“Growing an online presence is important, but let’s get real about influence. Presence does not equal influence. Presence can be measured in social media followings. Influence can’t.”
― Martha Giffen, owner of Best Kind Marketing, LLC
You’ve probably heard quite a bit about influencer marketing by now; between the controversy of its effectiveness and Google’s purchase of influencer platform, FameBit, and even a CBS 60 Minutes special, it’s everywhere.
But there are still many who are on the fence. In a recent gShift survey, 250 participants were asked if they use influencer marketing; 60 percent indicated that they do not leverage the practice yet.
Despite the fact that most every marketing budget today accounts for content marketing and SEO efforts, influencer marketing is still neglected by many brands even though the process amplifies both strategies.
That’s right – influencer marketing is an SEO goldmine and an extremely cost effective one, at that.
Let’s dive in and explore how leveraging today’s social superstars can give your company a big boost in the SERPs and why you should hop onto this epic bandwagon.
Most digital marketing campaigns today revolve around content. Content is at the core of delivering an effective message that resonates with consumers.
Once content has been crafted, it is backed and promoted through e-mail blasts, PPC ads, social shares, and a variety of other techniques. The problem is, more times than not, targeted materials don’t reach a fraction of the audience they were intended for. Most materials are produced, thrown into an endless sea of content, and quietly fade into obscurity.
Even some of today’s most recognizable brands have trouble reaching their audiences. For example, Coca Cola’s engagement rate on social media is approximately one percent. Ouch.
By throwing influencers into the mix, however, targeted content gains a much more significant and engaging platform to be shared. And leveraging influencers often opens a brand up to entirely new and relevant audiences that didn’t know the company existed.
What does this have to do with SEO?
When influencers share a company’s message or content, they effectively lend credence to a brand. Those that receive the message essentially create a domino effect of conversations and shares that can raise an organization’s seat in the SERPs; when there is a lot of buzz around a piece of content, search engines take this into consideration when prioritizing results.
But that doesn’t mean seeking out bigger influencers is always better. One of the most prolific television personalities today, Jimmy Fallon, gets crushed in engagement from smaller influencers.
This shows that influencer followings are highly-devoted and will engage and share content on a level that is unprecedented; all it takes is the right partners.
A Backlink Bonanza
Ask professional SEOs in the game what the most challenging part of their job is, and most will say that it is link building.
Link building, a SEO must, has changed a lot over the years and has become demanding. Google’s Penguin algorithm has ensured that backlinks must be of the highest quality. And influencers must meet Google’s strict criteria too.
By recruiting influencers within your industry, you gain the ability to drum up relevant and reputable links in a variety of ways. Influencers can backlink to your content or site by:
The important thing to keep in mind is that any sponsored content that influencers create for a brand that has provided them monetary compensation is viewed as a “paid link” and will not be attributed to your SEO ranking.
In this case, it can be optimal to seek out smaller influencers on Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube that will create backlinks in exchange for discounts, free products, etc.
This is possibly the most beneficial SEO-related reason to leverage influencers. Above content prioritization and beyond backlinks, social authorities have the ability to drive massive amounts of organic traffic to a website.
When influencers are utilized for creating branded content, they are often driving visitors to the brand’s website with the intention of making a purchase. Granted that your campaign generated a significant number of sales and a fair amount of reviews on those purchases, Google will then see that your website is a trustworthy and popular destination, giving your site precedence over others in the rankings.
When your site is able to make it to the first page of the SERPs, then the organic traffic really starts to flow.
Your Competitors Know This Too
Influencer marketing is no “industry secret.” Most anyone who is involved with marketing in some way is aware of the modality, and the innovative ones dove in years ago.
If your competitors begin to garner even a halfway decent influencer campaign before you, they are going to start crushing you in the SERPs, in awareness, and in sales.
If all of this is not enough to convince you that influencer marketing is worth exploring, do a Google search to see the immense results that have been produced through the practice. Look at Google directly and how it has entered into the influencer marketing arena. If you choose to ignore this discipline, you have a far greater chance of getting lost in the already oppressive, and increasing, noise of the digital world.
Are you ready to dive into influencer marketing? If not, what is holding you back?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.