What is “influencer marketing,” and why is it an essential element in any marketing strategy in 2017?
According to a 2015 study by Nielsen, 84% of consumers view recommendations from friends and family as the most trustworthy and influential factor when it comes to purchasing decisions. Influencer marketing is that same notion of a word-of-mouth recommendation extended beyond your loved ones to include influencers.
Who are influencers?
Influencers are famous people. Infamous people. People with blue check marks by their Twitter handles. People with thousands to millions of Instagram followers and Official Facebook Pages. They are people you follow on social media because their opinions matter to you, the target audience of at least one brand somewhere.
Influencers are being paid by brands to expose you to their products and services in an unintrusive, no-nonsense way. Here’s why it’s working.
Imagine this: You’re a big Lebron James fan who also happens to be in the market for a new favorite soda. You surf the web and get served banner ads from Coke and Pepsi. They look great, one is even animated, but your soda allegiance can’t be bought that easily.
You then pull out your phone and thumb around on Instagram. A post from LBJ himself pops up and, oh my goodness, it’s a video. He’s polishing his KIA in signature Nikes and sipping a cold, refreshing Sprite. No caption necessary.
Two weeks later, you open your fridge and find your entire door stocked with Sprite. What happened?
You were influenced. And it worked because the message of “Drink Sprite” wasn’t forced upon you. It was delivered natively and authentically, straight to your phone via Lebron, somebody you respect and appreciate.
Fun Fact: Google loves social media. According to The Social Media Revolution, user-generated social posts account for 25 percent of search results for the world’s top 20 brands. In other words, social influencer marketing is great for SEO. Nothing ups your rank like conversations about your brand, and nothing starts conversations about your brand like an influencer at the helm.
A partnership with the right influencer at the right time can also expose your brand to untapped market segments. Think about it. Why pay to target specific people, in a specific area, who are into a specific thing, when you can partner with an influencer whose following is exactly those people you want to reach? It’s more efficient and it can be cheaper.
Influencer marketing is currently an arbitrage (pronounced “arbitroj”). In case you don’t know, an arbitrage is when something is selling for cheaper than what it’s actually worth. There are a lot of influencers out there waiting to hear from you, but not many brands investing in it. Arbitrages don’t stay arbitrages for long. Strike while the iron’s hot and the difference becomes profit for your brand.
It’s also important to recognize that influencer marketing ROI is easier to track than traditional advertising methods because it all happens online. Every time a consumer visits your site, types in a promo code, likes a photo, watches a video, mentions your brand, and whatever else, data is collected. And if you work with people with experience, the collected data can be leveraged into insights that will help your brand evolve and adapt to the dynamism of your current and future consumer base.
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