Influencer Marketing Strategy - why you can't afford to ignore it in 2018?

With the festive period being one of the busiest times for brands to hit their sales targets, and money in the marketing pot reflecting the importance put on this time of year, it's of course important to cut through the razzle dazzle of the seductive Christmas TV ads and sparkly lights, and determine how your money is going to get that all important 'reach' and 'customer engagement'.

With media messaging at a peak in early December, it's important to be able to cut through the noise and grab the attention of a customer that is already overloaded. One way to do this is through Influencers - a group or an individual who appears to have a 'trusted friend' status when communicating with your customers.

And from Christmas cooking to starting a fitness regime in the New Year, there's of course now an influencer for every specialist area. But at the heart of all good Influencer relationships is making sure you get the right fit for your brand....and not simply make choices on popularity, and other stats like follower numbers etc.

Brands that cleverly choose the right influencer and work in partnership with them will create association and this is the key. It's not about the number of followers a particular influencer may have or who their already working with, or how styled their imagery is - it's about an influencer having an authentic relationship with their audience who in turn trust them and truly are influenced by what they say.

Such targeted exposure to the right kind of consumer, one who is already interested and therefore will more than likely pay attention to your brand is the ultimate goal for influencer marketing and done well will reap many rewards - and not just for bigger brands.

Consumers these days are also way more media savvy than they used to be. How many of us actually watch commercials these days whilst watching our favourite drama on TV? (if indeed anyone actually even watches live TV?) If we do, then an ad break is a chance to take out your phone and add a few things to your shopping basket, scroll through Instagram or casually glance at the latest properties on the market. However, as TV advertising becomes background noise the opportunities for influencer lead advertising via social media are huge. OK so a consumer has chosen to follow a particular influencer but they are still seeing advertising - the difference is because the influencer is staying true to their voice and make the brands they are working with part of their personal story, consumers feel they can more readily trust influencers.

The term influencer marketing really is just the beginning. It will evolve to where personal brands open doors of possibilities to those trying to engage with an audience. So whilst you may be too late to plan a 2017 Christmas Influencer campaign, ignore this powerful channel at your peril for next year and start planning and building relationships early to test and work out the right influencer that's going to have the most impact for your brand.

Learn how to implement an effective influencer marketing strategy and why influencers are so important for brands with Nicola Renshaw's Influencer Marketing course.

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