Influencer marketing has existed for decades. Using celebrity endorsements to improve brand image and revenues is commonplace. But influencers aren’t just celebrities. They’re individuals who offer knowledge, inspiration or entertainment in a specific niche or area. Naturally, these ‘individuals’ amass followings of thousands – even millions – and can have a serious impact on their respective areas of expertise. Influencer marketing is simply leveraging their reputation to benefit your brand.
More so now than ever, consumers are looking to fellow consumers for insight – not companies. Because influencers are often consumers, their views are regarded more highly than self-promotion from brands themselves. The cost of using influencers, consequently, is far lower than traditional costly celebrity endorsements.
Travel and tourism are both areas that are dominated by a large number of influencers who each have a profound effect on their followers’ views and decisions. But how are influencers relevant to you and – more importantly – how can you use them to grow your brand online? Stay tuned as we explore the exciting new world of influencer marketing in travel and tourism.
What Makes An ‘Influential’ Influencer?
Influential influencers are individuals who offer value and insight to an engaged, industry-specific audience. But there are a few signs that an influencer is truly worth their salt:
- They’re engaging – Check their website and social media pages to see shares, comments, likes, and overall reach
- They’re active – Across web channels, ensure your influencer is active, providing content and insights, engaging directly with their audiences, and sharing content from other influential brands/individuals
- They’re an authority – Do they actually have a unique perspective or experience in your industry? ‘Influencers’ who simply re-share old content are naturally less effective
- They’re relevant – The right influencer for your brand should be as relevant and similar as possible to your brand to ensure engagement with the right audience
The likes of Paul Johnson (luxury travel), Jeane Beena (food and travel) and JD Andrews (adventure travel) are all examples of influencers within travel who have a large, engaged following within their respective niches.
Locating The Right Influencers
Obviously, the most important step. A great way to do this is to analyse your brand’s existing audience. Who are they following on social media? What authorities in your industry influence them? You’ll start to notice trends in who people are listening to on social media.
When it comes to communicating with your ideal influencers, ensure that you’re informed of their style and their audience – and write a personalised message inviting them to collaborate. You could even start engaging with them on social media – sharing their content to start your relationship positively. After all, the relationship between your brand and your chosen influencer is one of mutual trust and interest, and starting on the right foot is important.
How Can Your Brand Benefit, Exactly?
There are a host of reasons why to use influencers in your marketing strategy. Doing so can increase your brand’s awareness, develop trust and prestige within your niche, increase web/social media traffic and create new sales leads and potential clients. There are certain approaches you can take in collaborating with your influencers – and each have unique benefits:
Recommendations – A simple favourable word from your influencer can have a positive effect on your brand’s reputation and traffic. The more specific, the better. If your influencer can recommend a certain product or service, the chance of direct conversions will naturally be higher.
Content-Sharing – Naturally, your brand will be producing content in the form of blogs, photos, videos, and more. Using your influencer to share said content is an easy way to bring in relevant traffic and expose relevant consumers to your hard.
Competitions – This is a great way to encourage engagement from your influencer’s audience. It can also be a unique way to encourage user-created content. Offer a relevant reward for the best entry – and your brand is likely to spread like wildfire amongst relevant audiences. Relevant ‘actions’ can range from a simple ‘share our page with the chance of winning x’ to ‘post a relevant image or video with the chance of winning x’.
Discounts – Have products or services to sell? Offering a time-sensitive discount on these and using your influencer to spread the word can be a powerful way to increase your sales and conversions.
Building relationships with influencers isn’t an overnight road to success. It takes time and experimentation to see what works – and what doesn’t. Keep trying out new tactics and understanding your audience, and influencer marketing will inevitably pay off for your travel or tourism brand in the long run.
Interested in learning more about influencer marketing, or need help starting out? Contact us. We’d be happy to help!