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Lately influencer marketing has been getting more air time, as more and more brands catch onto the fact that it’s no longer companies who tell consumers what to buy, but peers who influence each other—or influencers who set the tone for the masses. Here’s an indepth guide to leveraging influencer marketing tactics in your next video marketing campaign.

What is Influencer Marketing?

There are two kinds of influencer marketing. There’s the classic example, which is essentially earning the praise of a VIP who gives you a platform and an endorsement by being seen to like your product. Then there’s influencer marketing by volume: getting a number of lower-level influencers to all post about your product around the same time, which puts you out in the atmosphere in a way that says, “This product is popular among the kind of people who are similar to me.”

Classic influencer marketing is harder to obtain without big bucks or friends in high places, so a lot of brands have been opting for the latter type, and using social media and video to achieve strong results. It helps that video has a place on not just video-sharing platforms but of course Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and on and on.

A good example of high-volume influencer marketing was the #choosebeautiful campaign by Dove, which was shared by many, many of the people in its target demographic.

Why it Works

So why does influencer marketing work so well? A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising,” meaning we trust each other or our role models quite a bit more than we trust companies. Maybe it also has something to do with the “global-village” sense you get when you and your network are sharing a video or meme – it’s just a nice way to connect, and gives us a nice communal association with a particular brand or product.

Influencer marketing is also “native advertising,” meaning it happens seamlessly within the customer’s experience rather than interrupting their experience to push a product at them. (Think about the difference between a commercial break in a TV show versus a product placement.)

Having a personality advocate a product either directly or by being seen to be using it puts your brand into the story, and we assimilate that kind of information much more readily than when it’s a free-floating advertisement. As a result, this kind of digitally-enabled word-of-mouth marketing can produce 37% greater customer retention and twice the sales of paid advertising.

The “100 Robots Come to Life” video is a great example of classic influencer marketing, leveraging the celebrity and charisma of young performer Jordyn Jones to engage kids with STEM (and, yes, robots).

Who to Target

Okay so it works; but who are the influencers you should be targeting? This depends entirely on who your target audience follows, cares about, and listens to. Who are the trendsetters and thought leaders among your target segments? Look at numbers of social media followers, check their blog traffic, and pay attention to who your target audience is retweeting and sharing the most. Also consider which platforms your target audience is most active on, and who the leaders are on those particular platforms, because social sharing is the engine of influencer marketing.

How to Get Started

Once you decide whom to target, how do you actually get those VIPs on board and sharing your video, and, how do you reach a volume of shares that’s going to convince your target audience that you’re part of the zeitgeist?

1. Focus on their audience.

You’re likely to get better results if you prepare as if you’re pitching a story to a journalist, NOT like you’re trying to sell a product. How is sharing your video going to be valuable for your VIP’s audience?

2. Focus on their brand.

How is the video going to fit with and enhance their brand? Understand their brand before you pitch. If you have a specific VIP or influencer segment in mind, create your video with them in mind.

3. Ask for expertise.

If your video uses an interview of a VIP or uses quotes that you’ve solicited directly from them, they have a good reason to share it: they have some ownership in the project.

4. Highlight their work.

Create a video that is about particular people or a particular person, and highlights what they do in a positive way. This definitely gives them a reason to share!

5. Carry out a campaign.

If you have a video you want shared by a particular type of personality but not a specific person, you can systematically approach and pitch to a number of people and see who bites. The golden rule here is, don’t be annoying and don’t spam: tailor your approach to each person and be polite and grateful for their time, whether they help you or not.

Have an idea we haven’t included that you think we should? Let us know via Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted April 7, 2016

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