If you haven’t yet heard of influencer marketing, you are definitely missing out on the biggest digital marketing trend of 2016. It has actually been raving recently and most of the industry leaders have already embraced it and soon enough it is going to be an integral part of every digital marketing mix.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that uses the voice of key individuals to spread brand messages in a more organic and natural way. It’s basically a digital word-of-mouth using social media as a primary communication tool.
Influencer marketing has emerged as a result of the explosive growth of social media, which made it possible for ordinary people to create their own social channels counting hundreds, thousands, even millions of followers and to actually monetize on that. And this goes far beyond the ever so cheap Google Adsense revenues. With a solid and authentic social following individuals can work with brands directly and make a whole lot of money.
For instance, do you know who’s got the most followers on Youtube? No, it’s not Justin Bieber (although he closes the top 10). Number one Youtube Star is a Swedish guy known as PewDiePie with 41,553,023 subscribers, 10,929,445,981 video views and a potential for earning over $27 million according to Youtube stats by Statsheep. I know you may be wondering what this guy vlogs about? Well, mostly gameplay videos with his own satiric comments, laughs and jokes. This is insanely cool!
How do you define an Influencer?
First of all, you need to understand that every business and niche is different and so are the influencers. So before contacting top youtubers and twitters, make sure they are the right people to spread the word. For example, if you are a restaurant owner wishing to drive more sales with influencer marketing, you need to find individuals who share content (videos, articles, instagram images) of food in the first place.
Secondly, the individual must be able to drive action, not just spread a word, but to actually convince the followers to buy.
And last but not least, an influencer should have a decent following so that you can reach as many prospects as possible. Having said that, I don’t mean you need hundreds of thousands of followers to make it work. What actually matters is the conversion rate and the return on investment. So make sure to keep track of each campaign to understand which influencers bring you most business.
How can Influencer Marketing grow your business?
In a world where consumer reviews and recommendations are number one factor affecting customer buying decisions, businesses should rethink their marketing mix to push through the advertising noise and reach their customers in the best possible way.
Influencer marketing solves this problem and here’s how.
72% of consumers admit that positive customer reviews increase their trust in a brand and it takes, on average, 2-6 reviews to get 56% of them to make a buying decision, according to study by BrightLocal. So obviously word-of-mouth is a deciding factor for most consumers and for most business types. Another research conducted by Nielsen Company reinforces the idea that trust is the holy grail of any successful marketing campaign. Have a look.
So having an influencer to review, recommend or just positively mention your brand is sure to raise the credibility of your business among their audience. People tend to trust authorities, experts and simply individuals whom they like. So the right influencers can really help you build credibility which is an invaluable asset for any business.
- Raise brand awareness and reach.
Influencer marketing is a great way to increase your brand awareness and reach your target/ niche audience in a more organic and effective way. Instead of pushing your advertising messages and basically speaking AT the customer, you can choose to invest in influencer marketing and speak TO your target customer using the voice of an individual whom they have chosen to listen to.
- Diverse and creative communication
With all of the ads, banners, billboards and offline ads, an average customer sooner or later develops ad blindness or even consciously chooses to block your ads altogether and it is becoming increasingly difficult to actually get to the customer and catch her attention. So influencer marketing kind of breaks the tradition and communicates with your target audience in a number of different ways without explicitly pushing sponsored content. It combines youtube review videos, blog articles, facebook posts, twitter mentions and doesn’t really shout “PAID”. There are a number of ways you can partner with influencers which I will cover in coming posts.
- SEO and online marketing support
Working with influencers means having a number of independent sources publishing content that points to you, your website, your social media channels, your BRAND. This is obviously the best possible way to earn quality links and support your overall SEO efforts. Other than that, it will also increase traffic to your website and I am not talking about junk referral traffic. Most probably these are going to be qualified leads ready to hear what you have to say. Like I said, it raises brand awareness and reinforces the key marketing messages that you try to communicate to your audience. So in general influencer marketing supplements and supports all your marketing efforts, both online and offline.
Digital marketing is changing and developing constantly, so you need to embrace those changes and take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Because with all of the tech innovations and the accessibility of information, people are overloaded with content and become numb to traditional marketing. So it is always a good idea to try new ways of promoting your products and services.