For a long time, Steve, a 29 yrs old resident of Washignton, D.C. was planning to buy a brand new music system as his old stereo was causing him much of trouble. He came across many relevant advertisements and promotional campaigns of some hi-tech music systems through Television, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and other digital mediums. All the offers seem to be modest to him but no offer was compelling enough to make him place an instant order of the long due music system.
So, what was missing?
After spending a few days in this drifting dilemma, Steve came across some social media posts where few of his favourite Sound artists, Musicians and Singers shared their experiences about the recently bought music systems and other related electronic devices. Also, the reviews posted on social media by his friends and acquaintances proved to be really useful to him. Finally, he bought the music system of his choice. Like this, Steve’s quest got over and now, he was immersed in the beat-storm of his most-loved numbers.
What got changed? What was the key thing that caused Steve to hit the purchase button.
It was the power of ‘influence’. It was the Influence of the words quoted by his friends, relatives and some local celebrities who he closely follows that brought the change. Rather than brand itself coming out loud and advertising its product, an inbound approach was used here. It can be called as ‘People-To-People’ approach, where the people who used the product themselves shared their experiences which propelled a potential buyer to make the purchase.
Utilizing this inbound approach of influencer marketing drives awareness, cultivates an audience, and strengthens owned media over time. Some of the benefits of influencer marketing can be listed as:
- Enhanced word-of-mouth advertising
- Best way to garner the organic popularity
- Increasing the number of expert opinions gained
- Building a trust-worthy social proof
- Helps in building a one-to-one bond with customer
Above factors are very important in gaining customer trust and loyalty. a recent Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all other forms of advertising. By starting with a relevant message and audience, mapping your best-fit influencers, and utilizing social engagement best-practices, your inbound marketing will reap massive rewards.
Hence, It was not surprising at all when, In 2017, Brands flocked to influencers in hoards to help sell their products and services to engaged audiences. Without any opposing opinions, It can be stated that, Influencer marketing is going to continue to be a driving force for brands looking to grow their audience and improve sales through social media in 2018.
So, How do we define Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create high-impact conversations with potential customers about your brand, products or services. Influencers are specialists in their niches. These individuals have influence over an audience you might be trying to reach, and can be helpful marketing to those buyers.
Having understood the concept of influencer marketing and its numerous benefits, Both well-established brands and newbies should be all set to take the world of influencer marketing by storm. But, before you plunge into the stream of influencer marketing, It would come really handy, if you already know the following five things about influencer marketing:
- Your product’s target audience should be your influencer’s audience
A popular FMCG brand wants to spread the word about their newly launched instant noodles brand which caters to premium category audiences. As a part of their influencer marketing efforts, Brand hired a couple of food bloggers whose audience primarily consists of masses. Do you think this marketing activity will render expected results?
The answer here is ‘No’; Simply because the audience mapping of brand did not resonate with the influencer’s audience. Hence, before kicking off any influencing effort, A brand should define its audience first and then discover the right influencers. These influencers should be able to impact your business or your buyer’s decision making process by sharing useful content.
- Explore all the facets of social media
A lot of brands and marketers automatically associate influencer marketing with Instagram. In fact, one survey found that Instagram was the No. 1 platform for 92% influencers in 2017.
While Instagram is likely to stay at the top of the game, that doesn’t mean you put all of your apples in one basket. Other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Youtube are still untapped as far as influencer marketing is concerned. Facebook and twitter are the ideal mediums if your brand want to target slightly middle-aged demographics.
Several brands are pulling off their advertising dollar from Youtube as Brands had no control over what videos their ads appeared on. In this lights, Youtubers are actively looking for other sources of revenue generation on Youtube. Hence, It is in the best interest of brands to make one-to-one association with these Youtubers and launch some genuine and authentic campaigns rather than just running ads on random videos.
Also, keep in mind that not all influencers are on Instagram and YouTube. Look through Medium, Pinterest, blogs and other platforms where your target audience might hang out.
- Use influencer marketing tools to stay ahead in the race.
Before you come to the real influencer marketing activity, You have to go through a tedious process of discovering the right influencers, connecting with them, engaging with them actively, negotiating the terms of partnership, sending out the advance payment and track the performance after the execution of the campaign.
If you want to save time by skipping this process to concentrate more on campaign ideation and execution; there’s a growing number of platforms and influencer marketing tools to make your life much easier. These platforms provide you with a hue pool of relevant influencers based on your preferences, read-made conversational templates and performance tracking tools etc. For eg: Traackr, Qoruz are few such platforms which are gaining popularity rapidly.
- Content comes first, here as well
An influencer getting a picture clicked while holding your brand’s product with a very cliché caption or posting video where he/she is relentlessly persuading his/her followers to purchase the product; If this is the brand’s idea of carrying their influencer marketing activity; Trust me, It will be like falling flat on your face with your own will.
The art of storytelling is significant here as well as It is in any other marketing activity; Hence, It’s always wise to come up with some great content having relevant context. For eg: Water brand Fiji came up with a unique influencer marketing campaign #weworewhat on Instagram where the brand partnered with Danielle Bernstein, a fashion blogger, who posted a series of work-out videos with her personal trainer eric Johnson.
This campaign was meant to demonstrate Fiji’s commitment to hydrating those who want to look and feel as fit as Bernstein, while helping her fans get there with all the right motivators. Hence, the brand message was communicated pretty smoothly in this campaign.
- Measure your results accurately
A few questions a brand needs to ask itself after an influencer marketing campaign is over:
- Was the campaign profitable for brand?
- If yes, how much revenue these influencers bringing in?
- What all kind of influencer activities are catching eye-balls?
- What are the things which are not going in brand’s favour?
Usually, If you hire an agency for your influencer marketing activities; they will provide you with Campaign tracking report at the end of the campaign and Brand health report at the end of the agreement where all the key performance parameters are quantified. Alternatively, You can also use influencer marketing tools to measure the results of your efforts.
It’s really important to measure these results as You can’t go on and on with your influencer marketing just because it sounds a bit trendy and fancy. If your influencer marketing efforts are not resulting in desired outcomes, may be; It’s a sign to change your marketing mix or creative strategy.
But yes, there’s still a lot of progress to be made in making influencer marketing activities fully measurable for agencies and marketers.
If done right, Influencer marketing is a great amplifier and nothing can replace it. So keep above mentioned things in the mind and conquer the marketing world with your very next influencer marketing campaign.