How many friends can you think of who offer a fantastic product or service and rely on the so called word-of-mouth marketing to grow their business? I can personally name at least five of them. Which is a good tactic because this is one of the most widely used and proven ways for slow but steady development of a company.

The term “word-of-mouth” was introduced in 1970 by psychologist George Silverman, who conducted focus groups with doctors on new pharmaceuticals. He noted that one or two doctors who have had a positive experience with the drug in question managed to disprove a whole group of skeptics, even those who have had a negative experience with the drug.

And this is because people tend to trust a recommendation from a friend, acquaintance or someone they consider to be an authority much more than direct advertising. Companies and marketers know this fact very well. Thus, with the growing use of the Internet and social networks, so-called “influencers” are emerging, which are a form of word-of-mouth marketing.

If you are reading this article, you probably already know exactly what the influencer does. But still, in one sentence: this is a person who influences the consumer behavior of his followers, through his expertise, opinion and recommendation. Very often it is paid by companies to recommend their product or service.

If you are starting your own business or developing your own brand, one way to reach more people to become aware of it is through influencers. Before you do that, though, it’s a good idea to answer a few questions:

What do you want to achieve with the influencers? What is your primary goal?

  • Want to increase your brand awareness among people?

If this is the case, then you need either a large number of micro influencers (up to 3-4000 followers) or a few larger ones (over 10 thousand followers). It all depends on the budget you plan to set aside. The idea is that influencers who have more followers are more likely to seek payment for their services, as gaining followers requires constant content creation and audience engagement, which is time consuming and requires extreme commitment from the influencer.

  • Want to increase your sales?

Here you need influencers that are very well selected. It is important to look for those whose followers are your target group. Imagine you are a manufacturer of diapers for babies and you hire a male influencer, the main focus of whose publications are cars, fitness, weapons, etc., the probability of reaching the main users of diapers (women who have recently given birth) through him is not very high. It would be better to look for a female influencer who often shares posts related to her baby, tips on raising it, their common experiences, etc. Her followers are most likely the people who would buy your products.

It is important to pay attention to their followers engagement to their posts – how many likes does the influencer have on average per post? This should be about 10% of the number of their followers. So, if influencer “A” has 10,000 followers, it would be normal for a post to have about 1,000 likes. If there is much less, then there is a probability that the influencer in question has bought followers (yes, it is possible) or they are simply not engaged in his publications, which should be disturbing for you because they will not engage with the post related to your product that this influencer would do if you hired him.

Comments are even more engaging because they take more time and effort on the part of the audience. The more real comments they have under the posts, the better sign for you. I say “real” because there are often “spam” comments from other profiles in order to draw attention to their own profile.
Pay attention to whether they have a dialogue with their followers or the flow of information is only one-way. The probability of followers’ involvement in the second option is lower.

  • Want to explore consumer attitudes toward your future innovation?

Well, just ask them. This is usually done through focus groups or in-depth research, but more and more often companies also use the audience of certain influencers they consult when they are at the conceptual stage of future innovation. Social networks already provide very great opportunities for interaction and communication with followers, it would be a pity not to take advantage.

What budget are you willing to set aside?

As I mentioned above, most influencers spend a lot of time, energy and effort to keep their audience engaged, which is important to you, so very often their services are not free.

If you do not have the opportunity to spend a lot of money on this, then your option is to use micro influencers, which would be willing to advertise your product on a barter basis. What does this means? You send them your product for free, they try it and if they like it, they can do a product review in front of their followers. Micro influencers tend to agree to this type of barter because they are in the beginning phase and thus they will stand out as influencers before other advertisers and over time, if they produce quality content, they will increase their followers and start making money.

If you are willing to spend more, then you could collaborate with influencers with a larger follower base, and your product will reach more people faster than by using micro influencers. Here, however, is the question of how much people still trust a person they know is taking money to advertise products, and how much micro influencers, who often are not willing recommending something they are not happy with, because there is no financial benefit for them. Here again, you have to ask yourself what is your goal using influencers.

What is your target group?

What is your buying persona? Gender? Age? Interests? Motives for purchase? These are important questions because they will give you an idea of what the followers of the influencers should be in order to reach exactly your users. And what should be the content that these influencers share. If you sell nutritional supplements for athletes, for instance, the probability that your consumers are men and women aged 16-40 is great. In that case, you will focus on several influencers to cover each of these possibilities. Influencer “A” – woman (20-30 years old). She is mostly posting about “healthy lifestyle”, has a nice body, engages her followers with topics related to sports, nutrition, shows herself in the gym (example: Karin Okolie) . Influencer “B” – a man who spends most of his time in the gym, the main focus of the posts is “lifestyle”, because often people think that what he consumes and does is the right recipe  for them to have the same things and look the same (example: Sami Hosni). Influencer “C” – active professional athletes, with honors in a particular sport, a role model for many adolescents (example: Ivet Lalova). You understand the logic

It is not difficult. You can choose the right people depending on your business and target audience. Remember, however, that the probability that your brand will be associated with the influencer who recommended it is high. So choose carefully. You don’t want someone for whom it’s normal to throw eggs across the terrace over her neighbors to be associated with your brand, do you? Well, unless you are a psychotherapist and you want to stress that it is important to use your services: D

If you are still hesitant, we at BrandBuilder will be happy to help you choose the most suitable influencers for your type of business. Book an appointment for a free consultation with us on the our home page.

Petya Gergova – CEO, Marketing Leader

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