In recent years, influencer marketing has been taking off. As a newer form of marketing, it is important that manufacturers use influencer marketing as a part of their strategy. In a recent USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter, host, Chris Giglio from Rovere Media, led a discussion on this topic.
Is Influencer Marketing Relevant to Manufacturers?
The chat kicked off with participants discussing why influencer marketing is becoming relevant in the manufacturing sector.
Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online said, “Reaching a wider audience of those who have built relevant followers, can help to build your audience and get your message across.”
Susannah Scheller from Capri Temporary Housing said, “Many of the primary concepts marketing apply across every industry, so what works in one industry often works in another with the right amount of adjustment. As influencers have become more popular, their usefulness in marketing has grown too.”
Host, Giglio replied, “Agreed, influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the most effective and sought after strategies.”
Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing said, “Influencer marketing is becoming relevant in the manufacturing sector because it helps businesses reach their target audience easily and effectively. Influencers already have a loyal following, so their recommendations carry a lot of weight. Manufacturers can maximize this to showcase their products, explain their usage, demonstrate their quality, and highlight their benefits. Also, with the increasing usage of social media, influencer marketing provides an opportunity for manufacturers to expand their reach and increase brand visibility. It can also help in fostering trust and credibility among potential customers, thus boosting sales. It provides a more personal, relatable, and authentic form of advertising.”
Amy Anderson added, “The first job of marketing is to make folks aware of your product. Influencers have access to lots of folks. And if you have an influencer in your niche sharing your product with folks in your niche so much the better. Yet, influencers often can reach others too!”
Scheller replied, “Well said! It's a great way of taking marketing and networking and combining the two practices (although some may say that networking is a sub-category of marketing, so they might be considered combined anyway!)”
Felix P. Nater from Nater Associates said, “Sharing of related experiences particularly from those in the manufacturing consulting markets serve as a sounding board to evaluate effectiveness.”
Host, Giglio said, “The manufacturing industry, like any other, relies on trust and credibility. Influencers, particularly industry experts, bring with them a built-in audience that values their opinions. Collaborating with these influencers can help manufacturers reach a wider audience, increase brand awareness, and build trust.”
Identifying The Right Influencer
Participants went on to discuss how manufacturers identify the right influencers for their niche.
Rusine said, “Look for micro-influencers. Micro-influencers have a smaller following than macro-influencers, but they often have a more engaged audience. Micro-influencers are also more likely to be affordable to work with. Consider your budget. Influencer marketing campaigns can range in price from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Be realistic about your budget and choose influencers who fit within your price range.”
Scheller said, “Identifying the right influencer starts by identifying the demographic you want to reach. Once that has been identified, the best process is to see who that demographic is already listening to and then reach out to those influencers. Start with the audience.”
Anderson replied, “A universal communication cheat: Start with the audience.”
Packer said, “This is where you get the conversation going. Connect on LinkedIn and make a video call to discuss mutually beneficial opportunities. You could also contact an influencer agency.”
Nater said, “Identifying the right influencers must be any manufacturing firm's go to strategy to ensure those in key positions are intimately familiar with the business pros & cons. For me that means staying ahead of the competition and making me resourceful.”
Host, Giglio said, “Manufacturers should look for influencers who have a genuine connection or interest in the industry. Checking their previous content, audience engagement, and relevance can be key. Industry events, trade publications, and even LinkedIn can be great places to find thought leaders in the manufacturing space.”
The participants in the chat were asked if there were any potential risks involved with influencer marketing in manufacturing.
Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc. said, “My guess is you really need to check that person out. What if they're a phony? I made this quote, "Just because someone is an influencer, does not mean they are a good influence."”
Host, Giglio replied, “We've definitely all seen that happen plenty of times in other industries and pop culture! You don't want to be on the wrong side of a YouTube apology”
Austin replied back, “For that ... but you're right, not that I'm even a prude but my goodness some of the adults that are leaders & celebrities that young kids gravitate towards.”
Scheller replied, “Preach! Influencer vetting is the most important part of the process.”
Rusine said, “Yes, there are. Inauthenticity, Lack of control, Negative backlash, Cost”
Scheller said, “There are always risks involved in any kind of marketing and business venture. But perhaps the biggest risks come from influencers who haven't been properly assessed before being approached. E. G., working with someone whose audience doesn't typically buy.”
Packer said, “Anyone remember Bud light? Always check who the influencer is and what they represent. Check who follows them. Your focus should be on the customer and the product, anything else is superfluous. For B2B use B2B influencers, better still use niche.”
Rusine replied, “Agreed! It's important to research influencers before partnering with them to make sure their values align with your own”
Nater said, “Those with questionable dispositions could influence their reputations, and access insider information that translates to theft of intellectual property and proprietary information. Understanding risk is important to understanding the potential long-term decisions associated with influence marketing. Many questions must be asked in understanding impact on an organization’s ability to understand the business strategy and objectives.”
Host, Giglio said “Absolutely. Like any marketing strategy, there are potential pitfalls. These could include partnering with influencers who don’t truly align with the brand, not setting clear expectations, or facing negative publicity if an influencer behaves poorly or provides inaccurate information. It's crucial to vet influencers thoroughly and set clear collaboration guidelines.”
The chat then discussed how to measure the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign in manufacturing.
Scheller said, “I don't have much experience in ROI in Manufacturing specifically, so I'm not sure I have much to say on this topic. But perhaps it's similar to how other industries do this?”
Rusine said, “We can think of a few. Reach: How many people saw the influencer's content about your product or service? Engagement: How many people interacted with the influencer's content about your product or service (e.g., likes, comments, shares)? Website traffic: How much traffic did the influencer generate to your website?”
Host, Giglio replied, “Exactly! That's why modern digital marketing is so great, you know without a doubt how well a campaign is doing. You just have to make sure the influencer is sharing those results with you and didn't lie about their reach.”
Rusine replied back, “With all the technology and analytics available, we can find out if we have a significant ROI from influencers.”
Packer said, “What were the KPIs you set before you started? How many liked their post? How many shared their post? How many followed you? Also spend time reading the comments and recording them. You will find insights to your potential customers in the comments.”
Host, Giglio replied, “Love that last point Nigel! Comment sections can offer a lot of insight into your audience. They can be a rough place, but its best to go in with an open mind and make sure you look past the unhelpful toxic comments.”
Host, Giglio said “Metrics to consider include increased website traffic, engagement rates (likes, comments, shares), lead generation, and sales conversions attributed to the campaign. Using tracking codes or dedicated landing pages for influencer campaigns can also help in measuring the direct impact.”
Who Can Benefit from Influencer Marketing
Next, participants shared if they think small manufacturing firms can benefit from influencer marketing, or just the big players.
Scheller said, “Anyone can benefit from influencer marketing, as long as it is done correctly. The most important thing about marketing is to never do it in isolation, so having other strategies working in tandem with the influencer is important.”
Ausitin said, “Small Manufacturers absolutely can benefit from influencer marketing. Contrary to popular belief, bigger is not always better.”
Rusine said, “Yes, small manufacturing firms can also benefit from influencer marketing. In fact, influencer marketing can be a very effective way for small businesses to reach their target audience and promote their products or services. As long as proper communication and collaboration are done, this marketing strategy can be beneficial to SMBs in the manufacturing industry. “
Neil Hussey from Denco Lubrication Ltd said, “small firms can benefit from “Micro” influencers, it won’t cost you as much but you need to make sure that their audience is relevant to you.”
Nater said, “I find this a strange question. As a group, all those who join in each week are influencers to the wider combined audience. If each of us share a post from each other once a day we will all reach much wider audiences. Our conversations are also read by far more than are in the group. 1% create the posts 9% comment and share the 1% 90% mostly read and occasionally comment and share. Be the creator and the 9%.”
Host, Giglio said “Small manufacturers can indeed benefit! In fact, they might find more success working with micro-influencers who have a smaller, but highly engaged audience. This can be more cost-effective and often results in a more genuine connection and engagement.”
Lastly, the the chat had a discussion on how manufacturers can maintain authenticity when working with influencers.
Packer said, “Monitoring and being there when the influencer posts their content. You are able to respond to any queries live.”
Scheller said, “Start by establishing a genuine relationship with the influencer. If the influencer is working WITH you instead of FOR you, it becomes a whole different ball game and authenticity is almost guaranteed. Relationships matter.”
Rusine said, “Choose the right influencers. Give them creative freedom. Be transparent. Monitor their activity. Educate and learn with and from them. Maintain relationships with them. Be respectful. Be patient.”
Host, Giglio said “Authenticity is key. Manufacturers should ensure that collaborations are genuine and that influencers have real freedom to share their own perspectives. Instead of scripted messages, influencers should be encouraged to share their true experiences and insights about the product or service. This resonates better with audiences.”
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