Ever thought about adding influencer marketing to your arsenal of social media tactics? Well, reconsider because influencer marketing makes sense. Influencers not only spread your message to new audiences, they decommodify the message, making it more trusted than messages coming from the brand.
Influencers decommodify the message
Now, decommodification may sound like a mouthful, and it is, but the concept is deceptively simple. People don’t trust what brands say about their products. It’s that simple. We, as consumers, know brands only share positive messages about their products so we no longer trust that their messaging is objective (like we ever did). But, when a friend shares a message, we find them believable.
We even believe “friends” when we use that term very loosely. Maybe an example will help. Remember the old days of Blockbuster Video. You went into the store and browsed the titles arranged around the perimeter (the new releases) looking for something to watch. Often, someone would walk past as you perused a title, offering their recommendation on the film. Even though you didn’t know the individual, you figured they had no hidden agenda, so you often took their suggestion. That’s an influencer.
Now, consider that the film distributor paid the individual to visit local video stores to recommend their film. That’s influencer marketing.
Proof influencer marketing makes sense
If you don’t believe me that influencer marketing makes sense, check out these recent stats from Influencer Marketing Hub:
- Businesses earn $5+ for each $1 they spend on influencer marketing
- 67% of firms use influencer marketing to promote their message
- Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they made a purchase based on a recommendation from an influencer
- 70% of young viewers hold YouTube influencers above that of traditional celebrities
- 60% of YouTube viewers would buy something from a YouTuber they follow
- 91% of Millennials trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family
- 84% of brands plan to work with influencers next year
So, now hopefully, I’ve convinced you that influencer marketing makes sense for your brand. Let’s delve deeper into influencer marketing and why it works.
Social media influencers have power
They aren’t called influencers for nothing! In almost every niche or industry, you find social media influencers these days. Whether it is a professional model from somewhere like unrulyagency.com, a reality TV show, or just an ordinary person with massive numbers of engaged followers, the use of influence marketing continues to rise.
If you own a business, you may find that it is worth paying an influencer to help to promote your brand. Some may remain loyal to their own personal brand and not advertise anything for money. However, many influencers want to use their popularity to make money. If you pay them and give them an opportunity to recommend or feature your goods or services in some way, many will say yes.
Here are three reasons why you need to work with social media influencers as part of your marketing campaign.
People relate to them
Many social media influencers are just normal people who found themselves in the spotlight and caught people’s attention. Perhaps they have a talent or did something that caught the eye of followers. Most influencers gain prominence by crafting content their followers find valuable and making useful recommendations.
Because most influencers aren’t traditional celebrities, they come from normal backgrounds, so people see them as being relatable and down to earth. Influencers, for the most part, aren’t super-rich celebrities who have lost trust by endorsing products for anyone with the cash to pay for a commercial. The right social media influencers appear honest and their followers believe they actually use the products they show and promote. In turn, their followers and fans trust their word and buy or use products shown themselves.
Successful social media influencers know all about producing high-quality content – it is their selling point. They can’t be successful without it. They understand how important it is to create content that gets noticed by followers and that encourages engagement and interaction. By using an influencer, you’re piggybacking on their success and their following, without doing any of the hard work it took to reach that peak. Also, if your product is associated with a highly-successful influencer, that, in turn, raises the profile of your business.
They know what they are doing
Social media influencers are experts at the game who know how what their followers expect from their content. They know – or their team knows – the best time to publish a social media post to gain maximum exposure. They know the best hashtags to use and the best places when sharing their posts. As we mentioned above, you get the benefits of their wealth of experience and knowledge without doing much more than sending them your product.
Using social media influencers is an increasingly popular way of promoting your business or product, and it is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
The art of influence must be subtle, with recommendations appearing organically. If an influencer appears to push a product, the influencers lose sway over their followers and the brand fails in its influencer marketing effort. Instead of advertising-like messages, influencers use tactics like demonstrating how a product works, including the product in a review post, or simply showing the product in a favorable light. For instance, when Lord & Taylor used 50 influencers each wearing the same dress, the dress sold out by the end of the weekend.
That’s power. But, working influencer marketing requires a commitment to influencers and the mindset that you shouldn’t control their content. Let’s look deeper at working with influencers.
Influencers come in various flavors from celebrities (macro-influencers) to much smaller influencers. And, 61% of brands report difficulty finding good influencers, since most prefer to work directly with the brand rather than an agency.
The key to a good influencer is:
- finding someone with an affinity for your product niche
- people with an engaged following work best for influencer marketing campaigns
- influencers are most effective when they’re experts on products in your niche. A niche influencer’s impact is greater than the one from a traditional celebrity outside your niche.
- the best influencers have followers that fit your target personas.
Top influencers make serious bank. For instance, top YouTubers earn over $10 million/ year for their endorsements. My grandkids love a gaming YouTuber, Preston Plays, who constantly hocks his own products as well as those from his sponsors as he plays Minecraft with a constant over-the-top monologue the kids seem to love. Of course, the amount commanded by a YouTuber or other influencer varies based on their niche and number of engaged followers (don’t let follower counts fool you, only engagement makes an influencer valuable).
If you’re just starting out, you likely can’t afford top talent. Instead, you might attract influencers in your niche by offering products for “testing” or work with existing brand advocates by offering support for their efforts without explicit payment. Of, consider working with an influencer who doesn’t currently have a large following (but represents strong potential) by offering small payments. If you manage the relationship well, the influencer might continue promoting your products once they have a larger sphere of influence, plus, their prior endorsements of your brand remain online forever (except in certain cases, such as Snapchat).
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