What Is Influencer Marketing?
By definition, influencer marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses influencers and content creators to share a brand, product, or service experience on a blog or social media platform like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok.
Companies turn to influencers instead of traditional print and digital marketing channels for one key reason: no matter how large or small a social media influencer’s following is, they have built trust with their audience through one-on-one communication, relatable content, honest opinions, authentic messages, and expert knowledge within a specific niche.
Because of influencers’ relationship with their followers, product endorsements and brand mentions carry a substantial amount of weight. Further, promoting products through influencer marketing provides a boost of social proof to potential customers and increased engagement for brands, thanks to the recommendations from a trustworthy, authoritative source.
Influencer marketing is similar to previous endorsement campaigns centered around celebrities, athletes, or other notable figures. However, influencer marketing taps into a market of seemingly everyday people who have built a community of like-minded individuals by sharing blog posts, photos, videos, or other web content. As such, influencer marketing is generally more collaborative than celebrity endorsements and appeals strongly to Millennials and Gen-Z users.
Finally, brands can use influencer marketing to achieve several end goals. Some may want to increase sales through social media advertising with a well-known blogger. Others may simply want to boost brand awareness. In that case, businesses may reach out to both macro-influencers and micro-influencers, or those with fewer than 10,000 followers, for brand partnerships and sponsored posts. Payment rates and ROI often vary based on the influencer’s audience, though some brands may find that smaller influencers with dedicated followers deliver more growth, awareness, and sales.
Why Is Influencer Marketing Important for Customer Service?
While it’s clear that influencer marketing is far more than a passing trend, many businesses are still developing the role between influencer marketing strategies, content creators, and customer support departments. That said, experts valued the influencer marketing industry at $13.8 billion in 2021.
With that in mind, customer support departments will likely find their roles in the growth and marketing strategy will evolve as well. In time, agents may even take a leading role in guiding organizations toward potential content creators perfect for their target audience.
Currently, agents can impact influencer marketing strategies in two key ways:
1. Identifying Satisfied Influencers
According to a 2019 Aberdeen study, 62% of top service organizations use online surveys, speech analytics, and IVR surveys to identify satisfied customers. Using these tools, along with customer relationship management software, enables your customer support agents to collect feedback and information on consumer behavior.
Agents can then provide your marketing team with data on top promoters, satisfied customers, and potential influencers who could join your brand’s social media promotion strategy. In addition, customer support teams can encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences with their friends, family, and followers.
2. Creating a Positive Customer Experience
Secondly, customer service agents can nurture a positive environment through customized care and exemplary support. Customer service departments may provide financial incentives, upgrades, or other benefits to build a positive relationship with influencers.
That said, your customer support teams must remain aware of customer expectations to maintain the relationship. As the market shifts, your brand will need to stay one step ahead to prevent losing market share and audience visibility.
How to Develop an Influencer Marketing Strategy
Developing an influencer advertising campaign requires ongoing collaboration and cooperation between marketing departments, customer care agents, branding experts, and influencers. Still, the results are more than worth the effort: 89% of companies share that the results of an influencer marketing campaign were “equal or better” than other marketing channels, including social media feed advertising, content marketing, and email marketing due in part to the highly accessible and authoritative platform shared by most content creators.
Like social media advertising, content marketing collaborations with influencers place a product in the middle of a potential user’s life by integrating it into their social feed. While scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, Millennial- and Gen-Z consumers can enter the conversion funnel thanks to social media-based shopping and influencer marketing strategies.
To develop a successful influencer marketing strategy, consider the five following steps.
- Determine your message, goals, and budget for the influencer campaign.
- Identify influencers within your niche using data from the customer support department and market research.
- Contact potential influencers.
- Refine your campaign plans to include specifics like branded content style, posting schedule, and creative strategies.
- Track influencer marketing campaigns and adjust as needed.
Leveraging Customer Support Agents to Enhance Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing may be a relatively new addition to advertising strategies, but the authentic marketing and communication tool is here to stay. Content creators leverage their expertise and audience trust to provide valuable product mentions, brand recommendations, and online reviews. As a result, influencers boost brand awareness and can increase revenue from purchases by nearly $6 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing while businesses enjoy a significant boost in brand equity.