We live in a digital world – there’s no denying it. Everywhere we go, people are constantly looking at their Smartphones, adding pictures on Instagram, checking in on Facebook, or gathering followers on Twitter. We now interact with people and brands around us in a predominantly digital format, and the marketing world has also adapted to embrace the change. Gone are the days when people actually watched television, and paid attention to the adverts that popped up on their screens. The generation we are marketing to are the Netflix generation, the generation that uses Ad Block, and the generation that will try to keep marketers as far away from themselves as possible. All this has led to the popularity of Influencer Marketing. We’ve all heard the term before, but what exactly does it entail? Before we get into the details, let’s first answer the most important question – What is influencer marketing?
As the name suggests, this type of marketing relies on the use of certain influential personalities that function on a number of social networking sites. As a company, you can approach these influencers, and they will help promote your brand’s message and bring it to a wider audience. Influencers use their personal social channels, like their Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram feed, or YouTube site to spread your brand’s message. It is important to remember that while social media marketing and content marketing often fit inside influencer campaigns, they are not synonymous with each other.
Most of us are active on social media, but some people are more successful than others. While the average person may have around 200 followers on Twitter, a lady who uploads practical make up tutorials regularly is likely to have thousands of followers instead of a couple of hundred followers. The content that people create by themselves is what makes them popular on different social media platforms, and it’s important for brands to remember this when they approach a potential influencer. Approach somebody whose ideas and opinions are reflected in your brand’s messaging as part of your influencer marketing strategy, and give them the opportunity to create their own content about your brand. They are aware of what works on social media and what doesn’t, and they can help your brand reach a very wide audience. Sometimes, it’s better to pick an influencer with fewer followers, over an influencer who has more followers, but would generally not speak about your brand, or does not represent your brand values and message.
Importance of Influencers in Marketing
Over the last year, using influencers in marketing has become extremely popular, and with good reason. Here’s why you too should be adopting a marketing strategy that involves influencers:
1. Higher Retention Rate: Studies show that 92% of people trust recommendations that come from people over recommendations that come from brands. Even if people don’t know the person, they will trust their recommendation over a brand recommendation. A study by McKinsey also found that word-of-mouth marketing generated twice the sales of paid advertising, and those sales acquired through word-of-mouth promotion had a 37% higher retention rate.
2. The Power of Social: As individuals, we’ve all gone social, and now it’s time for your brand to follow suit. A report by Salesforce found that 70% of brands intend to increase their spending on social through the year. Via social media, you can engage with potential clients, and instead of talking at them, you can talk to them. Influencers are best placed to spark organic conversations and promote your brand amongst their followers.
3. Currently an Arbitrage: Currently, influence marketing is still a fairly new market, and it isn’t very expensive to get an influencer to tie up with your company. However, once this form of marketing gains more traction, it will definitely become more expensive as more and more brands compete to get influencers to work with them.
4. Doesn’t Interrupt User Experience: When you visit a web page, or watch a video on YouTube, you are forced to watch a short advert before you get to your intended web page or video, and this takes away from the overall user experience. Users are not likely to view your brand favourably, if your ads come in the way of what they want to achieve. This is where an influencer can come in. Influencers form a part of Native Advertising, which doesn’t interrupt consumer experience, instead, it adds to it. According to MDG Advertising, 70% of internet users would prefer to learn about a product through content as opposed to traditional advertising.
5. It’s Trackable and Targetable: As a brand, it’s important to know what is working for your company and what isn’t. Initially, it wasn’t very easy to understand who was viewing what advertisements, and what had a greater impact over a certain target audience. With the advent of social media and social marketing, all that has changed. Using influencers in your strategy gives you the chance to properly analyse the data. Every website visit, social like, and online picture can be stored, and later analysed to help you gain valuable insight into your target audience group and your advertising performance.
For a successful influencers marketing campaign, you need to understand that the influencers you approach are not simply digital platforms for you to feed data into, or buy with your brand’s message. They are actual people, creative people, who have an opinion that matters not only to them, but also to the people connecting with them over social media. Your influencers have the power to promote your brand in a positive way, and they can increase preference for your brand amongst their audience in the long run.