Marketing is such a dynamic industry that the “in thing” from a year ago, is now just a wisp of a memory. It is essential to have an ear to the ground at all times. Following our customers is simply not enough – we always need to stay one step ahead of them.
The beginning of a new year provides the ideal opportunity to identify, find and adapt to the latest trends.
Observing and acting on the latest trends in time can be challenging. Each year we hear marketing experts predict plausible trends, and the year passes with no action from our end. That could be the case because we don’t find enough evidence to support the trend and convince executives of its necessity, or because we can’t find the time and resources necessary to pursue it.
In 2017, one thing is certain: influencer marketing will rise in demand.
What exactly is Influencer Marketing?
Unlike classical marketing, influencer marketing is more niche; focused on a specific person, group or brand, rather than a wider target audience. For a company that implements this form of marketing, it’s important to provide the influencer a quality product that he/she would want to promote. Then, on the basis of an agreement, the influencer will introduce his/her community to the product, providing the brand with advertising and publicity, and increasing brand awareness and consequently sales.
You can also use micro-influencer marketing to reach your audience.
How it works
How to find influencers to reach your audience?
First find a platform where people discuss your brand, your competitors or other topics of interest to you, and keep tabs on it. This is much easier to do with a monitoring tool, like Brand24. Not only will the tool monitor multiple platforms, but report to your interesting mentions specifying the platform where each mention was made, person who made the mention and his/her reach.
Then, having prepared a strategy and a list of objectives, you can contact a specific person, group or brand, present mutual benefits and initiate an influencer marketing project.
It is important to have clear objectives. Influencer marketing relies heavily on building a strong relationship, and you need to be proactive in building one.
Why influencer marketing is worthy of your attention
Traditional advertising no longer works
Did you know that advertising is the second oldest occupation in the world? After many centuries of effective action, it seems that in the XXI century, its efficiency is lower than ever. We are immune to trivial, common advertising messages. We omit them in the public space, and ignore the press. Online pop-ups annoy us so we use an Adblock, which lets us use the network without banner ads. As indicated by Nielsen: 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads. Daniel Newman, digital transformation expert and Forbes contributor claims that traditional advertising does not work anymore. People have not stopped buying things, but how and why they buy those things have changed.
This is particularly evident among millennials – people for whom surfing the internet is as natural as breathing. What we can observe about them is that different sources influence their online choices and advertising is not one of them.
Before purchasing a product, they tend to check if any of their friends has recommend it and if their favorite blogger or YouTuber has anything to say about it. Influencer marketing has huge potential, which can perfectly meet brands’ demands, and not only of those that want to reach millennials.
Your competition is already on it (or will be shortly)
As indicated in the TapInfluence report, 84% of marketers are planning an influencer marketing campaign in 2017. This means that after several years of momentum, influencer marketing has finally gained impetus. Marketers are not only appreciating it as a phenomenon, but realistically implementing it in their strategies.
As indicated in the report, the top companies and agencies are just learning of the effective use of influencer marketing. People still need proof that influencer marketing can impact their bottom line.
Year 2017 promises to be one in which the effectiveness of influencer marketing will be backed up with hard data..
It does not cost much
Facilitation of an influencer marketing program can also be a great challenge. Remember, however, that influencer marketing doesn’t need a big budget (of course, provided it’s not a star like Julia Roberts who advertises your products). What counts more is creativity, thinking smart and out-of-the box.
The goal is to get through to a particular group or a person. Any number of communication channels and messages can be used. You need to reach out, surprise and get noticed. Remember, however, that the practise should benefit both parties. Even if you do not have a budget of $ 1M, you may want to think of personalizing the communication. Prepare your product in such a way, that the recipient can feel that you have earned their positive opinion. It may not be easy, but it’s certainly worth a try.
People trust opinion leaders more than friends
I realize how controversial this may sound. The fact that people trust in recommendations more than in advertising is already widely known. However, recent studies presented in the book Influencer Marketing in Practice, show something rather surprising. In the decision-making process, people are beginning to trust industry experts more than their own family and friends. A few years ago, the enormous potential of recommendations was also shown in Nielsen’s report.
You could connect with influencers, or run an employee advocacy program on a platform that also doubles up as a content curation app. With top industry content curated, you can prompt your employee advocates to share and position them as experts that their friends will be likely to follow.
Experts, bloggers and YouTubers build their authority on the basis of knowledge and experience, but also their personality, charisma and original ideas for presenting themselves and their business. They stand out, they provide innovative content and that is how they build their reach and authority.
The line between an Influencer and a blogger is thin. When one becomes an influencer is difficult to predict as it doesn’t depend on the influencer himself/herself. It is the audience that decides to follow, to like, to observe and to trust an online persona. As a consequence, influencer’s recommendations gain credibility.
Influencer marketing is based on mutual benefits. When inviting influencers to work with us, we need to show them that money might be one, but not the only incentive. It may happen that the influencer, or company, is so pleased with how the given company operates, that they become (voluntarily or by encouragement) brand ambassadors.
Influencer marketing is growing at lightning speed. It can actually convert into sales and bring tangible profits. Join the game and enjoy it as soon as possible or it’ll go on without you.
Magdalena Urbaniak is Global Community Manager at Brand24, a top social media monitoring tool that offers complete influencer marketing support – from identification of influencers to initiating and managing relationships with them.