Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on creating strategic messages and delivering those messages to individuals that have influence over your target audience. An influencer can be a blogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, journalist, a popular forum personality or even a retail sales associate.
Rather than the more traditional marketing approach of communicating directly to your target market, influencer marketing identifies and communicates with individuals that influence your target market’s purchasing decisions.
Influencer Marketing is a hybrid form of marketing. It combines traditional components of branding, public relations and celebrity endorsement and brings them all together in today’s digital and social world.
According to Chief Marketer, 75 percent of marketers are utilizing influencer marketing in some form.1 In a world where customers demand authenticity and seek meaningful brand experiences, influencer marketing can be a great tool to help you build your brand and business.
Here are 7 reasons why you should be using influencer marketing, right now.
- Influencer marketing builds brand credibility and trust.
- Integrated marketing works.
- Influencer marketing is niche marketing.
- Influencer marketing is cost-effective.
- Social media continues to grow.
- Influencer marketing is a great source for user-generated content.
- Influencer marketing is a great tool for content distribution.
1. Influencer marketing builds brand credibility and trust.
Bringing in strategic third parties, or influencers, can be very effective in building trust in your brand and credibility among your target audience. A customer may initially be wary of your product or service if it is new to them. If they see and hear about your brand from someone they already know and trust, an influencer, that customer is much more likely to be receptive to your brand.
People follow influencers because they like and trust them. They share the same interests and values. In many cases, similar to a celebrity endorsement, people aspire to be like the influencers they follow. When they see an influencer using a brand, it’s natural for them to want to use that brand as well, or at the least, to be motivated to learn more about it. An influencer endorsement gives your brand boosted credibility and trust with your target audience.
2. Integrated marketing works.
Integrated marketing is the strategic approach of unifying all the components of a marketing program so they work together, build upon one another and make each component stronger. Key messaging aligns across the various initiatives and marketing activities to form one cohesive and seamless marketing program that is very effective and gets results.
Strategic and well-executed influencer marketing programs reinforce the key messaging you are communicating in your advertising, public relations, content marketing and other programs. This makes each part stronger and more effective. When someone views an ad for your brand and then hears the same or a similar message from an influencer they trust, it can be very powerful in converting that person into a customer.
3. Influencer marketing is niche marketing.
Influencer marketing can be a very effective method to reach niche markets where more broad approaches can be inefficient or fall short. Influencers often become influencers because they are subject matter experts in a certain field, activity or category. They usually have something that they know a lot about or that they are really good at. They specialize, and therefore develop a following of like-minded people with similar interests.
Identifying influencers who’s specialization, or niche, directly relates to your brand, products or services, will uncover a following or segment of well-qualified potential customers that are interested in a subject that directly relates to your brand. A strategic influencer marketing program allows you to reach those specific segments of your target audience, with content that is very relevant to them.
4. Influencer marketing is cost-effective.
Influencer marketing can be very cost effective. Similar to public relations, there is some legwork required to do it right, but when it is done right, it can deliver returns that exponentially exceed the investment.
Influencer marketing is a relatively new marketing trend so the terms and agreements between companies and influencers are continually developing. In some cases, the only investment that may be required is time (in research, strategy, communications and management of the influencer marketing program), and some freebies (product, service, travel, etc). In other cases, typically with influencers with larger followings, some type of monetary payment or other terms may be required.
Classifications of influencers commonly used:
- Mega-influencers – celebrity status with 1,000,000+ followers
- Macro-influencers – 100,000 – 1,000,000 followers.
- Micro-influencers – 1,000 to 100,000 followers.
- Nano-influencers – less than 1,000 followers.
While reach is an important consideration in an influencer marketing program, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an influencer-marketing program comprised of micro- and nano-influencers couldn’t be very strategic and cost-effective. Your brand, offerings, audiences and other considerations can help determine what influencers are appropriate. In some cases, a relatively small following can be a good thing, providing a more targeted audience.
5. Social media continues to grow.
According to Brandwatch, there are 3.397 billion active social media users that have an average of 7.6 social media accounts and spend an average of 116 minutes a day on social media channels.2 The emergence of influencer marketing is a result of the growth and advancement of social media. As social media continues to grow and develop, so will the role that influencer marketing plays in strategic marketing programs.
6. Influencer marketing is a great source for user-generated content.
Influencers become influencers because they develop and share great content — content that their followers find valuable and can relate to. Leveraging influencer marketing relationships to take advantage of user-generated content can be a great way to efficiently develop content to supplement your social media programs. Followers typically like and engage with user-generated content because it’s real and authentic.
7. Influencer marketing is a great tool for content distribution.
An important component of a successful content marketing program is content distribution. Most likely, you are allocating resources to develop great content. (If you’re not, you should be. Here’s an article about why you need to be creating great content.) Influencers can be great outlets for distributing the content you invest in to maximize your ROI.
Final Thoughts on Influencer Marketing
The importance of influencer marketing for brands will continue to grow as customers demand authenticity and seek out engaging brand experiences. Influencer marketing can be a strategic and cost-effective component in your marketing program to help you build your brand and your business.