The term “influencer marketing” is being thrown around a lot these days, and with good reason. When done right, it can result in increased brand recognition, sales and customer retention. Despite this, though, there’s still some confusion about what, exactly, an influencer is.
Simply put, an influencer is someone who has influence over potential buyers. While bloggers are often the first to pop into mind, influencers can also be journalists, celebrities, academics, spokespersons, and more. They are well-connected and “in-the-know,” with an engaged following that looks to them for advice, knowledge, and opinions.
As a form of word of mouth advertising, influencer marketing gives brands built-in credibility and visibility. And that’s important in a time when consumers easily ignore ads and block pop-ups. These days, consumers are looking for more trustworthy, less “salesy” resources when it comes to buying decisions. In fact, 92 percent turn to people they know – including influencers – for referrals (Tapfluence and Influitive).
Because influencers have the ear of the consumer, this can translate into big ROI for brands. Not only does word of mouth generate two times the sales of paid advertising (McKinsey), businesses make an average of $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing (Tomoson).
Ready to jump on the influencer bandwagon? As a pet brand, you’re in luck! Like many other niches, the pet industry has a broad spectrum of influencers. Of course, not every influencer is right for every business, so look for someone with a following that’s relevant to your content and aligns with your goals. For instance, if you are marketing a line of all-natural pet treats, an influencer with a following of pet parents would be much more helpful than one who appeals to environmentalists or health enthusiasts. If this influencer has an audience comprised of fans who value healthy living and clean eating, so much the better!
Once you’ve found an influencer (or two), work with them to create original content that’s useful and delivers something of value to their audience. While it should also direct attention to your brand, it shouldn’t be overly “salesy” or pushy.
For example, if you create one-of-a-kind pet ID tags, your goal might be to educate people on how to prevent lost pets, including a brief mention of your product. Your influencer’s audience will appreciate the information and will not be put off by it as if it were nothing more than an ad. If you do this skillfully, then awareness (and sales!) will be a natural by-product.
Case in point, PetHub.com does this very thing! The company created an annual observance, Lost Pet Prevention Month in July. They host a micro site where they post oodles of valuable resources for pet parents about keeping pets safe and “lost proof.” Each July, PetHub partners with dozens of influencers in the pet world, (including yours truly) to generate online and social engagement and SEO, all around the “Lost Pet Prevention” theme.
Want to learn more about how your brand can leverage influencer marketing? Download my free e-book: Beginner’s Guide to Influencer Marketing for Pet-Friendly Businesses.