If you haven’t heard of influencer marketing, you’re not alone. It is relatively new, but growing trend in the marketplace for businesses both large and small. The idea is to use those who wield influence in the form of a following or audience to help you gain awareness for your business.
Here is a more elaborate definition supplied by Wikipedia:
Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that influence potential buyers and orients marketing activities around these influencers.
Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be third parties. These third parties exist either in the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or may be so-called value-added influencers (such as journalists, bloggers, academics, industry analysts, professional advisers, and so on).
Influencer marketing will work for nearly any business
In a sense, it is a sophisticated method of word-of-mouth marketing (WOM). There is no argument that WOM is the most potent form of marketing. Movie studios know this. They spend millions attempting to influence opinions about new releases because the power of suggestion from a friend is far more motivating than reviews by critics, or even flashy, funny, and compelling trailers.
When someone gives a thumb’s up to a movie, you are much more likely to see it. The same is true for just about any consumer product or service. Restaurants, doctors, plumbers, interior designers and more get tons of business from referrals, and so can artists. If you have the right people touting your work, it will help make sales, get into galleries, and shows, get grants and more.
Don’t Get Hooked on Any One Form of Marketing
As with any marketing, you can’t rely solely on influencers to grow awareness, nor would you want to. As powerful as it potentially is, influencer marketing is not something you can control. You can work to use it efficiently in your overall marketing, but you will find it works best in concert with other efforts to grow awareness and make sales of your art. You shouldn’t rely on any third-party platform as the primary or only means of shedding light on your business.
It is a very competitive landscape out there for artists. That’s why looking for unique ways to grow your business is crucial. Being in the front of changing movements helps you achieve your goals. It’s not about being trendy. It’s about jumping the line on your competition, increasing your odds of success, and hedging your bets against your current marketing stack.
Everybody Has a Marketing Stack
What I mean by marketing stack is looking at what you are doing now. If you have followed the advice I offer in my books and online training; you know I advocate having multiple forms of marketing working together in cooperation. For instance, in the past few years, Facebook advertising has become a huge boon for many businesses, including artists. It may continue to offer upside for the near future. It may also become too expensive or fussy for small companies to keep using it.
Because you can’t control it, you can’t afford to rely on Facebook or any other form of getting noticed. If things go south and you’re too dependent on a single type of marketing, it can put a serious hurt on your business. If thinking about this and marketing stacks makes your head spin, that’s okay. Use it as a wake-up call that you need to make some changes. Consider what do you do that helps you get awareness for your business.
Here are some marketing stack questions to ask yourself:
- Are you making regular posts about your business on social media?
- Do you sprinkle those in with more engaging content that is not about your art?
- Do you use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest to advertise your work?
- Do you have a plan and are you working it, to grow your email list?
- Do you have an editorial calendar set to mail your posts, offers, and newsletters on a schedule?
- Do you have an outreach program to contact your warm market?
- Do you have a formal plan to market your art?
- Do you have multiple forms of distribution, such as your websites, galleries, online galleries, third-party dealers, and so forth?
- Do you use influencer marketing to promote you and your work?
All the questions above are related to your marketing stack. There are more things you could add such as shows, fairs, publishing, licensing and more. As a solopreneur, which describes most artists, it’s a nearly impossible task to get all those plates spinning while still finding time to work on making your art. It’s no wonder then that many artists fall back to relying on the one or two things that seem to bring the best results. That is just human nature.
So, now here I come and suggest you engage in a new form of marketing. Don’t hang me. I’m just the messenger. I get how frustrating it can feel to have more advice about the next new thing heaped upon you. You may not realize it, but my career is much like yours. I make things and then try to find people who want to buy them from me. I find my marketing stack is out of order on a frequent basis.
All that said, I want to encourage you to find time to embrace using influencer marketing. That’s because I believe if done well it will give you a return on investment of your time and energy that is greater than just about anything else you can do. Plus, it’s something you can get someone else to do for you. There is almost nothing about it that requires your input. Maybe show up for a podcast, an online interview, or a phone call. The rest can be done by anyone willing to learn how to work the system.
This post in the Coschedule blog: How to Boost Engagement with Micro-Influencers the Right Way inspired me. It is an in-depth review of how to use micro-influencers to advance your cause. They are only different because they have smaller followings that mega-influencers. You can do very well with them micro crowd.
The above article is well written and most useful. It lays out in detail what you need to do to get an influencer marketing program started. You could just read it and be ready. If you want more help or need to know more, keep reading.
Here are some other useful posts to help you get started with influencer marketing:
- How to Get the Most Out of Influencer Marketing
- What is Influencer Marketing?
- Why Influencer Marketing Will Explode In 2017
- The Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting
- Influencer Marketing on Social Media: Everything You Need to Know
- Influencer Marketing Is Becoming an Essential Business Strategy (Survey)
- Micro-Influencers Are More Effective with Marketing Campaigns Than Highly Popular Accounts
If anything, I believe the concept of micro-influencers is the right path for artists to take. It will be much easier to get someone at this level to show interest and act than those who have massive followers. However, if you do find a fit amongst a mega-influencer, don’t be shy about taking your best shot. There is little cost and no downside other than time to trying.
Find a way to move micro-influencer marketing up in your marketing stack. I am confident when you do it will pay off in rich rewards for you. And, there is a herd mentality in media. It’s much easier to have success once you have broken through and can show results.
Good luck and go for it!