The meteoric rise of social media has had a major impact on marketing. Personal recommendations have always been a factor in ‘influencing’ consumers, but with the addition of social media platforms into the mix, personal recommendations have just been handed a global megaphone to spread the word.
When a Facebook or Twitter user sees that their friend had an incredible hotel stay, or they see their favourite celebrity wearing a dress that they like, this motivates buying intention. Brands and businesses are finding that Influencer Marketing is generating more sales than traditional advertising. According to Jeff Foster, the CEO of influencer marketplace Tomoson, businesses will see a $6.5 return on every $1 invested in Influencer Marketing.
Brands and businesses are scrambling to build relationships with influencers as a way of promoting their services and products on a global scale. New markets are opening all the time, and being conquered effectively by Influencer Marketing. One really interesting example is the trend by brands towards Muslim influencers in order to access a lucrative market.
Rocketing Dickie Bow Sales
Careers are being made from being an effective ‘influencer’. These are bloggers, vloggers and social media influencers who have given power to the consumers by creating authentic content about services and products. They do not just have lots of followers, they have genuine interest in and knowledge about the product or service they converse about.
Even without intent, people with a powerful social media presence are having positive affects on retailers. A simple example of this was a boost of sales in suits in Ireland in 2015, attributed by retailers to MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who has over 2.3 million Twitter followers.
Don’t worry, we aren’t saying that you need to try to get Oprah Winfrey to promote your company on her Facebook page. In fact, research shows that social influencers have a greater impact on consumers than celebrity endorsements. The factor that people enjoy about Influencer Marketing is storytelling. Consumers do not want to have one-size-fits-all information anymore, they want tailored, engaged messages.
All About Trust
Influencer Marketing has fundamentally changed the balance of power between retailers and consumers. One way that this is working is that consumers are choosing to be exposed to this information. It is not big news that people do not like or trust traditional advertisements.
Through Influencer Marketing, rather than being bombarded with advertising online, TV, or radio, the advertising is more subtly embedded in platforms that they are choosing to come to. It does not mean that consumers do not realise that brands are being advertised, but the product promotion is tucked nicely into whatever they are reading or watching, without interrupting their experience.
Be Your Own Influencer
There are many tools, companies and PR gurus who can connect businesses with the right social influencers.
- TRAACKR: This platform ranks influencers based on reach, relevance and resonance.
- SPEAKR: This site matching brands and influences focuses on influencer profiling, demographics and social interactions.
- ZOOMPH: This technical site uses tracking systems, searches and research on hash tags and conversations to find the right influencers for brands.
There are also a few do-it-yourself methods you can use to influence potential customers that your product or service is right for them. As discussed in our article on How To Stand Out On Social Media, you can build trust with consumers by being active and engaged on social media. If you see people online talking about your business or product, become a part of the conversation. Show consumers that you are passionate, dedicated and helpful.
Key Digital Marketing Tactic
I hear you groan “I have to do what now to help my business succeed?” I know, it’s a lot to take in. Search Engine Optimisation, keywords, branding, setting up social media sites, and now Influencer Marketing! The good news is that Influencer Marketing is not as untraditional as it sounds, and it should fit in really nicely with your Digital Marketing strategy, rather than feel like an extra task to do.
Some of the most commonly used approaches to Influencer Marketing include:
- Affiliate Links: Ask influencers to promote your product or service through their social media pages. You give them the ‘affiliate link’ (URL) to use, and you can track how many sales are made via this link, you do have to give them a cut of the profit though!
- Influencer Takeovers: Ask influencers to ‘take-over’ your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for the day. This strengthens your relationship with the influencer, and sends their traffic your way.
- Events: Invite the right people to a fantastic event that you are planning, such as a product launch.
Which Social Media Platform is Best?
As well as social media pillars such as Facebook and Twitter, influencers are making video an increasingly popular medium, with trends going toward the use of channels such as Snapchat and Periscope. Vine, Tumblr and Instagram are visual platforms that also have millions of members and subscribers, while YouTube still reigns strong in terms of social media influence. So which one should your business focus on? All of them. Brands that are using cross-platform approaches are getting the best Return on Investment, reinforcing their messaging and reaching bigger audiences than ever before.
If it all sounds a bit contrived to you, all you need to know is this – Influencer Marketing is rapidly gaining momentum and it is working.