So you’re not in the ‘athleisure’ industry. Can you still use social influencers?
For someone trying to break into the jewelry, athletic wear, cosmetics and travel industry, you don’t need to think too hard about how to fit influencers into your overall marketing strategy. But what about the insurance agencies, nonprofits, or other niche industries who want to reach new audiences? The path forward isn’t quite so clear.
Influencer marketing for niche industries is possible and can be profitable if the newest trends in productive influencer strategy are recognized.
To combat engagement-buying and fake engagement, companies are moving away from basing influencer compensation on the number of likes and comments. From the perspectives of social media platforms, they reacted to a common need for public validation through likes with new platform updates. Facebook and Instagram platforms rolled out testing for hiding the number of likes to combat the unhealthy psychological effects of social media dependency.
With these strategy changes coming from both sides of social media, the importance of likes, comments, and other vanity metrics will wean and conversion + CTA metrics will be prioritized.
All Millennials and Gen-Zers complain about how every person on Instagram is trying to sell something. And yet, we still all follow our favorite influencers. This is because social media users have developed a keen sense for weeding out the influencers that copy/paste a company message. The individuals who put time, effort, and passion into their content stay in good graces.
This means the influencers who rose to power with their skills, passions, and brand will prevail while individuals who at the core are just trying to make money will quickly lose traction.
On the same grain of being able to weed out the people just trying to make a quick buck, the sincerity of the partnership can be connected to the length of the partnership. Influencers who bounce around multiple company shout outs seem less genuine than influencers who have one or two brands that they support long-term.
Not only does this allow influencers to take a deep dive into details behind the multiple products and values you offer, but it creates a stronger and more genuine word-of-mouth marketing message that viewers will react to.
Gone are the times where advertising could be woven into posts as a genuine Word-Of-Mouth product recommendation. All posts that mention a product for financial gain have to have a #ad at the beginning of the social post copy.
But, even without this very clear marking of #ads versus non-ad content, social users are pretty good at differentiating between the two. So, influencers are not hiding their product shout outs into a seemingly innocuous post anymore. The most productive influencers are staying honest and clear about promoted content while still creating high-quality content their followers love.
credit: Marques Brownlee IG
Don’t try to make your brand something that it isn’t. Not only will the message seem ingenuine, but also it leads to inconsistent brand messaging across your platforms. This can make it harder for viewers to create a recall for your brand and its overall purpose.
The point of marketing is to be on your potential customer’s mind when they are shopping for products like yours. So, keep your message clear and consistent across platforms. Does that mean your influencer strategy should sound as formal as the voice on your website? No. But the brand sentiment and values should shine through in every channel of messaging.
Just because it doesn’t make sense to promote a flirty fun message doesn’t mean influencers will promote a boring one. Social influencers in the tech industry have mastered the art of creating content that resonates with brand values while still creating content that fits the platform.
Marques Brownlee, a prominent thought leader in the tech industry, uses his niche expertise and eye for design to create engaging and eye-catching content that speaks about the latest in tech.
Credit: Rebecca’s IG
If you are a company with a conservative message that caters to conservative people, choose an influencer that fits those values. If you are a very progressive company that caters to progressive people, the same is relevant. It’s prudent to do your research and understand all of the content a potential influencer partner publishes, whether it’s connected to your brand or not.
By creating a partnership with an influencer, you are effectively creating a new channel for potential customers to learn about your business. But if the message is mixed in with other content and posts that don’t fall in line with your company’s values, that sentiment will be mixed in with those messages as well. Since consistency is key, choose an influencer that will enhance your brand voice without altering it.
Rebecca Pytell, a gluten-free product influencer, dedicates her entire feed to the importance and variety of a gluten-free diet. Her message is so strong because she can relate to her celiac and gluten-intolerant viewers with her own experiences. If she promoted your gluten-free product and then posted a story of her eating gluten, the pull and power of her (and your) message may be diluted in the eyes of the viewers.
An important aspect of quality influencer marketing is melding the brand voice of the influencers with the brand values of your company. If you write scripts, control all of the content, and monitor discussion points for your influencers, the value of their message will drastically decrease.
When you chose the right influencer, there isn’t a need to backseat drive on content past giving final approval. By giving them space to create their themes, topics, and ideas, you open up the possibility for new perspectives, stories, and values to highlight that you didn’t consider promoting in the first place.
Susan Santoro, a niche influencer who promotes organizational products, has this to say about working with companies:
“When you treat us as unique individuals, it opens up a whole new horizon of possibilities for your brand. Imagine how unique my presentation of your brand and product will be if you don’t think of me as ‘just a mom blogger’. Allow us the freedom to harness the power of our unique brand and audience to promote your brand and product.”
You are reaching out to influencers for their expertise in not only engaging but also relating to their viewers. So trust the process and understand that the point of the partnership is to find new conversation topics that intrigue a new audience.
Working with an influencer with millions of followers sounds like a total win, but what if only .5% of them care about your product? It is much more productive (and realistic) to find a thought leader within your industry and work with a much smaller pool of viewers who care about your product or service.
If you think your brand is too niche to have an established community with thought leaders, think again. Every industry, activity, and frame of thought under the sun has experts in the field and followers who listen to their words. If you can establish rapport and a possible partnership with a niche micro-influencer, that is more valuable than a general influencer with a sea of viewers who will ignore your message.
The key to establishing a relationship with a niche thought-leader is looking ‘inside the house.’ research your existing fans and loyal customers. Do any of them have any public respect or pull within your industry? That is a great relationship just waiting to be developed. Not only will the message be genuine, but because they are already well-versed with your product, they probably have personal projects, experiences, and case studies to share.
These fans-turned-ambassadors create pride around supporting your brand and stimulate brand loyalty. Adobe Partners built its entire influencer program around this idea and threw a lot of resources behind it. Adobe Partners created an all-inclusive ambassador program where brand advocates are invited to HQ. The program involves them in decision-making processes and immerses them in Adobe so they can adequately represent the brand.
Influencer marketing isn’t just for the fun and flirty brands. Niches of all types can potentially benefit from partnering with industry thought leaders who promote an honest message about the values of your products and brand. Ready to create a profitable influencer strategy? Reach out to our team!