A year ago most people had yet to Google what “influencer marketing” is, but today brands and marketers who haven't caught on to it are way behind the curve!
According to Forbes,“ Influence Marketing is Getting Hotter by the Minute”. Also, as gathered by Thomson in a recent study, close to 60% of businesses are planning to raise their influencer marketing budget within the next 12 months. Adweek is calling influencer marketing “the next big thing”.
But, what is all this buzz about? Why influencer marketing is the hottest new marketing trend?
The answer is short and simple: Because it works!
Influencer marketing is all about channeling the the brand’s message through the voice of individuals whom the consumers trust and like. These people are product savvy content curators who are passionate about sharing their opinions about their favorite brands with others through their social media platform. Although due to their growing popularity which has led to the monetization of these influencers’ content, they do not promote brands solely for the money. They do it because they genuinely like to be associated with certain brands. That is why, unlike paid advertising, their content is authentic, reliable, engaging, and interesting.
Influencer marketing is beneficial for both the brands and the consumers. It nurtures a two-way and mutually beneficial relationship between the two which is often absent in the conventional channels of advertising. Through the power of influencers, brands & marketers can turn prospects into loyal brand advocates, and consumers on the other hand can get access to a trustworthy source of information. Given the uniqueness of the influencer’s content and high engagement, the readers are more prone to share the content with their own followers as well. This amplification of content is another benefit of influencer marketing that sets it apart from other channels in terms of ROI, as word-of-mouth has 37% more retention rate and generates twice more sales compared to paid advertising.
Another factor that makes influencer marketing an effective marketing tool is its advanced targeting capability. Brands can find social influencers who have access to high-quality prospects that closely match their target market. Conventional advertising media such as TV, newspaper, or radio can reach millions of people. However, due to their minimal and basic targeting capacities, a large proportion of this population are likely to ignore the content due to its low relevancy. Such targeting directly increases the level of engagement that the viewers have with the promotion.
Branded content is meant for a large audience, whereas influencer’s content is perfectly created to appeal to a very specific group. Social media enables people to create communities around certain topics, and they are actively turning to those communities to inform their purchasing decisions and to find out about the new trends. Given the amount of information consumers are exposed to on a daily basis, they no longer wish to be approached by brands and they have somewhat became desensitized to push advertising. They prefer to personally seek for relevant information from those who are similar to them and talk their minds. Influence marketing enables brands to get access to relevant targeted audience who actively seek content, and thus are more likely to engage with it and make a purchase based on it.
What's the ROI?
Businesses are making $6.5 for every $1 that they spend on Influencer marketing campaigns, according to a recent poll of brands who are leveraging the power of influencers. The reason for this high ROI has its foundation on the long-term focus of influencer marketing. Traditional channels mainly focus on short-term sales as their primary objective. This limited vision hinders on the continual stream of revenue from the top loyal customers who are the source of the majority of a brand’s revenue. Influencer marketing is a great tool for creating an ongoing conversation surrounding your brand to nurture loyalty and trust which in turn translates to conversions and sales.
What's the Secret?
The secret of implementing a successful influence marketing strategy is in finding the perfect influencer with a high degree of similarity and reach to the target audience. Lack of alignment between the influencer’s image and values and that of the brand’s prospects can seriously damage the integrity of the brand and backfire. There are many online platforms that help businesses find and match with influencers who are similar to their market.
Love it or hate it, influence marketing is here to stay. Tapping on the advantages of social media and content marketing, influence marketing helps marketers to promote their brands to their consumers in a way that appeals to them. When an influencer’s followers receive the content created by an influencer, due to its high relevancy and authenticity, they are more likely to trust the content and thus convert.