In 2016, few marketing trends saw a bigger jump in relevance than influencer marketing. Given the ever-growing popularity of ad blockers, (which continue to be adopted at a high rate) and a steady decline in the number of traditional television viewers, more and more marketers are turning to storytelling in an effort to expand their reach. The results thus far have been quite promising. Consumer to consumer word-of-mouth driven by influencer marketing campaigns are easily capable of generating twice as many sales as traditional paid advertising.
Influencer marketing relies on key leaders to deliver your brand’s message to their audiences. The goal is to reach audiences that you otherwise might have been unable to reach, all in a less obtrusive manner than traditional advertising. Somewhere between testimonial and product placement, this technique uses the influencer to spread the good word about your product instead of selling directly to a large number of consumers.
Given the generally negative sentiment towards commercials and the ease with which millions of consumers circumvent traditional ads, the need for a more subtle approach has emerged. Rather than subjecting themselves to obvious sales pitches, users can now casually learn about products and brands as they scroll through their social media feeds. Your message is amplified and made more effective this way, especially when mentioned by someone the user truly respects or wishes to emulate.
The number of businesses using influencer marketing is set to skyrocket in 2017. A recent study revealed that more than 80% of marketing professionals around the globe expect to launch at least one influencer-driven campaign within the calendar year. Point is, this isn’t just some fad that’s fading away. But, before you dive in and start crafting your next winning campaign, there are a few things you should know about influencer marketing.
Working with an influencer can be looked at like a partnership. Both parties want the other to succeed, but the concerns may not always be the same. Above all, you’re looking to garner leads and sell your brand. On the other hand, influencers want to avoid compromising their image or damaging their integrity in any way. Working through these concerns is necessary before deciding how the actual content to be featured will be created.
The content creation process can certainly be a little bit more complicated than traditional campaigns. Some brands want to oversee every detail while others choose to give influencers almost complete artistic freedom. Your best bet probably falls somewhere in between, keeping the message brand relevant while allowing the influencer to sound natural. If the influencer is free to improvise or add their own touch to the proceedings, the reception from their audience will almost always be warmer. As a partner, be prepared to have confidence in the relationship you are cultivating.
Access to Influencers
Never before have people of influence been so abundant and readily available to contact. This is exciting news for marketers looking to incorporate influencers into their strategy. Because the ever-growing role of social media in our lives has multiplied the number of people with significant followers, the options available for you and your business are endless. Consider shifting your focus from a single influencer and start targeting numerous individuals, including those with niche followings. These can pay off in big ways down the road. The timing couldn’t be better as the options at your disposal in 2017 will dwarf what was available only two years ago.
Diversity and flexibility need to be included in any influencer marketing campaign you initiate. It is no longer enough to focus an entire campaign around a single social media platform. After all, a majority of users tend to follow their favorite influencers across multiple channels. In order to effectively position yourself to attract these new consumers, your strategy will need to include cross-platform tactics and tailored content for each unique channel. Failing to consider this will hinder any potential growth you might experience.
As influencer marketing grew in popularity and was adopted by more and more companies, it was only a matter of time before new regulations were applied to the technique. Starting last year, the Federal Trade Commission began to outline their expectations for disclosing sponsored content, holding businesses and influencers alike accountable their partnerships. Because these regulations are so new, many marketers aren’t aware of their existence or their specific requirements. In the new year, be sure to familiarize yourself with the new rules surrounding influencer marketing to avoid any sort of backlash or penalty. The new guidelines are constantly changing, so check for updates frequently.
Good advice for any campaign you might undertake, but especially for one centered around an influencer: clearly define your end goal at the beginning. Whether it’s conversion-based or focused on increasing traffic, the metrics by which you will measure success should be understood from the start. Transparency is key, so you should share your goals with the influencer you are working with. When both sides clearly understand the purpose of the campaign, you can expect truly great results!
While it is still a relatively new addition to strategies everywhere, influencer marketing will be a necessary tool for years to come. Consider the tips we’ve outlined and get started on your game-changing campaign today!