Trend Watch: In 2016, Influencer Marketing Will Shine

As the year draws to a close, most of our clients are already planning January press releases, events, product launches, and trade shows. In the age of Adblock, on-demand television, and online newspapers, traditional advertising simply won’t cut it. Earned media remains one of the best ways to reach and motivate your audience. To stay ahead of the curve in 2016, one of the key trends to watch is the rise of influencer marketing.

The importance of social media is sometimes blown out of proportion, but that doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore it. Even small businesses – maybe especially small businesses – should be aware of their social media branding and online reputation. Engaging with consumers on a personal level is priceless. But for smaller brands without the resources to blanket the Internet, influencer marketing is a solid option. And it’s on the rise.

There are two major ways to go about influencer marketing. The first is to find existing influencers who are excited about your brand and willing to share content accordingly. To accomplish this you first have to identify the influencers who are the best fit for your brand. It’s not as simple as signing in to Twitter, finding someone with a huge following, and tagging him or her on your content. Instead of the number of followers, focus first on content. Look for people who are passionate about what your business is trying to accomplish. Those who share your values and goals will be more likely to engage and maintain a long-term relationship with your brand.

If you do choose to work with social influencers, an important truth to remember is that you do not control the content they create. If you attempt to control the message too much, you’ll lose the authenticity and validation you worked so hard to gain in the first place. Instead, cultivate meaningful and open relationships with bloggers and social gurus. Show them that your company deserves their glowing endorsement, and you’ll get it.

The second option is the road less traveled, because it takes time and energy to achieve, but it is worth it in the end. The goal is to become an influencer yourself. This isn’t the right fit for every company, but for many of our tech or B2B clients, it makes a lot of sense. Establishing your CEO or other spokesman as an expert in your field can put you at the top of social media feeds just as surely as interacting with other influencers. It also has the side benefit of lending credibility to your product or service. We encourage our clients to create meaningful content that adds value to their industry, then sharing it with top sites that can help you reach new followers.

The most important aspect of reaching influencer status is the value of your content. Don’t attempt to write about things you don’t understand or don’t truly have something to say about. Choose topics that you feel strongly about and have extensive knowledge of. Don’t hesitate to have a professional go through your content with you to ensure that your message is intelligible to people who aren’t experts. Communicating clearly and personably is almost as important as having authoritative content.

Whichever path you choose, in the coming year you can’t afford to stay quiet online. Finding a way to get your message out to new audiences is half the battle – the other part is creating engaging and unique messages that people will relate to and want to share.

Don’t know where to start? We have decades of experience in content marketing and working with online influencers. Contact PilmerPR to see how we can help.

About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.
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