12.01.20165 min read

Modern Day Endorsements: An Introduction to Influencer Marketing

How amazing would it be to have a celebrity endorse your brand? When I think of celebrity endorsements I think of Michael Jordan endorsing Nike. 

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I think of Tiger Wood endorsing Buick.

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I think of Oprah endorsing Weight Watchers.

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It took millions of dollars in advertising budget for these global brands to get the top A-List celebrities to speak highly of their product on national television. This type of marketing is reserved only for the elite: until now.

The internet has changed the game, especially when considering the impact that social media has had on marketing and advertising. No longer do you need a big advertising budget and a production team to get the word out there about your product or service. With a few minutes on a smartphone and a couple photos, you can get eyes from all over the world looking at your business.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is celebrity endorsements for an online world. An influencer is anyone that can get people to act. Literally, anyone can be an influencer. However, the more practical way to look at it is as someone who has a substantial social media following in a specific demographic you’re product or service is created for.

My wife and I have a t-shirt business, Mom Shirt Co. We sell t-shirts to moms. Specifically, we sell t-shirts to trendy moms between the ages of 25 to 40. An influencer to us is a trendy mom between 25 and 40 that has 10,000 or more followers on Instagram. These individuals have a following that matches the demographic we target for our business. The 10,000+ follower count is a benchmark we set for what we consider someone with a degree of influence for that audience.

What does this mean for you?

Influencer marketing is a strategy that very few businesses know about. This strategy allows you to potentially reach tens of thousands of individuals that match your ideal customer for a fraction of the cost of traditional online advertising.   

Imagine you’re coming out with a new skincare line for middle-aged women, and you need to get the word out. Simply searching on Instagram for popular skincare hashtags or looking at the popular page for middle aged women is all you need to find a potential influencer. Once you find a middle aged woman with a substantial following on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, simply send her a direct message and ask if she’d be open to posting about your new line in exchange for a free product or a small fee. 

My personal recommendation is to reach out to several of these influencers because they don’t all respond, and some of their fees may be out of your budget. But 10 messages should yield you two solid influencers. If each of those influencers has an average of 7,500 followers, you just reached 15,000 potential eyes for a fraction of a Facebook ad. This is the magic of Influencer Marketing. 

Another interesting perk of this method is that the posts feel native. When you advertise on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, etc. everyone knows it. There’s typically a spot on the post that says “Ad” or “Sponsored”. We’ve become so conditioned to this that almost everyone I know skips the first three links in a Google search almost every time. With Influencers, the posts feel natural and organic, thus improving the overall impact. 

We used this strategy to launch our business. We were able to get a contestant from a popular TV Show—”The Bachelor”—to retweet one of our Twitter posts announcing that our business was live. Her retweet helped us sell over $1,000 in product in less than 24 hours. Continuing this very tactic allowed us to sell to customers in 33 states and three countries in our first 30 days in business. It works, and more businesses are starting to catch on—but it’s still so early in the game. Start now!

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Ernest Saco is a small business growth expert at Infusionsoft. He takes the lessons he learns in his own business and helps small business owners overcome marketing challenges in theirs. He and his wife also co-founded Mom Shirt Co. an online shop for humorous, high-quality T-shirts for trendy moms. Ernest has taken his passion for entrepreneurship and begun creating a course to help individuals begin their own T-shirt business from home, which will be available at sellshirtsnow.com.

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