21 Mar What is Influencer Marketing? (& Our Top 5 Tips on running an Influencer Marketing Campaign)
We use ad blocker programs to eliminate those pesky ads from our computer use. Statistics show that 47% of online users use ad blockers, therefore reducing the frequency we are exposed to ads. However, ads are more prominent in our lives than you think.
Social media has integrated itself into our lives becoming a social norm. Admit it- We all check Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat one too many times a day. As such, marketing using social media has become a hot topic of interest. The digitalisation of the world has changed how we market. Whilst we are all aware of traditional digital marketing methods that exist such as the use of sponsored advertisements which can be seen whilst watching Youtube videos or whilst scrolling our Facebook feeds, another way to integrate marketing and social media is the rising method called influencer marketing.
So what exactly is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a unique type of marketing function, which involves using prominent personalities with large followings and leverage in order to drive a brand’s message to their audience. It is the combination of social media marketing and content marketing, incorporating both the use of endorsements and the subtle element of product mention.
Social media influencers range from well- known celebrities with millions of followers down to those with followings consisting of a couple thousand. So why do companies choose to go down this route? By using influencers, brands are able to voice their brand message on a large scale but target niche audiences, bringing value to the brand.
Influencer marketing is in fact more prominent than we think, and it only continues to grow. When we are scrolling through our Instagram feeds, we may not realise it, but we are still seeing ads. Kylie J may not just be showing off her #OOTD, but she may also be promoting the Daniel Wellington watch she’s donning on her wrist.
Daniel Wellington, a Swedish based company specialising in selling quartz watches has shown success in using influencer marketing to reach their audience. The brand distributed their minimalist watches to prominent social media stars, free of charge with only one requirement: to post a photo of the watch on their feed. This resulted in a huge surge in awareness for the brand, which eventually became popular amongst teenagers and young adults. Filip Tysander, owner of Daniel Wellington, initially invested $1500 for the start up company in 2009. As of 2015, the company had reported a turnover rate of $220 million.
Why is it so effective?
With so many brands fighting to be heard, this creates advertising clutter. This has become evident with television and radio advertisements. Gradually, the effectiveness of these ads wear off because we are over- exposed to so many brands and we eventually disengage. With many ads becoming over the top and making ridiculous claims, we become cynical. It’s hard for everyday consumers to believe the statements that have been made.
Influencer marketing is so effective because it relies on recommendations from people we admire or follow. It has been shown that our scepticism towards ads is reduced when we are recommended products from a trusted source, whether it be a friend, family or someone we purely admire. A recommendation influences users much more than an advertisement. Digital advertisements are often prompted by cash incentives, whereas influencers tend to promote brands that they connect with or genuinely love. Influencer marketing is not in your face. It isn’t annoying. It relies on subtlety to grab our attention, helping a brand stand out from the crowd.
Influencer marketing creates massive opportunities for companies to drive brand awareness and online sales. With the growth in influencer marketing, questions in terms of transparency and regulations will come into light. However, with the effectiveness of influencer marketing showing proven results, brands will continue to allocate their time, money and effort to influencer campaigns.
Top 5 Tips for Influencer Marketing:
With the continued growth and expansion in influencer marketing, how can it be effectively utilised? Here are our top five tips for influencer marketing!
- Do make the effort to understand your influencers and their audience
Don’t be tempted to contact social media influencers just because they have a large following. Companies should make the effort to evaluate whether an influencer is a good fit for the brand before taking the influencer on board. Firstly, it is important to identify their audience and whether their audience aligns to the brand. The key is to always ask yourself whether your brand and the influencer is a good fit. Synergy is the key. It is also critical to evaluate whether there are any red flags because you don’t want controversies associated with your brand.
- Do make your branding appear effortless
Campaigns should appear as organic as possible. With the abundance of advertisements fighting to grab our attention, we become sceptical with the over the top and exaggerated claims. Influencers aren’t producing commercials. You want to aim for an organic post, which doesn’t come across as artificial. By promoting an organic campaign through influencers, this ensures that products come across as a genuine recommendation. Authenticity and trust in the influencer is critical in appealing to an audience.
- Don’t eliminate influencers with small audiences
Influencer marketing isn’t always about the ‘big names’ in social media. The key to an effective marketing campaign is to aim for influencers who have followers who are part of your target audience. Influencers don’t necessarily have to be celebrities with millions of followers. Market influence can derive from a person’s expertise, popularity or reputation. Small bloggers have gradually become more prominent over the years. This is because bloggers appear more relatable and often have a loyal following. An endorsement from a blogger is much more authentic than an advertisement on television. It is the quality of the audience, not necessarily the quantity.
- Don’t limit influencers’ creativity
Influencers are often followed because of their personality, style or unique aesthetic. Something about the influencer has attracted people to follow them. It is essential that they have full creative control to promote your brand. Influencers understand their audience the best. They understand that followers come and go. In order to maintain and grow their following, influencers work to effectively integrate their campaigns into their feeds and ensure that the integration of brands will be brought about in an aesthetic manner. Brands therefore should trust that their fellow influencers will make their products shine in an appealing light.
- Do build your relationships with influencers
Companies should be open to forming organic relationships with their influencers who are endorsing a product. Ensure that you understand the need of the influencers’ in order for the influencers to properly endorse your brand. Influencer marketing is unique because in contrast to advertisements, influencer marketing relies on authentic relationships between the customer, brand and influencer. When brands commit to influencers, influencers are encouraged to become long- term promoters for the company.
In executing an effective influencer marketing campaign, don’t forget to always track, measure and assess the campaign. Though influencer campaigns are not always going to be 100% successful, tracking data allows you to focus on where you being effective and where you need improvement.