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In the old days of marketing, everything was so much more simple and direct. Companies bought ads for products and consumers bought those products without much fuss. There wasn’t a lot to think about, no price comparison sites or brand values to consider. Today, however, consumers think differently, make decisions differently, and value different factors than they once did.
From one viewpoint, marketing is far more complicated because there are no clear rules for brands to follow. But for brands that jump on the digital marketing bandwagon, things can be made simpler.
So what works? Relationship-building and creating a lifestyle around your brand. The most direct way to do this is by partnering with reliable micro-influencers who can “walk the walk” of your brand’s values.
Skilled micro-influencers are a not-so-secret weapon for brands that leverage them effectively. They humanize brands, helping customers better understand the value that comes from a product or service. They demonstrate your brand lifestyle seamlessly so you don’t have to keep running your mouth about it.
A good influencer is solid in their consistency and attention to detail. They know how to balance friendly and open communication with a professionalism that gets results.
Living the lifestyle
It’s good to have brand values clearly defined on paper, but it’s much more meaningful to have them playing out in the real world for your audience to see. Brand values need context to truly take shape, have significance, and remain memorable over time.
What does it actually look like to be a follower and supporter of your brand? Influencers answer this question in real-time on their social media feeds on a daily basis. By consistently showing up and simply being human, your audience can see how individuals interact with your brand and utilize your products in a practical way.
The benefits and features are revealed without your brand having to spell it out or trying to convince anyone. It’s the ultimate native advertising that meets people where they already are.
Reaching the right people
Targeting the right customers through social media can still feel like a shot in the dark at times. Especially when boosted posts and social media campaigns fail to get you the attention and sales you expected. Ultimately, your audience is not just a collective that thinks similarly. Your audience is a group of individuals, and individuals connect with other individuals. In conversation, we talk about our similarities and differences, likes and dislikes, goals and desires.
A micro-influencer who embraces your brand is the ultimate connector because they are an individual, not a billboard or a Facebook ad. Like attracts like; and when a member of your target demographic sees an influencer they can relate to, or that they admire, the attraction has already begun.
Building community naturally
Why micro? Why not a mega-famous influencer with thousands of followers from around the world? Essentially, it’s engagement. Influencer marketing research has shown that micro-influencers create more engagement than ultra-famous influencers. This is because their audience is defined and targeted more strategically. Celebrity social media accounts are flooded with random followers who simply recognize a name and face. So when a micro-influencer posts a thoughtful product review, day-in-the-life video, or a photo of them using a product, people pay attention.
Micro-influencers build connections and foster solid communities based on authenticity and common interests, not status and fame. This means that your brand doesn’t need to jump through hoops with a celebrity who doesn’t even have a connection to a product. In addition, your audience may feel more comfortable posting a comment to an individual rather than an official brand account.
Saving marketing dollars
Regardless of what channels your marketing efforts flow into, it’s all too easy to spend more than you intended. This includes spending extra on influencer marketing. Not just anyone with a following and some nice photos will get you the ROI to make it worth your money and time. But if you do manage to find the right person, the right offering, and the right audience, the investment can quickly pay for itself.
There is an element of impersonality in most marketing, even for clever marketers who’ve mastered the boosted Facebook post. But influencer marketing is different in that it is less random. You’re not simply hoping to catch someone scrolling in their newsfeed; you’re carefully choosing an ambassador who embodies the qualities you seek to highlight.
As marketing becomes more relationship- and values-oriented, learning to build long term connections with micro-influencers will only become more critical for brands.