Social media influencers engage and captivate their followers through relatable, sensational, entertaining, or educational content genuinely and authentically. Consumers seem to relate better to their peers instead of big marketing campaigns. This is why influencers should have a transparent personality that goes against traditional communication methods.
Brands are paying attention and are looking to gain similar attention so are looking to partner with influencers to build campaigns that are aimed to achieve this on a grander scale and ultimately increase followings that initiate conversions and most importantly sales.
The current state of influencer marketing
Brands that jumped on influencer marketing without fully understanding it have started to scale back or move away from this form of marketing altogether. While these brands are moving away from influencer marketing due to “influencer fatigue,” others are still researching and trying to understand how to implement it into their marketing strategies
Is influencer marketing trending upwards?
92% of marketers currently use influencer marketing in at least one channel (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook). Eight out of 10 marketers believe influencer marketing to be effective. Furthermore, influencer marketing has proven to be effective with:
- Every $1 spent yields an average return of $18
- Eight out of 10 consumers purchase a product after having seen it recommended by an influencer
To fully comprehend how to capitalize on this performance, it’s imperative to know the data behind the trends.
1. Focus on Nano-influencers and micro-influencers
Marketers have to be more responsible with their marketing budgets, so they’re adopting new ways in which they work with influencers. Celebrity-status influencers (with their online followings over one million) are no longer the target, as they require a larger marketing budget. Furthermore, they do not fully engage with their followers and the end result is followers who don’t have an element of loyalty. Ultimately big celebrity accounts have a low return on investment (ROI)
Macro and nano influencers have been discovered to be very beneficial to the B2B segment, this is because word of mouth and reputation are essential for a B2B marketing effort. For the first time ever, salespeople are not able to travel to visit clients and have been forced to sell via online video meetings. Unfortunately, B2b decision-makers don’t simply make business decisions at a whim due to the fact making a product or service you are not familiar with can be extremely costly, because of this B2B decision-makers are reliant on business relationships, brand reputation, and existing partnerships. That’s when a B2B influencer brings added credibility to the table.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Nano- and micro-influencers who are becoming more appealing due to their niche focuses and increased personal engagement with their audiences. Macro-influencers followings range between 10,000 and 150,000 while micro-influencers have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers and nano-influencers have between 1,000 and 5,000 followers. They usually aren’t glamorously staged, or overly filtered. Due to the fact that consumers are demanding more genuine engagement, micro and nano-influencers are on the rise.
2. Utilize alternative platforms
Understanding the platform of choice for your target audience is an important aspect of building your influencer strategy. The most popular channels are Instagram, Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, and YouTube
When choosing the optimal social media channel for your strategy, it’s important to understand that each channel offers its own unique audience, differs in engagement and style, and has its own specific benefits. Whilst a particular platform may be useful for one brand, it might do nothing for another – and whilst one business might have meaningful engagement on a certain platform, another business will gain more traction on others. The best option is to invest where your audience is already present.
3 Authenticity of an influencer
Consumers are exhausted big-budget commercials being imposed on them. These commercials at times sugarcoat products, painting them in an overly positive light. The danger with this approach is when a product doesn’t live up to expectations, the consumer is mindful of the advertising campaign that led to their purchasing a product and associating the brand with disappointment.
Influencers on the other hand work in a similar way to word of mouth. When they post a picture enjoying a certain brand product, you don’t question the motive behind the post. As far as you are concerned, it is a person finding fulfillment in that particular product and you would also like to experience that feeling. For this reason, influencer marketing should be authentic and believable, there shouldn’t be an element of trying too hard. Authenticity attracts engagement, awareness, and brand recognition. When you see an influencer’s post of them enjoying a beverage with the caption, ‘yummy & refreshing’, the next time you go to buy a drink, you recall the post, brand & emotive experience of the post. Chances are you are likely to buy that beverage you saw on the post.
Finding influencers who represent a truly authentic match for brands and align with the brand’s expectations is a difficult but worthwhile task. Brands have realized that it makes better financial sense to negotiate long-term partnerships and that they chart a more efficient way of working with influencers, compared to one-off activities. Those that can nurture relationships with verified influencers over time will reap the rewards of content that comes across as organic, relatable, and trustworthy. This content will still have an impact long after the campaign has come to an end.