Influencer Marketing: A Beginners Guide
The blogging industry is booming, and the beauty market is gaining some serious momentum. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of aspiring writers and make-up artists who have taken to blogging or vlogging to share their passion whilst earning some extra income. But how do you differentiate yourself from the thousands of faces already out there? What separates the standard social media influencer from the thought leader with a cult-like following?
The key is marketing.
Though traditional or ‘outbound’ marketing is effective in spreading brand awareness, modern consumers are less responsive to adverts found on the television, in magazines and direct mail. Consumers crave a connection, they want to see a personalised approach to customer-driven marketing. As a result, social media influencers are dominating modern marketing. What separates the amateurs from the all-stars is their ability to market themselves as a brand.
Jemini Dalal, our marketing extraordinaire says, “gaining experience in the marketing side of the industry is invaluable. It will help you gain the knowledge and the tools you will need to create, excel and expand a business of your own.” It’s difficult to know where to start, but we’ve broken it down into five fundamental marketing principles that will help you kickstart your marketing career.
Content Driven Media
Brands use influencers to communicate messages, opinions and campaigns to a wider online audience because influencers have the ability to create a rapport with their audience. When it comes to creating content for brands, it is imperative that as much energy and focus is put into producing personalised, helpful, and informative content as is put into the product and brand. Be a story teller. Make your content unique and interesting. When you build a story around a product, you are showing consumers how to use the product and how it may fit into their lifestyle.
That being said, you should only ever affiliate with brands that you would recommend to others. Blogs, vlogs, and how-to’s are only successful if they come across as authentic as followers can sense when an influencer has a genuine passion for the brand. Relationships between the influencer and the consumer are based on a sense of honesty, trust and loyalty. If your content comes across as disingenuous, customers will see it as a transparent vehicle designed simply to drive sales.
Empires are built on a foundation of credibility – once you lose that, getting it back is easier said than done.
Keep it Coming
Keep your content fresh and keep it coming. It’s no secret that the more you post the more followers you gain. However, if you want people to see you as a thought leader, a trend setter, a make-up extraordinaire, then you need to stay relevant. It boils down to two key factors:
- Make sure that you are posting frequently.
- Ensure that the content you are posting is engaging.
Setting up an RSS feed is an effective and low maintenance way to supply your feed with regular and relevant content. Sending posts out at a set time each week will build anticipation for new content; consumers know when to come back to your page, generating a consistent flow of interaction. There are dozens of free RSS feeds online – give one a go, you won’t regret it.
It is also important to keep yourself updated on the latest industry news and articles. This will not only keep you in the loop with the latest beauty trends but will help you to spot gaps in the market. Your content needs to come from somewhere and knowing where to look for inspiration could be what separates you from the amateurs. Show your followers that you’re not just about the sales and promotion but make-up is your life and you are obsessed with the beauty world as a whole.
It’s your passion, not just your job.
Know Your Strengths
Nowadays, consumers are compelled to make their buying decisions through people they know in person or the influencers they follow online. The relationship between the influencer and the consumer is built on a foundation of mutual interest, loyalty and authenticity. If you’re a social media influencer, your followers are likely to take your opinion as that of a peer.
Consumers use e-commerce as a form of entertainment; how many hours of your life have you spent scrolling through endless webpages, filling electronic baskets and wish lists with items you have no intention of buying? A lot of us find the act of researching and browsing more compelling than the actual purchase. However, if a consumer has seen a review about a product, or even a friend or influencer using it, they are far more likely to commit to buying the product.
It’s word of mouth marketing: they trust your opinion to buy the product. If they like the product they will recommend both you and the brand to their friends and family – which will generate exposure to a wider audience. Everyone’s a winner.
Special Offers, Promotions and Events
Everybody loves a bargain. Beauty bloggers are known for their sneak peek reviews on unreleased products and exclusive discount codes. It’s their way of giving something a little something back to their loyal followers. There are a number of ways in which special offers, promotions and events can be used to create a buzz around the product that you’re promoting. For example, Instagram competitions (whereby participants must like, share and tag three friends in order to be entered) are a fantastic tool used to expand your reach, increase your following and encourage audience engagement.
Social media feeds are no longer chronological. No matter how far down you scroll it’s almost impossible to see every post. Feeds are now shown by order of interaction – the more likes, shares and comments a post gets, the higher up it appears in news feeds, the more people it reaches. As a result, it’s imperative that you encourage immediate interaction, else you risk your post not being seen at all. Setting a time limit on special offers and promotions gives your post urgency – the resulting engagement will ensure your posts appear in the feeds of a wider audience and keeps your brand in front of mind.
Respond to Feedback
Responding to feedback, whether positive or negative, opens up a platform for conversation between you and your subscribers. It validates your authenticity. Answering to questions, comments and reviews shows that you’re a real person who cares not only about the information that you are putting out there but also how it is received. Prove to your subscribers that their opinion is appreciated. Don’t just say thank you – responding to negative feedback gives you credibility. It will also help you to recognise and understand where there is room for improvement.
Whether you’re an established influencer looking to elevate and expand your current business, or you’re a self-taught superstar trying to figure out where to start (or neither, we believe this guide will help any aspiring influencer) we hope this guide has given you some useful insights into the marketing side of the industry.
Remember – in this industry, success is measured by audience engagement, so if you want to thrive, be genuine with your followers.
Credit – Thea Fraser