When you’re shopping around for a product or service, how do you decide where to buy it from? For all of consumer history, people have sought advice on purchasing decisions from friends and family — trusted individuals within their social networks. Today isn’t much different, besides the fact that our social networks have grown to include not only the people we know in real life but also those whom we keep up with online.
Social media and other internet outlets have created a massive opportunity for companies to market their products within pockets of people with similar demographics or interests. This method makes identifying and accessing target markets easier, but it is also full of potential pitfalls, as it involves working with influential individuals who have their own established agendas.
This raises the question: how can businesses effectively utilize infuencer marketing while still maintaining authenticity and integrity?
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing capitalizes on the idea that we are most likely to turn to people we trust within our social networks for advice when making purchasing decisions. Even though social media influencers aren’t people we necessarily know well, their presence online makes us feel like we know them, and soon, we’re buying the laundry detergent they posted about, simply because they posted about it.
So, who are these people?
An influencer is anyone who has gained a following within a particular niche and who has the power to affect the purchasing behavior of others, either because of his or her authority, knowledge, or relationship with his or her audience.
These individuals are perfectly positioned for brands and businesses looking to gain recognition from consumers who fall within an influencer’s specific niche. Companies leverage the reach of influencers through co-creation of content or product endorsements. And it works.
Is it Worth Trying?
There are tons of statistics about the effectiveness of incorporating influencers into marketing strategies, and they speak for themselves.
For instance, 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective. The consumer’s perspective may be even more convincing: about 40% of people reported they purchased a product online after seeing it used or promoted by an influencer on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter.
Influencer marketing has significant appeal, and it has the potential to do a lot for businesses, both in terms of brand awareness and direct response (sales/conversions, lead generation, etc.). The benefits are alluring, but there are several factors to consider before diving in.
Tips for Incorporating Influencers into Your Marketing Strategy
As with any new marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to start by identifying your goals and KPI’s. Are you looking to increase your following on a specific social media channel? Is your hope to generate a certain number of sales directly from this source? Make your goals specific and measurable.
Another important consideration is your target market. Ask yourself if there is an online niche overlapping with that market, and see who is effectively reaching and engaging people within that crowd.
When searching for an influencer, you might think the person with the most followers has the farthest reach, but marketing with micro-influencers, that is, those with between 5,000 and 100,000 followers, is proven to have more conversions. These “smaller” influencers are more cost-effective, making them an ideal option for startups or those making their first partnerships with influencers. They also have highly specific niches and are better at engaging their audiences.
Finally, there are several different platforms to consider when searching for influencers. Instagram is a go-to, particularly for companies wishing to engage younger audiences. YouTube is an exceptional option because of its versatility and the engaging nature of video; when researching a purchase decision, 4 out of 5 millennials go to video content first.
The trend in utilizing the influence of online figures to market products has left some platforms so saturated with advertisements that users are beginning to tire of constantly being targeted for sales. When considering influencer marketing as an option for your brand, it’s important to consider whether there are existing influencers in your target niche whose style and content are also in line with your brand. That way, you can strategically place content that catches the eyes of potential clients or consumers without sacrificing authenticity.
At Deal Design, we are passionate about helping businesses communicate their unique message to the world in a way that resonates. Whether or not influencer marketing is an ingredient in the mix, we are here to help design and implement the best strategies for your brand.