Consumers’ faith in brands’ traditional advertising campaigns continues to wane. Only 47% of today’s Internet users trust traditional advertising.1 They’re tired of paid ads interrupting their experience. So ultimately, they’re tuning them out. But this vast and growing number of doubters isn’t blindly making purchases.
Instead, they’re turning to trusted social influencers – consumers just like them. People who have a following – some relatively small, others large. These influencers post authentic content that influences followers and lowers the wall between the consumer and brand, while building up the brand’s image.
Known as Influencer Marketing, many believe it to be the advertising industry’s next big thing. So what is Influencer Marketing? In a nutshell, it’s word-of-mouth advertising that can reach a mass audience all at once. Rather than the old-school approach of talking to a consumer with traditional advertising, Influencer Marketing talks with them, entertains them and informs them.
In more technical terms, Influencer Marketing uses key leaders to promote your brand’s message to potential customers through various social media outlets. This style of native advertising places products in organic content. Dedicated Media found that purchase intent is 53 percent higher for native ads.2
Now this doesn’t mean running out and paying a Kardashian hundreds of thousands of dollars to tout your product – unless that’s right for you, your budget and product. However, it could mean giving your new stroller to a mom with a strong blog following to test it out. Or giving your video game controller to a YouTube-famous pro gamer whose review could work wonders for your product. When it comes to product information, these folks are trusted sources.
They’re specialists who generate honest recommendations and create a running dialogue with their followers – a group that wants to receive updates from the influencer. Yes, some influencers may want compensation to generate sponsored content, but not anywhere in the stratosphere of Kardashian money.
Collective Bias found that 70% of consumers are more likely to value an endorsement from a non-A-List celebrity.1 So rather than chasing premier talent, that pro video gamer (someone who can have an audience of millions) can make a big impact on your bottom line for very little expense. In fact, 82% of people are likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation.3 Micro-influencers typically have 500 to 5,000 highly engaged followers.
Influencer Marketing also has another key benefit for your brand. It can boost your content ranks on social networks. The more shares, likes, comments and backlinks your influencers’ content generates, the higher your social media rankings will climb. And who doesn’t like being more relevant on Google? Plus, since it’s digital, you can mine a wealth of data.
But don’t expect your sales to skyrocket your brand to #1 overnight. Working with an influencer needs to be a long-term commitment. Also, Influencer Marketing is still a fairly new concept, so you may encounter a few bumps on the road to social media domination in your market.
If you’re going to launch an Influencer Marketing campaign, remember to keep it authentic. If you’re paying an influencer to promote your product, they will need to disclose this. However, just because they’re paid, doesn’t mean that they can’t get behind the product and enjoy it. Here are some basic tips to follow:
- Choose the right influencers. Are their followers the market you want to reach?
- Influencers want to be part of exciting ventures.
- Share your influencers’ content on your own social media networks. Be sure to let them know that you’re doing this.
- Build influencer relationships before you ask them to help you.
- Have guidelines in place as to how your influencer reaches out to his or her followers.
- Remember that it still takes more than an influencer to help you move sales.
Has your brand tried Influencer Marketing, or are you considering it? We’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic.