Marketing can drive even the most hardened entrepreneur up the wall. Branding, speaking your audience’s language, platforms and figuring out which marketing strategies are most effective for your target market can be a real challenge.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to experiment with fresh ideas, such as influencer marketing, that can boost your marketing ROI and bottom line.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing involves using key brand advocates to drive your message to the larger market in an organic way. It pinpoints people with large social followings who have sway over your target audience, then focuses marketing endeavors featuring those key influencers.
Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead pay influencers to get out the word for you.
For example, a testimonial from an individual influencer such as a journalist, academic, or YouTube personality plays the part of the buyer and talks or writes in length about the product’s features and benefits. Key leaders can also come from third parties, such as retailers and manufacturers.
Take Damon and Jo – while the young couple were traveling the world, they filmed a YouTube travel show ‘for the social media generation’: Shut Up and Go. Their show became popular, not through ads or traditional marketing, but because their scrappy, on-a-budget travels and repartee appealed to an audience who found them on YouTube.
Once they built that audience, brands like Toyota, Greyhound, and MTV partnered with them, paying them to ‘organically’ promote their goods and services.
And it pays off: Here are several statistics associated with this strategy:
- 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities.
- On average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing.
- 81% of marketers who have used influencer marketing judged it to be effective.
- 51% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing.
- 59% of marketers increased their influencer marketing budgets last year.
The Growth of Brand Influencer Partnerships
Let’s face it: people trust what other people (as opposed to corporations or advertising) have to say. This is why influencer marketing has become such a powerful and effective marketing strategy.
Though you can’t immediately befriend thousands or millions of people, you can “befriend” one influencer. When you align your brand with an influencer, you are positioning your product or service for display to his or her already-established large network of individuals who trust what that influencer has to say.
As outbound marketing continues to fall off and inbound marketing grows in popularity, influencer marketing has become one of the most effective techniques for attracting customers.
Consumers of today are not the same as consumers of the past. They don’t listen to everything they hear on television or the radio. They don’t read billboards and take the information to heart. And they don’t trust large companies (at least, not until they take the time to get to know them and the company has earned their trust). They do, however, listen to what other people have to say.
Influencer marketing can make up a large portion of an inbound marketing campaign. And here is how: they are staffed with the responsibility of generating and distributing content about your brand.
When influencers recommend your brand to their following, they become an extension of your company’s marketing department.
Why Brands Rely on Influencer Marketing
Even though influencer marketing is a relatively new strategy, it continues to be a viable solution for marketers who are willing to think outside the box on building trust with their target market.
1. The Power Is Real
There aren’t many things that drive sales more effectively than good ol’ word-of-mouth marketing: 92% percent of consumers say that they trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than any other type of advertising.
And when it comes to the Millennial generation, 40% say that their favorite YouTube personality “understands them better than their friends.”
This is part of an overall shift in how we prioritize word-of-mouth information over paid television, magazine and newspaper ads and it’s hard to ignore the power of these unofficial brand ambassadors. Influencer marketing provides an opportunity for companies to leverage the power of social proof, all the while relying on those who already have a large following.
2. It’s a Social Thing
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2018:
- 68% of online Americans used Facebook
- 29% of online Americans used Pinterest
- 35% of online Americans used Instagram
- 25% of online Americans used LinkedIn
- 24% of online Americans used Twitter
Nowadays, a website is no longer enough; companies want you to interact with them via their social channels.
Consumers expect brands to bring the conversation to them, so influencers hold more power than ever before. By partnering with the right influencers, brands can create conversations that relate to their target audience.
Influencer marketing can make up a large portion of an inbound marketing campaign because they’re staffed with the responsibility of generating and distributing content about your brand. When influencers recommend your brand to their following, they become an extension of your company’s marketing department.
And speaking of inbound marketing, did you know influencers have a huge SEO benefit for you?
Wait for the next post.