Earlier this week, Google released a statement outlining the best practices for bloggers who review or endorse products they have received from companies. This caused a bit of a stir in the influencer marketing world, leaving concerns over the ability to use influencers to gain backlinks.
Here is the hard truth; Influencer marketing is not primarily a backlinking method.
Like everything else in marketing and advertising, influencer marketing has been exploited as a possible short cut to big results.Unfortunately, many organizations have taken the approach of simply buying links on a blogger’s site or social accounts, focusing too much on receiving “link juice” from influencer content. Rather, brands should be working with influencers to create compelling and genuine content. This has led to the need for Google to step in and layout guidelines for using “nofollow” links and encouraging clearly endorsed content as it comes more naturally.
So What is Influencer Marketing Used For?
Using Influencers for SEO and Brand Awareness
Influencer marketing can be used to support your marketing strategy on multiple levels. For starters, if a boost in SEO is what you are looking for, it can be done by leveraging influencer content without generating backlinks. Simply start treating your influencers’ content like an extension of your own. If their post is ranking for your keywords, this is a good thing. It means content related to your brand is ranking for your desired keywords. This builds visibility within your audience and brand awareness by extension.
Furthermore, if you are able to enable influencers to distribute relevant content their audience read, like and share, you will help to build their authority and your’s by association.
Lead Generation with Influencer Marketing
When used for as lead generation, influencer marketing can help build contacts and sales. This can be accomplished with the use of a variety of initiatives including contests and giveaways or through the distribution of gated content on an influencer’s website. The key with lead generation through influencers is to ensure there is value in the offering you are passing along to the influencer’s audience. Work with your influencers to identify what would most interest their readers.
Audience Development Using Influential Targeted Audience Members
Audience development is another valuable outcome of influencer marketing. Influencers have the ability to get your message into new segments of your target audience. The thing is, you may be developing your audience long before they hit your website, within the Dark Funnel, and you don’t even know about it. New prospects engaging in content created by you or your influencers and developing themselves as your audience, and you don’t even know it.
While influencer content may not or should not provide crawlable backlinks according to Google, there are many wins to take away from adding this strategy to your marketing mix. If you are using Influencer Marketing now, or are thinking of adding it to your mix, be very clear about the goals you hope to achieve through influencers. Build your plan accordingly and be prepared to measure the successes to justify your efforts.