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Influencer marketing for the uninitiated

Munira Rangwala
2nd Jan 2017
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As our options are increasing, our attention spans are decreasing. Marketing experts are of the opinion that the best way to reach consumers today is by word-of-mouth. That is where influencer marketing comes in. An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect the thought process and purchase decisions of potential consumers. Influencers, with their outspoken attitude and knowledge of various events, build a strong relationship of trust with their peers, who look up to them and value their opinion.

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According to Leonard Kim, Managing Partner at InfluenceTree, like everything else in life, online influence won't happen overnight. You don't need to be specifically in advertising or digital marketing to be an influencer. You can work in your field and develop a strong online presence over time and become someone whose thoughts and opinions people look forward to reading.

Here are four quick steps on how you can build your stature as an influencer.

Establish yourself online

A lot of influencers believe that they need to be on all possible platforms to gain visibility and credibility. But that is far from the truth. Quantity is not the key here – quality is. Choose one or two platforms that you are most comfortable with and exploit them to your advantage. Your next step is to determine what you want to talk about. Just because you aren't charged for every post or tweet you upload, it doesn't mean you bombard your followers with an update every 10 minutes. Use your words sacredly.

Create shareable content

A lot of online influencers are starting their own blogs. Find your voice first, and once you've done that, begin by writing shareable content. Today, there is a lot of focus on being topical i.e. writing about events that have taken place in the last 24 hours. While that is a fair thing to do, an influencer must also write timeless content. Content that will resonate with his users on a gut level. While you're at it, go all out and be creative. Make videos, sketches, podcasts, and anything else to capture the fancy of your audience and keep them coming back for more.

Interact

An influencer MUST master the art of engaging with his audience. Nobody likes an individual who only talks about himself. Learn to listen to what your peers are saying. Read their comments on your blogs and your updates. Dedicate a part of your day to interact with your audience because if you don't, rest assured they will gradually unfollow you.

Understand what works

No job in the world is complete without its fair share of trial and error. Pay attention to what content of yours garners most attention. You need to understand your audience and create content that will rouse their need for knowledge. Not all the content that you create will go viral, but it needs to be worth sharing. If you find that your memes work best, focus on making more of those. But don't get stuck in a box. Failure is inevitable. Don't let it stop you from trying new things.

Influencers are a boon to any organisation, especially a startup. If a startup can associate with a few outside influencers or cultivate one or two within the organisation, it would give the company a jump-start and kick-off their growth.

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