No matter how fantastic your product or service might be, getting the attention of your target audience can be a tremulous task – especially for small kiwi businesses. In a world where we tend to roll our eyes at obvious advertisements, it can be hard to target the trustworthy marketing zone wherein a potential customer can feel comfortable and eventually keen to try your product.
Times are changing. Just as the internet morphed into the user-bolstered 2.0, companies are looking to the customers themselves for brand-boosting opportunities. With a little social media smarts… you might just see your customers magically transform into successful sponsors before your eyes.
Act with tact: a word of warning before we go any further
Did you happen to catch this month’s Pepsi drama? Take heed: this advertisement campaign is the perfect example of a brand blunder that not even the fame of a Kardashian/Jenner could redeem. There are many things to be learned from this incident, and we’re certain there are endless articles overflowing with negative critique you can dive into online…but for the sake of today’s topic let’s focus on a lesson that your small business might easily glean.
Your audience is not stupid.
That’s right. Even a much-beloved celebrity will find it a challenge in this day and age to inspire a desire for spending within your audience. So who’s going to bring your brand home to your target audience? If not a celebrity, then who else could possible have such sway?
It’s going to take someone a little closer to home: someone they can relate with on a more realistic level. Someone whose progress has been visible – even admirable – to your audience from their very first post.
Influencers: who are they?
In New Zealand, we’re more than familiar with the concept of ‘tall poppy syndrome’. Influencers are individuals on social media who are extremely appealing to target audiences. This is because they seemingly come from humble beginnings, and have worked hard to harness an audience of loyal followers and supporters. They live inspirational lives which we – the audience – get to peek into through ‘windows’ such as YouTube Vlogs or Instagram pictures.
Social media influencers can bring an element of sincerity to the advertising table, and if they happen to genuinely like your product then you’ll have several beautiful posts and reviews to look forward to (yay for customer-created content)!
These people are conduits of loyal customers, sending them seamlessly to your company. If a trusted influencer is on your side, you could be in for a very successful ride.
Influencer marketing: how does it work?
While it might seem like their lives are naturally beautiful and orderly, a good influencer will actually infuse a great deal of structure into each post that they release. From location tags to lighting, an influencer does the work of a model, photographer, director and marketing manager simultaneously. If it were a marketing genre, we might call it casual-professional.
So how will they use their awesome influential powers to promote your brand or product? Primarily through product placement, naturally…though this is not as obvious as the product placement that we are used to seeing on TV commercials or celebrity pages. A good influencer will be subtle and smart with their product placement; usually the product will be integrated into a positive analogy with an accompanying image.
Where do we find these magical people and how do we get started?
When hunting for your social media influencer, you should treat the process as though you’re looking for a new employee. Let it be strongly emphasised that these people need to line up with your brand’s values and/or morals, otherwise you risk having your products associated with unsavoury content (a matter that is completely out of your control).
Take time to scroll through a potential’s page and their posts and see if they match a few of our suggested guidelines:
- They keep it positive, but not ‘gushy’.
- They keep it PG (your product isn’t going to get a lot of attention if an influencer’s followers are sticking around primarily for their body).
- They take high-quality photos (these are perfect for resharing on your own feed).
- They have successfully featured similar products or services to your own brand’s.
You don’t necessarily need to go to an agency to acquire your social media influencers. Spending an hour or two a day on social media (primarily Facebook, YouTube and Instagram) will give you a good understanding as to who’s using your product or similar products, and who’s going to work well with your brand to officially promote them.
Get a little guidance with Tailgunner!
Whether you’re totally keen or just curious about social media marketing and influencers, we can help! Our social media expert Seth is available to talk social strategy for small businesses in New Zealand. We’re excited about this new and rapidly evolving form of marketing, and we can’t wait to see your business soar online and off.