We predict that 2016 is going to be “the year” for influencer marketing campaigns.
After all, nearly one in four marketers rate influencer marketing as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method, and nearly 60 percent of marketers are planning on increasing their spend in this area (AdWeek, 2015). It seems that everywhere you look online, there’s another popular Viner, Instagrammer or blogger touting a brand’s wares. As fashionable as influencer marketing seems to be, some brand marketers are still leery. What’s the ROI? How can I justify the spend? We contend that influencer marketing campaigns are more than the “new black.” What follows are five solid reasons to add influencers to your next campaign:
- Consumers trust third party recommendations. The latest Nielsen report concludes that a whopping 84 percent of people trust word of mouth marketing over any other form of advertising. The best influencers are friends with their fans and followers, and can offer up word of mouth about your brand.
- Influencers bring their community. After all, an influencer was once just an everyday person. Somewhere along the way, they took to social media to share their passions, their occasional rants and their point of view on their favorite topics. Their followers are like-minded, appreciate the way they think, and actively seek their advice. When you engage an influencer, you are essentially engaging that influencer’s entire community on behalf of your brand.
- Consumers crave authenticity. Cohn & Wolfe’s excellent study on authenticity indicates that consumers want honesty more than anything from their brands. If you choose an influencer with a true passion for your brand, you can build rich, authentic stories that tell your brand’s core essence. Furthermore, when you give an influencer the freedom to share his or her own personal experience with your brand or product, you’re creating trustworthy, honest content.
- The spend does not have to break the bank. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to implement influencer marketing campaigns without emptying your wallet. It’s okay to experiment and try a campaign with a few influencers on a smaller scale. Maybe there is an aspect of your brand’s story that is complicated (something that people are always inquiring about) that could benefit from a longer blog post or video share. You can easily manage expectations on an influencer marketing program with fewer dollars. The resulting shares and blog posts are measureable, reportable stories that benefit the brand, and could also help your SEO. As with the early days of social media, sometimes you need to experiment and prove your case to get more budget dollars.
- Influencers are amplifiers. No matter what your marketing message or campaign is, there are content creators out there who are willing to amplify it in your next influencer marketing campaign. They may already be an aficionado of your brand. They are waiting for you to reach out to them and provide them with the marketing tools to tell your story. Of course, they’ll want to be compensated for their efforts, but that’s true for any major publishing platform. And, when it comes to compensation, it’s important to be transparent, and thank heavens the FTC has guidelines around this!
So yes, influencer marketing campaigns may be all the rage, but for good reason. Getting influencers to speak positively about your brand on their social channels is a powerful word-of-mouth message. If you want to add a feather to your marketing plan’s hat, you might want to try it on for size.