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The term “influencer” has been generating more and more buzz as the years have passed and for good reason; 59% of marketers will increase influencer marketing budgets in 2016 (Social Media Today). Why? Because promoting your dispensary through key social leaders of influence is effective and powerful.
Influencer marketing campaigns are partnerships with people or brands of influence or social currency who have their own highly engaged following. In identifying these influencers you are able to act on the opportunity to promote your brand or products to their personal network. The art is finding key leaders whose audience is one that you’d like to interact with. It’s this positioning that allows you to reach a new audience or group of people.
Why? Because on average, engagement rates from influencer marketing are 16x higher than with paid media (Visually). When you see an ad, that’s an impression. But when you have a friend or a person you look up to, tell you about a product – You’re listening much more intently. 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals, even if they don’t personally know them, over brands (Nielsen). It’s this idea of 3rd party validation and promotion that makes influencer marketing so successful. When targeting the right audiences and securing partnerships with the right influencers, it’s incredibly effective. So much so that every year brands are increasing their ad spend on content and influencer marketing. It’s time that your dispensary did too.
First, you’ll need to identify quality influencers whose base of followers include people you want to engage. Rank them in order of importance and relevance. From there, you can decide between a few different strategies:
The real art to influencer marketing is aligning yourself with the right people. When starting the process, we’d advise you to first go through the following steps in narrowing your focus.
When identifying influencers, you’ll typically work backward by first thinking of your target audience. Who are they and where are they spending time? Who do they look up to? What are they reading? What topics do they like? By answering these questions, you’ll be on your way to discovering your target audience in a particular influencer’s follower base.
“True influence drives action, not just awareness” (Jay Baer). To this point, not all influencers are created equally. Even if you identify an influencer who has 500K followers, that does not necessarily mean that working with them is going to benefit you. There are some other attributes to look at when securing influencers to market your dispensary:
Context is the most important characteristic to consider when choosing influencers. We’ve mentioned this now a few times, but we’ll emphasize it once more. Yes, a key interest of yours may, in fact, have a huge influence and an engaged following, but is their following relevant to your target demographic? Make sure you’re able to answer with a resounding ‘yes’ to this question before moving forward or else it’s time and money wasted.
Once you have pre-qualified an influencer for contextual fit, next up is considering their reach. How extensive is their network? What social platforms are they using and are those channels where you’d find your customer? If you work with this influencer, how far will your message go? How many people will it reach? Professional influencers will typically include media kits with these metrics. However, make sure to conduct your own research as well.
And lastly, you want to identify influencers who have cultivated an engaged following. Are they commenting? Are they buying the products they’re promoting? You want to work with influencers who have a loyal, dedicated following.
There are many benefits of monitoring mentions of your brand, dispensary, and/or products. One of the benefits is discovering brand advocates you didn’t even know you had. Are there people already talking about you and advocating for you? Below, we’ll offer you a few research methods to do this.
Are there unique hashtags you promote for your dispensary? If so, when was the last time you checked to see if there was anyone using them? Start with this and then also brainstorm any variations of your dispensary name to see if influencers may be tagging you.
Google allows you to set-up alerts of your dispensary online. Again, you also want to include any variations that customers and influencers may possibly be using.
There are a variety of social mention services out there if you’re interested in being notified of any mentions of your brand. This is typically a bit more comprehensive than what Google offers.
86% of influencers are typically operating a blog of some kind so this is a good place to start your search for influencers. By researching bloggers in your target niche, you will discover content and also gain a better understanding of their ‘voice’ and identity as a blogger. Is this influencer a good fit for you? In addition, if they are a blogger, you can even ask for a media kit to get a better understanding of their stats and engagement.
Let’s work through your questions regarding compensation for the influencers you’re working with for your campaigns. First of all, compensation is not only limited to a dollar amount. There are other ways you can compensate your influencers.
We’ve spoken a lot about influencers and engaging in larger, often paid, campaigns. But what about your other customers? Though they may not have extensive networks or pretty Instagram feeds, they still have mini networks of their own. So, how do you engage these types of customers? By encouraging them to create their own content! Below, are a few ideas: