Influencer marketing utilizes the power of individual authorities within a segment to increase brand awareness and build relationships with consumers. This still-forming type of marketing thrives on social media, where well-known influencers have thousands of followers to communicate with on a constant basis.
In a recent competition hosted by Raynforest , a social influence marketing technology company, the High Point Market Style Spotters  program finished in second place. The Style Spotters campaign, created by Greensboro, NC-based marketing firm Emisare, enlisted well-known and active design bloggers like Tobi Fairley and Michelle Jennings Wiebe to seek out their favorite new products at the market, post them to special Pinterest boards and encourage their followers to vote for their favorites. The fall 2013 market showed an increase in registrations due in part to greater designer participation as a direct result of this campaign.
We spoke to Scott Williams, President of Emisare , about how lighting retailers can implement some influencer marketing techniques in their local markets. Here are a few takeaway tips to get you started:
Decide what your end goal is. Is it just to increase sales? If so, influencer marketing isn’t the best tool. “We look at influencer marketing as something more organic, mutually beneficial and longer-term,” Williams says. ”Paid sponsorship-type of things would be better for a showroom just wanting to increase sales.”
Gain an understanding of the market or segment that you want to reach and develop a list of eight to 12 influencers. “Turn to industry publications, social media or even industry associations to find out who these people are,” Williams says. Programs like Klout, Kred, Tintup and Social Mention can be helpful when trying to identify influencers in your target market.
Once you settle on a list of influencers, initiate relationships. “Don’t e-mail and say, ‘Here’s what I want,’” Williams says. “I start following these people on social media, retweeting them, asking questions, etc. That’s the beginning of a relationship because they’ll be aware of your engagement.”