Marketing Executive, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).
Social media influencers and professional services marketing
Professional Services is often seen as a traditional sector, with little place for modern ‘trends’ like social media influencers. But perhaps it’s time to look again.
What is a social media influencer?
When you think of influencers, you may think about fashion, food and travel, not professional services. This 2019 blog lists 135 Instagram influencers, including people you may never have heard of. There’s no one on the list for law, accountancy or healthcare, but does that mean influencers in these industries don’t exist? Of course not!
One definition of an influencer is someone who has:
- the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.
- a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche.
When put like that, doubtless you can think of a number of people who are your industry’s influencers – though possibly not on Instagram!
Whoever and wherever your influencers are, with the right social media marketing strategy these people could help build your credibility and promote your business to a new audience. Indeed, around half of consumers said they had bought a product or service after seeing it used or promoted by an influencer in the past two years, according to one study.
What is influencer marketing?
One source defines this as “a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers – individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche”. This perceived expertise increases trust and social proof for your brand’s potential audience.
The important words to remember are - expertise, niche and trust.
Who talks about your subject and has an audience?
Are they thought leaders you follow on LinkedIn? Knowledge providers who are known as the ‘go to’ experts for accurate, relevant, authentic and timely advice? Respected peers who share industry updates on their preferred platform, be it Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube?
Do you want to become an influencer, or do you want to use an influencer to promote your business? Most influencers get paid in money or tangible ‘stuff’ such as free clothes or tickets for events. For professional services, who do not sell a product, you may consider trading in content instead.
For example, an industry-specific training provider with an online subscription-based model will always need new and innovative content. In turn, a professional services firm with a niche within that industry may already be producing videos, podcasts and news articles from their in-house team for their target audience. A collaborative arrangement could be reached between the two resulting in the firm creating exclusive content for the training provider: the content then reaches a potentially new audience through the training provider, who see it as valuable and trusted, and the industry-leading training provider (influencer), in turn, retains and grows their customer base by delivering more valuable content – a ‘win-win’ for both companies.
Does the connection fit with your brand?
If your aim is to demonstrate expertise and build trust in a niche area, it is important to consider each influencer relationship and ensure that it is consistent with your own brand and message. If you are sharing content, opinions and industry updates, be prepared to spend some time keeping up to date with research and news in your niche, as well as continuously engaging with your audience.
Cal Partners is an award-winning digital marketing agency who can help identify key influencers in your industry or opportunities to grow your reach in your niche. Contact us for a free initial discussion.