If you have a healthy social media appetite, you will be familiar with “the influencer” in their native environment.
But what is “influencer marketing”, exactly?
Simply put: it is the concept that the most effective way to present a brand’s message to an interested audience is to do so using a voice the audience inherently trusts.
After all, people don’t trust ads anymore, but they do trust people.
But let’s start at the very beginning. As traditional advertising paradigms shifted to accommodate the social media world, marketers soon became aware that consumers were actually looking to each other to inform purchasing behaviours more often than they were looking to the brands directly.
More often than advertisers in particular were willing to admit, the people and personalities social media users watched most closely tended to have greater reach and more meaningful impact with these audiences than the big brands could ever dreamt of inspiring!
From here it was only logical for marketers to seek to orientate activity around these high visibility individuals (celebrities, personalities, journalists, public identities, industry experts, even brand fans etc) and in effect turn them into “brand advocates”.
They had cracked it: an all new way to connect with consumers more directly, more organically, more meaningfully and at scale!
Some local examples: Kayla Itsines (fitspo), Lauren Curtis (beauty), Bondi Hipsters (comedy), Nikki Phillips (lifestyle).
On a practical level, influencer marketing is all about selecting the right influencer with the right audience for your brand, and nurturing a relationship.
But how do they “influence”?
- They write a blog or article about you (on your website or theirs)
- They share information/photos/reviews/”plug” about you on their social media account(s)
- They allow you to produce content for their website/blog/social media account(s) (aka: “guest post”)
- They “Like” your content
Sounds simple, however, the benefit is significant.
Some recent stats for consideration:
- 74% of consumers use social media to make purchase decisions.
- 8 in 10 of the most influential people for teen audiences are YouTube stars. That number keeps growing every year, pushing traditional celebrities further down the list.
- 81% of marketers who have used influencer marketing judged it to be effective.
- 37% better retention is reported for customer acquired through word-of-mouth advertising.
- 59% of marketers will increase influencer marketing budgets in 2016.
- 93% of marketing professionals are getting results in improving visibility through influencer engagement strategies.
- 84% of marketers and PR professionals globally plan to leverage influencers in 2016.
- 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source.
- 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
- 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising.
- Marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.
- 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions.
- 78% of brands increased their content output in the last two years but average content engagement decreased by 60%. Basically, content marketing really needs influencer marketing to succeed.
- 67% of marketing professionals identify content promotion as the main benefit obtained from working with influencers.
- 59% of marketers use influencer engagement campaigns for product launches and content creation.
- 69% of professionals identify blogs as most effective content to leverage a collaboration with influencers.
- 69% of marketing professionals don’t really pay the influencers they work with.
- 75% of professionals consider identifying the right influencer for their brand to be their biggest challenge.
- 39% of professionals use social media monitoring tools to find influencers.
- 77% of influencers say they’re more likely to buy from their sponsors, becoming brand evangelists that way.