Just as your friends and neighbors have input into some of the goods and services you buy, influencers can be just as meaningful—especially if they have authentic experiences to share. This is also the reason that review sites are so popular, as the public flocks to them to get opinions on what to buy, where to travel, where to eat, what physicians and audiologists to see, which home service companies to hire, and which companies to avoid. Social media reviews can make or break a business and, once they turn negative, it takes significant time to effectively turn them around.
Influencers are not just young millennials promoting lifestyle and fashion. They are a variety of ages and demographics, covering a variety of interests. There are growing numbers of “mommy bloggers”—mothers with children looking for recommendations on places to visit, events for children, restaurants, movies, etc. They also write on medical conditions and provide tips for families.
There are “daddy bloggers,” who write on their experiences and recommendations. They provide tips for readers, as well. Some of these can have 500,000 or more followers—meaning your message could be seen by more readers than any other media platform. The American Academy of Audiology has had numerous columns on children’s hearing health in Fatherly, a guide for fathers raising children.
The best marketing opportunities are with anyone who can provide a third-party endorsement of products or services. Even paid influencers have more credibility than a self-promotion. Some influencers ask to be paid or will trade goods or services in lieu of payment. Other influencers will post information if it is for the public good. For instance, if you invite a local influencer to come to your office and experience (and write about) a hearing test, they may write up the story without pay since it is a story for the public good.
If they expect to be paid (for many, this is their sole source of income), check on how many followers they have and how much engagement they have on social media. Ask how many times they’ll post information, what they’ll post and to what social media channels. Also ask if the content will remain on the site. Some influencers have websites, and after they post content to social media, their blog, and website, they’ll archive the info on their website.
If you use an influencer who is paid, make sure you have your own social media channels set up in advance and make sure you have some followers before you enlist an influencer. Then, you’ll provide the influencer with all of your social media tags so that he or she will tag you and your social media sites as well.
Before You Enlist an Influencer
Before you enlist an influencer, first check to see his or her followers. You’ll need to know: how many followers, how much engagement (you can look at the social media sites to see this), and where the followers appear to be from. Some influencers have followers across the country and that likely doesn’t help you if they’re not in your geographic area. You can check by reading through social media comments. You can also ask the influencer. Large influencers actually have media kits that provide all of their metrics.
You should pay attention to the make-up of the audience and the types of posts of the influencers. For instance, unless you are promoting new styles/colors of hearing aids, you likely won’t get traction with a fashion influencer. There are influencers who test and promote gadgets and high-tech goods, and some will write on medical devices. If your goal is to reach families, parents, and children, “mommy bloggers” often have a great audience. They’re typically local and interested in hyper-local products and services.
A Facebook live and/or Instagram video of a hearing test or a hearing aid fitting—all could be great content to promote your product or your practice. In some markets, influencers have larger audiences than most local media outlets, including television.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lot of traction from one post. As with most marketing vehicles, it often takes more than one post to get attention and motivate a consumer to act. Consumers searching for an audiologist and/or purchasing hearing aids are often driven to act when they finally face the fact that the goods and services are needed. You’re building awareness that will pay off in the future when that consumer is looking for information and you’re also building word of mouth, one of the most important components for a great marketing campaign.
If you don’t know any influencers in your region, ask around. Ask your patients, neighbors, and friends if there are community influencers they follow. Look on social media sites. As mentioned prior, there are influencers of all age groups and interests. If you want to increase your visibility and also build your social media platforms, finding a strong influencer is a great way to go.