You may have heard of influencer targeting as part of your marketing strategy. Traditionally we would rely on the words of friends, family or any other opinion leader to help us make our purchase decisions, but with the rise of social media our ideas of opinion leaders have changed significantly over the past couple of years, ranging from your best friend to someone you’ve never met who just happens to have 2 million followers on Instagram. Consumers trust recommendations from a third party far more often than a brand itself, and it makes sense if you think about it: of course as a brand you’re going to say they're the best, but people don’t want to hear that from the the brand, they want to hear it from someone whose opinions they trust. That’s where influencers like bloggers come into play. When you partner with an influencer, not only do they bring their audience, but they also bring their audience’s network as well. Because of the loyalty of their audience, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, and flat-out sell your product through their recommendation or story about their experience with your brand. At the same time, information overload drives consumers to filter their choices down to those few who are most trusted, credible and meaningful. Becoming known as “the best answer” for your domain of expertise wields incredible influence on the social web. Take fashion and beauty bloggers for example. The influence these people have over their dedicated followers is staggering: British blogger Zoe Sugg (better known as "Zoella") started writing a blog in 2009 documenting her purchases (usually consisting of makeup and clothing) and giving her opinions on them. She has since carved out a loyal fanbase which is illustrated by her 3.26million Twitter followers and 8 million Youtube subscribers. This is absolutely phenomenal, especially compared to women's fashion and beauty magazine Glamour’s whose meagre 1.3million followers pales in comparison to the reach Zoella has. Imagine if you’re a seller of apparel and Zoe picks up an item from your store. She likes it enough to include it in one of her videos, singing its praises. Well congratulations, you now have the attention of 11 million people who hang on this girl’s every word. This is an extreme example of course, but it’s not totally out of the question. There are thousands of bloggers in the UK, many of whom may be influencers of your target audience, and who may be willing to promote or your product. Yes, some might want money in return for things like banner ads and promoted videos/posts (which require the blogger to disclose that the post is promoted i.e paid for), but there are still plenty who are likely to mention your products in their content if you send them a free sample, which is still great exposure. Harnessing the influence of bloggers and other opinion leaders could have a major impact on your marketing and boost sales as a result. It’s time to start building relationships with these people if you want to start tapping into their customer bases. Monitor social media trends within your niche and scope out those with the most followers, contact them and offer samples of your product and service - whatever it takes to get them talking about you and promoting your business. Need an inventory management software? Try Veeqo.com!