Digital Marketing Glossary: Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing is the latest buzzword in digital marketing circles the world over. Advertisers and clients are all agog because studies show that influencer marketing content provides a return on investment that is 11 times higher than traditional display ads and other online marketing efforts! But are you wondering if you should invest in influencer marketing and what exactly the hype is all about? We are here to demystify the term for you.
Influencer marketing is important for brands that wish to reach out to today’s audiences who reflexively skip traditional ads and have become almost immune to the efforts of in-your-face promotional material. 70% of millennials use recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues to purchase products. Men and women don’t only base their opinions on what the brands tell them; rather, they read blogs and check their social feeds to get a sense of what people are saying about a product or service they are considering buying.
As a brand, you can use this insight to your advantage and form valuable relationships with people whose passion and expertise lines up with your industry to promote your offering, with full disclosure via the ‘paid post’ or ‘paid partnership’ feature.
By partnering with a social-media influencer you get a chance to design an interesting campaign, seed original useful content, and engage in a meaningful way with the followers your influencer has built up over time. Their audiences are interested and likely to act on what they say because, over time, the influencer has created a valuable foundation by publishing valuable content that resonates with this (micro)mass of say 10,000 or 20,000 followers. As a brand, you can ride on the already-cultivated relationship your influencer has built to drive walk-ins to your store, increase product trials, push online sales, or just improve top of mind recall and brand awareness amongst potential customers who matter.
For instance, you may want to tie up with a lifestyle influencer on Instagram to showcase your new range of home linen in interesting ways, ask them to create a contest to drive user interactions on their page, and highlight a customized discount coupon or code that is only available as a response, to those who engage with the influencer on a given campaign.
And while global celebrities like Selena Gomez or Kim Kardashian make about $500,000 for every single Instagram post, you don’t necessarily need deep pockets to engage with your audience because non-celeb bloggers are more likely to inspire purchases. A Collective Bias survey found that non-celeb influencers were 10 times more likely to drive in-store purchases and 30% of consumers are inclined to trust regular folks who have built up a relationship of trust, over time.
Now, influencer marketing has been around in one form or the other for almost a decade, first, it was bloggers who became the go-to people for people interested in expert views and product reviews. Today it is the Instagrammers who weave in interesting stories around brands as part of their everyday work. Brands are very cognizant of this user behaviour towards unbiased information, and clients recognize the value inherent in social channels.
In a recent survey of 400 marketers, 64% of brands revealed that they ran more than 4 influencer marketing campaigns in 2017. And 63.6 % identified Facebook as a critical channel, followed by YouTube and Instagram with 48% and 46% viewing these platforms as important to their influencer strategy.
Therefore, they are tying up with influencers who have established a relationship with their followers in their niche, based on authentic reviews and knowledge about a given category.
Tying up with an influencer doesn’t necessarily mean glowingly positive reviews or a direct plug for your product or service, influencers must work very hard to not erode the equity they have built with their audiences or abuse their trust with false, paid-for reviews.
But, today, influencers have any number of creative strategies at their disposal to increase engagement with your brand with honest, authentic content and interesting campaigns that you can co-design with them, or with your digital marketing or creative agency in the mix.
Finding the right influencer for your brand can be challenging. But you can do your own research or hire a digital marketing agency like ours to use tools like BuzzSumo and Klout, to analyse the engagement scores of potential influencers, to help you narrow down your search and negotiate on your behalf. Seek out influencers with healthy engagement scores and organic likes, comments, shares on their content. And craft a win-win proposition by outlining certain benefits that the influencer gets in lieu of associating with your brand, in terms of shares, callbacks via your newsletter, or website, and build an ongoing connection with those who matter in your field for success over the longer term.
Do watch this space for more useful information on the latest digital marketing trends and do get in touch to learn more about the suite of digital marketing services we offer.
Preeti Prakash | Journalist