These days, the power of influencer marketing is accepted as fact. I see proof of this every day on my Instagram feed and, as I scroll past pictures of beautiful girls clutching bags of (allegedly) fat-burning tea and hair-strengthening vitamins, I find myself wondering if there’s a better way.
Turns out, there is—and it doesn’t involve spending a small fortune to get a Kardashian to endorse your product.
Let’s explore the reality of influencer marketing, and find out how you can keep it more convincing than cheesy.
The State of Influencer Marketing
To get a better sense of influencer marketing in its current state, we’ll be looking to Linqia’s report, The State of Influencer Marketing 2017.
According to the report, a whopping 86 percent of marketers use influencer marketing, with 89 percent viewing the creation of authentic content as the primary benefit of doing so.
The prevalence of influencer marketing isn’t likely to wane, either, with 48 percent of survey respondents saying that their influencer marketing budget will increase in 2017.
Despite marketers’ willingness to invest in influencer marketing, 78 percent aren’t sure how to determine the return on investment (ROI) of their programs.
And, rather than measure their influencer marketing program’s success by dollars and cents, most marketers analyze engagement, traffic and reach to determine what’s working and what’s not.
Last but not least, it’s important to note which social media platforms marketers are using for influencer marketing.
The key takeaway from this report is that influencer marketing, while nearly ubiquitous, is still not understood nearly as well as it could be. Knowing this, it’s important to enter the world of influencer marketing with clear objectives and a measured approach.
Is Influencer Marketing Effective?
At this point, it’s easy to see that marketers view influencer marketing as a worthy investment. However, that still doesn’t tell us if influencer marketing is effective enough to deliver real, measurable changes.
Since influencer marketing is a relatively new concept, there isn’t a wealth of resources on its efficacy. However, a few key reports do provide us with valuable insights.
In a 2017 report, Collective Bias found that audiences exposed to influencer content spent 5.4 percent more than audiences who had not been exposed to influencer content.
Keep in mind, though, that not all influencers can leverage the same positive changes to your sales. In fact, data published by Markerly revealed that Instagram influencers with a follower base of approximately 1,000 received significantly higher engagement rates than did those with smaller or larger followings.
While those statistics may seem counterintuitive, it comes as less of a surprise that, according to a report by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, members of the Millennial and Centennial generations are most likely to be influenced by social media networks (namely Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter) when shopping.
Now that we’ve established the popularity and efficacy of influencer marketing, it’s time to talk about what you can do to make influencer marketing work for you.
We’ve talked about authenticity before, but it’s more important than ever in the realm of influencer marketing. Customers respond favorably to authentic content and, as we learned in the previous section, they engage with small influencers at far higher rates than they do with major celebrities.
So, when you’re planning your influencer marketing strategy, be sure to:
- Work with small influencers who have an engaged audience.
- Allow your influencers to inject their personality into branded posts.
- Highlight your product’s utility.
- Be honest—don’t ask your influencers to make any wild claims.
Don’t Forget to Measure
Before you start hiring influencers left and right, figure out how you’re going to measure each influencer’s impact. After all, the last thing you want is to get caught in a cycle of paying influencers and blindly hoping for results.
To measure the success of your influencer marketing programs, consider factors such as:
Choose the Right Platform
In the last chart of the previous section, we looked at the social media platforms that each generation is most influenced by. This is important because, while Facebook appears to be a great all-around choice, implementing influencer marketing campaigns on other platforms require a bit more thought.
To choose the right platform, you’ll need to start by analyzing your audience.
If your audience is mostly comprised of Centennials, give priority to:
If your audience is mostly comprised of Millennials, give priority to:
If your audience is mostly comprised of Gen Xers, give priority to:
And, if your audience is mostly comprised of Baby Boomers, give priority to:
With a thoughtful approach, a plan of action and an authentic voice, influencer marketing can be a great boon to your company. Just remember to know your audience, measure results and choose your influencers wisely (sorry, Kylie Jenner, maybe next time).
Does your company use influencer marketing? Have you found it to be useful? Let’s talk about it below!