The past decade has been unrivalled in their pace of change. We have lived through economic, political and geographical mega-shifts and this has been mirrored in the most recognisable and permeating feature of the last decade: the rise of Social Media.

From the evolution of social media as a fun, online community based expression of youth culture it has moved into the premier communication, business and educational channel for the world en mass. Not even governments and regimes have been able to quell our appetite for it.

With this meteoric rise businesses have often been slow to react and leverage the benefits social has to offer. Whereas once upon a time social media was banned in offices, it has now become one of the most important channels for driving growth and customer engagements.

Whereas once people questioned the monetization model, B2B businesses alone will spend north of $5bn onsocial media advertising in 2014.

 

“The world is changing at an alarming rate but social can give you the power to react, play and win in this tumultuous environment”

 

The message is that the world is changing at an alarming rate but social can give you the power to react, play and win in this tumultuous environment regardless of your size.

How many of the below activities do you currently use social media for?

  • Monitoring trends, your market, your brands and your competitors
  • Listening, identifying and engaging with customers
  • Social media influencer marketing
  • Marketing, selling, and servicing your customers
  • Researching and testing new product ideas
  • Recruiting the best talent
  • Reputation and crisis management
  • Engaging your target audience
  • Reducing marketing spend / efforts whilst increasing ROI

If the answer was none or only a few then that means there are still some great opportunities to improve what you are currently doing that we will now discuss.

 

What Does This Mean For Businesses?

 

The first section has introduced you to the changes social media has brought about over the past decade and the activities that can now achieved using it.

In this section we will look at exactly what this means for businesses and how you can make social media influencer marketing work for you.

To start we have documented a few common problems we hear from the businesses we speak to:

“We are looking to cut costs, not increase them. We would love to use social media but we don’t have the time, money or expertise.”

“Customers don’t know who we are and we can’t create the necessary awareness or leads to make enough sales.”

These are common concerns and issues, but far from being a cost on the balance sheet, social should become an asset. It can, if used correctly give you direct access to customers and markets and level an often unequal playing field with your more established competitors.

 

“Far from being a cost on the balance sheet, social should become an asset.”

 

3 Ways Social Media Influencer Marketing Can Save You Money

 

  1. Reduce your sales, marketing and servicing costs using a channel that is cheap and easy to operate as well as being the
    preferred option for the majority of customers. You can run an efficient “always on” servicing operation with less employees than traditional telephony or post option.
  2. Use social media to understand who your customers are and what they actually want. Use social media influencer marketing to create targeted campaigns and build deep and meaningful relationships with your most important customers.
  3. Gain market knowledge, all the information is available, you just have to look and listen. Stop paying marketing, PR and business consultants and start listening to your customers. Use this rich data to create smarter strategies that will drive your business forward.

 

“Get social media influencer marketing right and it will make sure people know about you, trust you and give you the feedback needed to continually improve your offerings.”

 

3 Activities To Improve Your Social Media Influencer Marketing Strategy

 

Step 1 – The power of social lies in the ability for you to listen, communicate and collaborate with existing and potential customers. However in order to do this in an authentic and effective manner you must first:

  • Define your target customer
    (e.g. sketch them out, give them a personality – get into their frame of mind)
  • Understand what your customers are saying about you and your market
    (e.g. what are their needs / problems)
  • Understand where your customers are active and how they want to engage
    (e.g. forums, groups, twitter, instagram, blogs)

 

Step 2 – Free content is king. Consumers are extremely intelligent and skeptical; you have to demonstrate that what you offer is of some value to them. Provide them with something of value in exchange for the chance to build up a trusted relationship with them.

  • Start to build up a visible presence where your customers congregate
    (e.g. create social pages, share content and enter conversations)
  • Give your customers something of value. Try to create content that solves a problem and can help position you as an authority in your area.
    (e.g. a free trial or consultation, white paper, blog)

 

Step 3 – Take advantage of the work and get the results you deserve.Make sure your business is set up to benefit from customer feedback and referrals.

Ensure you have social share buttons, feedback capture and testimonials showing across all your entire social presence so people can see what your customers are saying about you and share you to their friends.

Make sure you ask for referrals, endorsements and feedback.

These three elements will make sure people know about you, trust you and that you able to continually make improvements to your offering.

 

The wrap up

 

Social media influencer marketing is mixture of art and science. The art can most certainly come from you, your team, your story or your creativeness. People love to interact with people and the more human you can make your business online the better you will do.

The science part comes from analytics, planning, insights, customer tracking, influencer ranking, campaigns and automation. When art and science comes together properly the results of what social can achieve are simply astounding.