Think about the last time you bought a car. How did you decide on a particular make and model? What helped you choose the dealer or company you wanted to buy from? Whether you went online to read reviews and testimonials, asked a friend for their recommendation, or chose your new wheels based on what a celebrity drives, you participated in influencer marketing. Whether you’re working with an in-house creative agency or an influencer agency, with influencer marketing, the ability to create genuine buzz is the most important part.
What comes to mind when you hear the words “influencer marketing?” If it’s cute dogs in branded sweaters and YouTubers posing in athleisure wear, you’re only getting half the picture. Influencer marketing is about more than just huge social media followings and artfully-framed Instagram shots. According to Forbes, an influencer “is someone who has the power to influence the perception of others or get them to do something different.” In other words, an influencer draws positive attention to your product or service. Influencers can have small spheres of influence. These include your family and friends. They can have mid-level spheres, like local personalities and politicians. Or they can have large spheres of influence, such as celebrities.
It’s Nothing New
Though it’s gained buzzword notoriety since the rise of social media, influencer marketing has been a cornerstone of marketing services for years. From celebrities selling products to consumers’ increasing reliance on review websites (Yelp, Google Reviews), and even asking advice of friends and family, it’s a proven fact that we trust products and services that other people vouch for. In fact, Marketwatch claims that a single celebrity endorsement can lead to an instant 4% sales increase. And 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family over all other types of advertising.
Benefits of Influencer-Based Marketing
Influencer marketing is projected to be a $10 billion industry by 2020. And 67% of marketers believe that influencer marketing campaigns reach a more targeted audience with greater returns on investment. So what sets influencer marketing apart in a dynamic marketing strategy?
1.) Traditional Advertising is Becoming Less Effective
According to market research from various sources, the average modern person sees as many as 5,000 ads each day. This is information overwhelm. It has led many consumers to turn to ad blocking software. In fact, according to a new Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report, 26% of desktop users and 15% of mobile consumers use some sort of ad blocking technology. That’s right, some of those digital advertisements might not ever be seen by your target audiences.
Influencer marketing is an effective way to work around ad blocking software. This is because the marketing is part of the organic content. There is no pop-up interrupting the browsing experience. Rather, the potential consumer gets to see someone they already admire authentically interacting with the product or service. “Influencers humanize your ad,” says Benjamin Trinh, the Head of Influencer and Marketing Strategies for Postmates. “Let them do the work for you.”
2. ) Greater organic reach
Common sense says one of the best ways to create customer loyalty is to build trust. This includes trust between users and your brand. When you work with influencers, you’re benefiting from the relationships they’ve already built. This helps to create trust in your product or service. According to a 2016 Think with Google report 4 out of 10 millennials trust the opinions of their favorite YouTube creators more than their family and friends. Fortune Magazine reports, “People trust and identify with the celebrities they follow. This often means they’ll like the same brands favored by their favorite stars—as long as the brand aligns with the influencer’s lifestyle.”
This last point is important. Make sure your product truly fits with your influencer’s persona and lifestyle. According to a 2018 Forbes report: “49% of people feel as if some restrictions should be placed on the content that influencers are creating.” They attribute this to social media platforms that have become “cluttered with unnatural relationships and abrasive marketing strategies.” What does this mean? Getting a top tech influencer to rep your vegan protein bars might not be the best option. With the rise in marketing literacy and skepticism from today’s consumers, it’s more important than ever to focus on finding genuine, authentic influencers who actually use and want to promote what you’re selling as well as a top-notch in-house creative agency or influencer agency to help you tell that brand story.
“With the rise in marketing literacy and skepticism from today’s consumers, it’s more important than ever to focus on finding genuine, authentic influencers who actually use and want to promote what you’re selling as well as a top-notch in-house creative agency or influencer agency to help you tell that brand story.”
3) Influencer Marketing Benefits Influencers and Companies Alike
The internet has created an incredible opportunity. It allows for everyday people to become homegrown celebrities through content marketing and engagement. From bloggers to YouTube stars, Instagram models to Twitter personalities, the number of influencers continues to grow. As the industry gets more saturated, influencers must find new and creative ways to engage and connect with their followers. Good influencer marketing can, and should, be mutually beneficial. Influencers need to position themselves as experts. And being able to offer your unique product or service is one way they can achieve this.
According to Forbes correspondent Gerardo Dada, “Good influencer marketing is centered on building sincere personal relationships with influencers and sharing useful, unique, exclusive or early information.” Influencers are often the driving force behind trends and movements. This makes them inherently curious about their realm of influence. Dada continues, “a creative agency that’s marketing an interesting, useful product should have no problem finding information and knowledge of value to influencers.”
4) Fast-Growing, Low-Cost, Incredible ROI
There’s a reason influencer marketing can supplement and even be earmarked before organic search, paid search, and email marketing when it comes to budget growth. According to digital agency professionals polled by Tomoson businesses stand to make $6.50 on every $1 invested in influencer marketing. What makes it so successful? According to mediakix the collapse of TV viewership. Also the advent of ad-blocking software and skyrocketing popularity of social media are all contributors. But there’s also a human aspect to take into account. “This is an age where consumers prefer to make their own decisions.” writes Daniel Newman, the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. “The success of influencer marketing lies in the fact that it helps people feel confident in their choices.”
When Done Right, Influencer Marketing Works
It’s easy to fall for the siren call of super-influencers, like marketing machine Kylie Jenner and her 108 million followers. You’ll probably even earn some hype, if you or your creative agency can afford one of her $1 million Instagram posts! But most successful influencer marketing campaigns are less about celebrity status and all about matching your products with the right people. Influencers are in a unique position: they get to tell the authentic, relatable stories about your products changing their everyday lives. When influencing is done right, genuine people get to share their excitement with a built-in following.
Whether you’re looking for a food blogger to take your line of organic spices for a spin, or want to see a YouTube beauty tutorial featuring your line of foundations, there’s an influencer ready and waiting. Matching your product or service with someone who can create a genuine buzz is key to a successful integrated marketing campaign.
Christina Brown is founder and creative director of Savy, a leading digital marketing and creative agency in Bend Oregon an Santa Barbara California. Savy Agency has been providing digital marketing and creative agency services to clients across the globe since its founding in 2007.