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Here’s How to Keep Up with Current Influencer Marketing Trends

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To keep your social media marketing fresh, success often goes back to those old adages of brand loyalty, trust and word-of-mouth marketing — but in a new way. Here’s how:

  • Authenticity still reigns supreme in reaching customers and gaining followers, especially now. COVID-19’s shutdown opened the door for smart marketers and influencers to entertain and engage followers in surprising ways that didn’t require huge investments. 
  • Who is an effective social media influencer for your organization? You might find effective communicators right in your own ranks. Think small as you test the waters, but be ready to go big.      
  • Study what works. Know your numbers, SEO, meta data and keywords. Get granular with your results, and review them regularly. Google and all your social media platforms provide analytics that you need to dissect monthly so you understand what is working and why. And, why not. 

COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to look behind the curtain and understand the simplicity of authenticity and why it works. For example, Tim Tiller, security guard at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, took over the social media accounts when the museum was forced to close like everyone else last March. 

Tiller was an essential employee and had to absorb the social media duties. His awkward attempts were funny and charming. We could all identify with his struggle because we all wore multiple hats in the past year.

NPR noted that Tiller’s posts were most effective in building an audience with more than 275,000 Twitter followers and nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram and Facebook, respectively.   

This is an example of someone who caught our attention, influenced us and gave us a look inside a museum that we might never have heard of. Keep in mind: It was closed while he was building the audience. Tiller became a social influencer and celebrity of sorts all due to social media. 

Who are your influencers?

According to Ad Age, consumers trust social influencers. Influencer marketing follows along the old concept of celebrity endorsements, but with a modern social media twist that doesn’t require the celebrity moniker or the megastar cost. 

It can be a blogger with a great following. In fact, influencers with smaller followings are often more trustworthy to consumers according to An Advertising Age survey

That’s why marketers categorize influencers by how many followers they have, according to business2community. Nano influencers have 1,000 to 10,000 followers; micro influencers have 10,000-100,000 followers; macro influencers have 100,000 to 1 million followers and mega/celebrity influencers have more than 1 million followers. 

So think about it. We all know nano influencers, and they are pretty important to us. We trust a friend or family member’s review of a recipe, restaurant, hotel or vacation spot, right?  Travel is among the top five categories that use social influencers in marketing, and stats are everywhere in support of using social media and influencers to promote our products.

Websitebuilder.org reports that “86% of women prefer to use social media for purchasing advice,” according to source Digital Marketing Institute. Women are often the schedulers and decision makers when it comes to travel. And when we consider how often all of us use our phones to access reviews of locations while traveling, digital marketing and social influencers are important to destination marketing.     

Forbes and businessinsider.com say that social influencer marketing has been growing for more than a decade, and the industry is projected to be worth $15 billion by 2022. The consensus is that Instagram is the leading social media of choice, but Pinterest, Facebook, Tik Tok, YouTube and other social media platforms have many self-made influencers.

As in the Cowboy Museum example, an employee, friend of a brand and seasoned expert with a nano following are real people who can be a brand’s best influencers. 

The price is right 

If you think social influencers are too expensive for your budget, think again. Maybe a regional blogger, travel writer or musician, for example, has traveled to your destination and sent others to visit their favorite attractions for years. This happens everywhere, and now might be the time to arrange a social media partnership that doesn’t always include monetary compensation, according to research and statistics

Some influencers may charge hundreds of dollars for postings and others charge more, but you need to have some goals in mind and some research on hand regarding who will deliver the audience you want. For that, you need to study your site and social media stats. Then find the influencer who will bring the right demographic through your doors. 

How does it work? 

Learn more about influencers with a personal approach. You can sign up for a free Zoom webinar, “Influencers” Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word to DMOs, on May 25 at 3:30 p.m. 

In this webinar Bull Moose Marketing’s VP of Client Strategies (and former Carnival Cruise brand ambassador) Ron Mattocks will be talking with niche travel blogger Hannah Brenner from HannahRoseWild.com to discuss how you can add influencers to your heritage and cultural tourism marketing efforts.

You’ll also learn more about why and how to select and use influencers along with structuring a program and identifying metrics. There’s more. Find out what influencers have to say about these programs and what makes them successful. 

This is uncharted waters for a lot of us. I know I’ll be Zooming in. Before you check out the meeting, you can learn more about social media trends and how to market your destination in 2021 and beyond at Phocuswire and Influence Marketing Hub.

Pam Parker
Pam Parker is an award-winning reporter and editor from Gannett's Erie Times-News who recently retired and is now a project manager at the Erie County Historical Society - Hagen History Center in Erie. She has worked in marketing and publishing most of her life and had careers as an account executive and media director for multiple ad agencies. She has also been a freelance writer who has written about homes, women’s issues, hard news and in-depth features. She is a proud wife, mom/stepmom of six, GramPam to seven and a wicked-good tennis player.

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