football star Adrian Peterson.

An Influencer Marketing Case Study

In late 2011, Peterson suffered ACL and MCL tears during a game between his team, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Washington Redskins. His injuries were incredibly severe and led many to wonder how he would be able to play up to par in the 2012 season. During his recovery and physical therapy, he used a HydroWorx underwater treadmill therapy pool for rehab. Because of this advanced technology, he healed faster than he would have otherwise and started big in 2012.

Peterson’s personal and professional success was connected to his use of HydroWorx equipment. The HydroWorx Company played up that connection at every opportunity. This allowed them to showcase their products and reach a new audience.

By piggybacking on the notoriety of Peterson and his recovery, HydroWorx made smart decisions in the vein of influencer marketing. Now, their site is filled with blog posts, videos, social media posts, tweets, press releases, interviews and articles explaining how Peterson’s remarkable comeback was made possible. Eventually, other media became interested in the story as well and helped to spread the discussion.

How to Make Influencer Marketing Work

If you want to try influencer marketing, it’s a good idea to start small. Unless you already have a “famous” influencer using your merchandise or services, you may have to try to woo some people to join your campaign.

Getting to an influencer can be difficult, but the key is to be persistent. You can send him or her a free sample of your product. In some cases, you may have to pay him or her to become a sponsor.

Generally speaking, it’s better if you don’t have to spend a dime to get your influencer on board, but that’s not always realistic. Some influencers are open to trying your product if you donate to their favorite charity. Doing so can be wise on your part.

After your influencer tries your product or starts using it regularly, you have to find out how it changed his or her life. Did it make a task easier, as in a web-based application? Did it solve a common problem he or she had? Did it revolutionize his or her ability to do something? When you have determined the advantages, you can start putting together social media blasts, media releases and blog content.

The key to influencer marketing is to be transparent, though. Never attribute words to your influencer than weren’t said and don’t try to be too clever. The more natural the connection is, the greater the chance that others will follow suit with the influencer and test out your business’s products or services.