The purpose of companies is to create value for their key stakeholders, but especially their consumers. As such, companies need to figure out ways to reach those consumers through their marketing initiatives.
“Today’s consumers are significantly more clever than those of yesteryear,” says Scott Bartnick, co-founder and CEO of Otter Public Relations. “They are not as easily convinced by overtly ‘sales-y’ language and often take longer to decide on a purchase.”
As advertisement strategies have shifted, a relatively new avenue has emerged that many companies have yet to fully take advantage of: influencer marketing. With social media platforms now a norm, being readily accessible from everyone’s phone and serving as routine forms of communication and entertainment, social media influencers have arisen as a new type of modern celebrity.
“With their large and engaged followings, these influencers have the power to shape opinions, trends, and even consumers’ purchasing decisions,” adds Bartnick.
As its name implies, influencer marketing is a form of marketing that entails collaboration with social media influencers to promote a brand or product. Influencers are individuals who have a large following of engaged social media followers, and because of their genuine approach to creating organic content, their followers often deem them experts in their niche.
“For example, let’s say a mom influencer with over 20,000 followers and an engagement rate of 5-6% on Instagram shares one product that helps her baby sleep,” Bartnick says. “For reference, most people queue 1-3 % engagement rate. From those numbers, that product could potentially sell out within a couple of hours. But for larger influencers with more followers and higher engagement rates, that same product can sell out in as little as a few minutes.”
The concept of influencer marketing is simple: a brand collaborates with an influencer to create content that promotes their product or service. This can take many forms, from sponsored posts on Instagram to product reviews on YouTube. The goal is to leverage the influencer’s following and influence to reach a wider audience and generate interest in the brand.
Trust is power
The most important aspect of influencer marketing is the relationship between influencers and their followers. Unlike TV or Hollywood celebrities — who often appear unattainable and disconnected — influencers are often seen as relatable and approachable. They have built their following through their content, personality, and expertise, and their followers trust their opinion and recommendations.
“This trust is what makes influencer marketing so effective,” Bartnick explains. “When an influencer recommends a product or branch, it’s like a friend is recommending it. Before social media, consumers used to go to their family and friends for recommendations. Now, they can just go to their favorite influencers.”
Tips for successful influencer marketing
Influencer marketing can be more cost-effective than other traditional forms of marketing, making it more accessible for all kinds of businesses. “Since influencers are experts in a specific niche, their followers could be your targeted audience that you need to reach,” Bartnick says. “The ability to reach a highly targeted audience helps businesses easily gain increased exposure.”
While influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for growing your business, it’s important to approach it strategically. Here are a few tips for a successful influencer marketing campaign:
- Define your goals: You need to consider the purpose of incorporating influencer marketing in your overall marketing strategy.
- Choose the right influencer: Do your homework and make sure the influencer you want to work with has access to the audience you’re looking to attract.
- Collaborate on content: Don’t give the influencer free reign on how to promote your product or brand. Work with the influencer to create a content brief that outlines the key messaging, objectives, and guidelines for the campaign.
- Disclose sponsored content: It’s best practice for you and the influencer to disclose that the content is a paid ad. Consumers don’t want to feel as if they’re being played, and this sentiment could not only ruin the influencer’s reputation, but also yours in return.
- Track and measure results: Use all the available marketing insight tools to determine the ROI of the campaign and make informed decisions based on that data for future campaigns.
“Marketing is about understanding the consumers’ needs and presenting them with a solution,” Bartnick clarifies. “It’s about knowing where they’re going and being there waiting for them.” Today’s marketing landscape is one heavily focused on organic outreach, and the best way to achieve growth in this way is to work with your consumers’ favorite influencers.
As Philip Kotler, the father of marketing, has mentioned, “Marketing is the collection of human activities aimed at facilitating and consummating exchanges.” Influencers help their audience by finding ways to understand their needs and providing them with better, more personalized solutions.