There is no bigger digital marketing tactic today than influencer marketing. Especially when it comes to bars & restaurants, liquor brands, niche food items and the like. The biggest misconception with influencer marketing is that influencers and experts are one in the same. This is not always the case.
An industry expert has training, experience and expertise (hence the name expert) within a certain industry. While an influencer may have some of the same pedigree, expertise is not a requirement to be an influencer. An influencer is someone with a community and a following that is able to sway the opinions of others and the market. Key point to remember here: an expert has expertise, an influencer sways (influences) opinions.
Every brand has influencers available to them. Every company, if you are doing something right, has people who like what they products or services they provide. If your brand receives and referrals — where do you think they come from? Referrals begin with your most basic group of influencers.
Influencer Marketing is not new, it’s just easier today. Social media has made it easy for brands to engage and identify influencers. Here are some steps to identify people who can influence your market:
• Who engages with your social media posts? If people comment and share your content it is a good idea to reach out to them, thank them and perhaps offer them an incentive to champion your business.
• Are there Facebook groups and communities where people voice opinions with one another? Of course there are tons of groups that discuss the F&B industry, and more importantly your brand. How tuned in are you to these groups? A little engagement with these individuals can be vital to brings the masses to your business. Listen, learn and be helpful — do not react.
• Recognize people who influences brands that compliment your brand, products and services. Seize any opportunities to engage these people and give them the opportunity to reach a larger group and grow their brand, while helping your business.
Start slow and small. Review, refine and repeat your influencer marketing program. Some influencers may require compensation others recognition. Either way you choose to proceed know that influencers use their reach for many different reasons. Please, do not be naive to this fact.
Since the beginning of time, the quickest way to grow a community is by engaging other people. This is no different than growing any other community. The rules may be slightly different in the game, but as always, engaging people and being human will take you place.