We hear the phrase influencer marketing thrown around a lot, but many people are quick to admit that it’s a newer concept they don’t fully understand. What industry professionals do know is that it’s gaining steam and that it’s time to figure out how to best apply it within a marketing strategy.
There are questions out there about how it works, why it works and what’s in it for brands and marketers. Well, we can let you in on the secret, there are plenty of benefits influencer marketing has to offer. Before you can develop a solid influencer marketing program you need to know the ins and outs of the concept and the ROI of doing so.
What It Is
With the rise of social media comes a lot of change in how marketers and brands advertise products and services. The consumer has more power and influence than ever before, and while this makes it a bit challenging to deal with in advertising, it’s also a trend that holds a lot of opportunity. Influencer marketing places the focus on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than a target market as a whole. The key is to let go of control and allow the influence a brand is already having on consumers and social media to speak for itself on behalf of the brand.
It can be difficult for brand to adapt to at first because they are giving up a lot of steering power and relying on individuals to clearly and authentically communicate their brand message to their consumers and fans. Brand loyalty is a concept many marketers and companies have banked their profits in for years and years, but loyalty alone isn’t going to cut it with the way technology and consumer purchasing habits are evolving. According to Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, 65 percent of brands have incorporated influencers into their marketing strategies to help execute broader marketing visions.
Influencer marketing allows brands to take the pressure off of themselves and focus on building and guiding their top advocates to speak on their behalf. Influencer’s typically have solid followings and a notable impact within their online communities and networks. It’s common that influencers are able to mobilize opinions, create reactions and amplify messages to their followers who support, believe in and trust their viewpoint.
What It’s Not
Influencer marketing is not a quick fix, it’s not a fad and it’s not going away. It’s not a marketing strategy that will be successful on its own. Brands and marketers have to work together to identify appropriate and impactful influencers, curate user generated content and produce and direct the messaging that’s being shared from their top advocates. Brands need to measure results, remain flexible and adjust their strategy based on what results they’re seeing, or not seeing.
Define your goals early, take appropriate measures to identify influencers who will represent your brand with passion and authenticity. Who you work with, how you measure success and what channels you select for different influencers and campaigns, will largely determine the success of your strategy.
Influencer marketing is not only rapidly growing as an established marketing strategy, but it’s here to stay. Influencers are not just people with large followings, they’re individuals who may already be your consumers, your fans and your biggest advocates. They’re passionate about your product and services and are, more than likely, very excited to share why they love you with their networks. With the rise of social media comes a rise in social influence and a new and exciting way to create brand awareness, reach new audiences and increase profits.