Most marketeers consider the use of social influencers decisive for a fruitful marketing strategy. One way or another, influencers do get paid for their help though. The more influential your Instagram star is, the more it will cost you. Smaller and even medium-sized companies often simply don’t have the budget to hire these influencers. Yet influencer marketing is still possible if your company lacks the budget to pay influencers; we call this method organic influencer marketing.
Influencers do blog, post or vlog about brands without getting paid for it, as long as they are honestly convinced of a certain product or brand and think it fits their image. That sounds a lot like brand advocacy marketing and in a sense it is. Organic influencer marketing is actually a clever combination of brand advocacy and influencer marketing.
The difference between influencers and brand advocates
Influencers have a huge pressence on social media with tens of thousands or even millions of followers. One of the most important characteristics of an influencer is that people consider him or her an authority within a certain niche market. On the other hand, brand advocates are fans who passionately promote and defend certain products or brands on the internet. They do this for free but the problem is that they are not necessarily very influential.
But what if you can turn a social influencer into a brand advocate?
That is exactly what organic influencer marketing is. Organic influencer marketing is not only a low-cost solution, it’s also very genuine. If an influencer posts something about a brand, product or service simply because he or she honestly believes in it, the message will come across very authentic.
How to begin with organic influencer marketing?
The most important part of organic influencer marketing is finding the right influencer. The ideas, values and goals of the brand should align with those of the influencer.
To find this influencer you can use online monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Brandwatch Analytics or Mention. With these tools you can search for a specific brandname and find influencers who regularly participate in conversations in which the brand is mentioned (don’t forget to search the names of the competition too). You can as well search for specific topics. Enter a number of keywords and find influencers who regularly participate in conversations about these subjects.
Once you have found a few potential influencers you can further analyse them by setting up real-time alerts. When the influencer posts a message or someone mentions the influencer, you will immediately receive a notification. You can filter the messages by keywords and picture the interests of the influencer and his followers.
When you have found the ideal influencer, it is important to build a relationship. Share the influencer’s posts, interact with their content and participate in the same conversations. Besides that, try to make it a win-win situation and determine how the influencer can benefit. Consider free products or services, exclusive access to new features, invitations to events or giving scoops and providing samples of new products for reviews.
There is only one way to find out if the strategy actually works: measuring the return on investment (ROI). With the same tools to find influencers you can monitor the mentions of your brands name and see if people are talking more about your brand since the start of the campaign. Also analyse what kind of topics people associate your brand with. Look on which platforms these messages are posted and compare the online performance of your brand with the competition.
As you can see, organic influencer marketing is very time consuming. Once you manage to convince one or more influencers, the strategy will pay off. Organic influencer marketing contributes to a positive image of your brand and ensures daily interaction with the target group.