Influencer marketing is everywhere. Brands are using influencers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & all sorts of social media platforms. The original influencer marketing dates back to television ads (yes, I talk about it like I talk about dinosaurs). Influencers (back in the day) were celebrities in advertisements. Shah Rukh Khan for Lux, Saif Ali Khan for Lays, Roger Federer for Rolex, to name a few.
Today, influencer marketing is not restricted to television. Neither is it restricted to celebrities. In fact, influencers are those who are prominent / leaders in their field / platform but do not necessarily have a celeb status. Think of YouTube and Twitter influencers. I worked for a well-known TV channel in my previous job and for our digital marketing efforts for a show launch, we often used influencers to create a buzz around the upcoming show on social media – Twitter especially. Let me explain what influencers can do good for your brand and how they can do that how.
What is influencer marketing?
According to traackr.com, “Influencer marketing is the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create high-impact conversations with customers about your brand, products or services.”
The crux of influencer marketing is relationship. I mean, the relationship between a brand and an influencer as well as relationship between the influencer and the audience. Here’s where the benefits come in:
Benefits of Influencer marketing
- Wide audience reach: The great part about influencer marketing is that the audience is already there. You don’t need to gather an audience; the influencer’s base of followers is the audience. You don’t have to spend money on research & testing for an audience. Through your influencer, you can effectively reach your niche. However, the key is to identify the right influencer. A style/ fashion blogger is a great tie-in with, say, a clothing brand.
- Trust is established: Because influencers already have a following & possibly a relationship with their subscribers / followers, trust and credibility with their fans is already established. Marketing through the influencer will also transfer that trust onto your product / brand.
- Improves awareness for your brand: As I mentioned in my first point, with an influencer, the audience is large and active. An influencer can greatly expand your brand reach online. You ,as a marketer, need to therefore maximize your influencer reach by providing valuable content to your influencers’ audience.
- Building partnerships that matter: Of course, influencer marketing will mean you will build a good rapport with influencers and maybe even their network. This could extend offline where you partner with the influencer for live shows, meet-ups, events, on-ground product launches etc.
- Improves SEO: Influencer marketing actually helps improve SEO. This is because backlinks from credible sites / profiles help boost SEO. Therefore, links from high-authority domains (the influencer’s websites) improves your site ranking. Not just this, search engines also look for unique content & social shares when ranking. Influencer marketing checks both these boxes.
- Trick the social media algorithm: Social media algorithms are always changing. When you’re just getting used to a Facebook algorithm change, Instagram changes its own! It’s never easy. Influencer marketing actually helps beat this. How? Well, social media algorithms always prioritize the best and most engaging content. Influencer marketing hits bang in the center of that idea. Brands have come to recognise that influencer marketing is a great way to beat the algorithm through live videos, account takeovers etc.
Goals of Influencer marketing
(source: Sprout Social)
Influencer marketing best practices
Choose the right influencer: As I mentioned earlier, it’s imperative to pick an influencer who fits your niche – like a clothing brand and a lifestyle blogger or a foodie and a restaurant brand. It’s important to make that fit or your marketing efforts will fail as you will be targeting the wrong audience!
Offer something that adds value to the influencer: When marketing, it’s often easy to solely focus on getting the best visibility for your brand. However, with influencer marketing, you have a duty to think about how it adds value to the influencer as well. At the end of the day, it is a business and in order to even get an influencer to promote your brand, you need to provide value. Apart from the monetary value you’d provide influencers, think of content that will enrich their social presence as well – creative content, fun video ideas, etc.
Allow creative freedom: If you’re going to use an influencer to market your brand, you’ve got to give him / her some creative freedom. A lot of complaints from influencers is that brands are too restrictive or imposing in the content creation process. Restricting influencer content can often impact the authenticity of the campaign altogether. You could also risk souring the relationship with the influencer.
Influencer marketing has proven to be a very effective medium. In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with a few statistics that prove just how effective this is:
According to a survey conducted by Collective Bias, involving 14,000 respondents in the US:
- 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.
- Additionally, 30% consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger
- While shopping at a store, 60% consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review.
Still sitting on the fence? I suggest you start right away!