More and more, we see collaborative publications. The photos, videos and posts of “ordinary” people now often feature well-known brands. And vice versa. Well, watch out because these are no ordinary people and their publications are the new way which brands have found to make contact with their public in a seemingly natural way. Who are these people? What do brands get out of them? How does it all work? Welcome to influencer marketing.
In the coming weeks we will be rolling out a three-part guide to explain to you what Influencer Marketing is, its advantages and how you can adapt it to your business. We have also spoken with some of Spain’s top influencers so that they could tell us their experience. And we’ve done so to help you to work out how to choose the right influencer for your brand, and how to plan an influencer marketing campaign in order to get the best out of it, gauge the impact, revise the details and perfect the experience.
What is Influencer Marketing?
We have previously spoken about the change generated by social networks upon the way we find out about brands and buy products. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report 2015 83% of consumers fully trust recommendations made by friends and family, and 66% say that they trust the opinions that other users post online. There are, however, people who have developed their reputation online, who have gained the trust of their followers and built a community around themselves which has allowed them to move up a notch in the hierarchy of social networks. They have taken the step from being users to being influencers.
For the most avid professionals, the appearance of Influencers on social media means a great opportunity to reach their public in a more organic and less aggressive way. By associating themselves with the right people, brands can generate quality content and amplify their message in order to get to their target audience via a genuinely trusted channel.
Advantages of Influencer Marketing
It is “native” advertising
In recent years, the saturation of advertising in traditional media and particularly on the internet has led to what is known as banner blindness: the ability of consumers to not see or not register the ads which bombard them day in, day out. A study by Infolinks suggests that 86% of consumers experience banner blindness, indicating that only 14% of those surveyed could remember the last ad which they had seen, the brand and the product being advertised.
Native Advertising involves creating content, in association with a certain publication, which will not be perceived as invasive advertising. It will instead fit in a natural way with the content of the publication, thus overcoming consumer resistance towards direct, invasive advertising and presenting itself as information of interest to the public.
This is the play field of Influencer Marketing.
It is a technique on the increase
One of the defining characteristics of influencers is to be early adopters, giving them various advantages and authority on the topics which they specialise in. In the same way, the brands who are quick to pick up on trends can enjoy their benefits.
Influencer Marketing is a technique which, while proven to be effective, is still in development stages. It is a territory which has so far been explored only by brands who dare to take risks. For this reason, it is these brands who have enjoyed a higher conversion rate and the best gains in turnover and reputation.
The following graph from Google Trends shows the increase since 2014 in the search term “Influencers Marketing”.
In 2014, a post by an influencer to promote a brand could have cost $400. Nowadays, this figure can reach $80,000 and remains on the up. In this way, the brands who are first to get involved with this (as yet) new trend will be the ones to get better returns at better prices than those brands who will later find a market saturated with sponsored posts at a higher price.
Improve your reputation
Many influencers provide a voice of authority within the sector of your brand and are also trusted by consumers. Associating your brand with such profiles often leads to a transference of values, in the eyes of consumers, from individual profiles to brands.
When an influencer speaks highly of your brand, they are not just validating the quality of your product or service but also legitimising your strategy for reaching customers. In the practice of Influencer Marketing, it is very important to clarify that there exists an agreement between the brand and the individual who is promoting it. This agreement is seen by internet users as two parties who have opted to work together and is beneficial for your online reputation when we consider the deterioration in the public perception of traditional advertising, signalled in recent years by the surge in internet adblockers.
A better online reputation nicely leads us to our next point …
More loyalty and increased conversion
According to Dedicated Media, users’ expressed intention to buy is 36% higher when it comes to native advertising. And this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding conversion indexes for Influencer Marketing.
One of the main advantages of this method is the ability to negotiate directly with the influencer about the parameters of the campaign. These may include, beyond a product trial and recommendation: a link to the online shop; a call to action; even the organisation of competitions and raffles which lead to increased traffic to your website, increased brand loyalty and, consequently, higher sales levels.
But that’s not all.
Improve your SEO
A good online reputation isn’t worth much if people aren’t able to find your brand on the web’s most popular search engines.
According to The Social Media Revolution and their book Socialnomics, a search for the 20 biggest brands in the world yields results from which 25% link to user-generated content. When a marketing strategy involves the generation of content by influencers, regular users tend to echo this. This means that your brand gets more mentions, making it more relevant within the search engine and to the public at large.
In its early days, Influencer Marketing focused on blogs as these were the most personalised content-platforms at the time. It’s come a long way since then.
The natural evolution of online networks saw bloggers moving to new platforms – most commonly Instagram or Twitter, depending on their area of expertise. It was a gradual shift but nowadays it is undoubtable that Instagram claims the title as network-of-choice for influencers belonging to the worlds of fashion, food and travel.
In contrast to blogs, one platform which has not lost its shine with the arrival of new influencers is YouTube. Perhaps this is related to the fact that it is the second most-used search engine on the web, or that it has given rise to a new type of celebrities.
More recently, there are a couple of platforms which have boomed, providing a breeding ground for new influencers: Snapchat and Periscope. The fact that there are so few marketing specialists investing in them means that they could be an area of great opportunity.
Campaigns which inspire
How do you let the world know that your label has created one of the must-have pieces of the season? You get 50 fashion influencers to wear the same Lord&Taylor dress and upload their photos to Instagram almost simultaneously.
Working with an influencer means gaining a position in their followers’ top-of-mind. Working with 50 simultaneously means definitively placing your piece on the market and selling all the dresses over one weekend.
The US brand decided to battle against the supremacy of Christmas cookies. It invited some of the most followed Mom food-bloggers to decorate its chicken nuggets as if they were Christmas cookies and then to share their creations on various social networks. The campaign reached 8.8 million hits, over-performing its initial target by 70% and selling all of the season’s nuggets in just four weeks.
Stay tuned! In the next post on Influencer Marketing, we’ll tell you what we spoke about when we met some of Spain’s top influencers. We’ll also outline how to plan an effective strategy for your brand by associating yourself with the most suitable influencers for you and how to go about finding them.
Do you have experience working with influencers? Tell me all about it in the comments section below!