Influencer Marketing: What’s in it for me?
Influencer marketing is the new term for brands that want to grow their businesses by reaching out to their target audience via opinion leaders who have significant followings on their social media platforms. These opinion leaders, also known as influencers, were naturally chosen as they have a huge online following. They are seen to be a lot more personal than celebrities but commanding the same amount of persuasive power.
Benefits of influencer marketing:
Influencers are an amalgamation of PR, content creation, creativity as well as having celebrity status at the same time. Most of the time, they come up with creative and innovative ways to reach out to their audiences and are thus more effective in communicating to the targeted audience.
A good example of this is the Canon Singapore influencer campaign where photography influencers have made a huge contribution to the sale of a camera by reaching out to an audience who no longer consume traditional media. Both Amateur and pro photographers no longer look at glossy magazines but through online platforms such as Instagram and flickr comparing results and capabilities between different cameras and also actively looking for reviews and opinions of the cameras and its accessories creating a much bigger interest resulting in a much larger amount of sales for Canon compared to if they have gone with traditional media.
Initially, the amount of success of such campaigns were measured by the number of views from each social media platform or channel. However, this outdated approach often used by radio and television platforms do not leverage on the two-way communication strengths that an online medium, such as YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, provides. Thus, many marketers are now trying different metrics to measure the different level of success a campaign has earned. With audiences increasingly becoming willing consumers of such forms of advertisements in these online platforms, what can possibly go wrong with this form of marketing strategy?
What went wrong?
Yet, one weakness to influencer marketing would be the lack of evaluation to measure the success of the marketing platform. There is an absence of measuring the impact within the framework or using an actual method of comparing the amount of sales due to the power of the influencer. The only metric available either happen to be the number of views or the level of engagement with their followers – and this has been the main selling point of the influencers with the amount of sales increasing drastically when influencer marketing was considered relatively new.
Unfortunately, this led to influencers demanding even more in their requests for payments and special requests. Payment has ballooned to near celebrity-like endorsements for influencers and this is coupled with other factors such as the autonomy these influencers have over their own content, which may be left unregulated at times or the controversial nature of this industry that may cause conflict among fellow bloggers or influencers, which is something brands would want to avoid.
However, this does not mean that influencer marketing should not be implemented as this is an effective way to reach out to the current younger generation who are socially active in these platforms. This is especially pertinent for certain niche groups that fall outside of the main demographic of mass marketing.
In fact, there are articles that explain why influencers as very essential:
1. 74% of consumers use social media to make purchase decisions (source)
2. 8 in 10 of the most influential people for teen audiences are YouTube stars which grows each year pushing traditional artists down the list (source)
3. 81 percent of marketers who have used social media influencers have deemed them to be effective (source)
4. 51% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing, because the relationship began with trust in the influencer (source)
5. A survey that shows that over 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands (source)
So how do you market using influencers without exceeding your spending?
1. Target new influencers: These are bloggers or YouTubers who have just started and moving into sponsored content. Although they may be inexperienced, they are willing and eager to start out in the industry. They are easier to work with as their branding are not as established and their content can be easily aligned with the client they are working with. Benefits include better negotiating position on cost and also being able to tap into newer audiences these influencers exert their influence on.
2. Work with proven influencers: These are influencers who have proven themselves in the industry with high engagement levels and impact in the market. Professional conduct is a must when working with them and they should be flagged immediately if they behaved otherwise.
3. Approach a group of influencers by proposing a collaboration: A way to increase the number of viewership of your marketing campaign is by increasing the number of influencers to participate in it. Although this may end up with and an overlap of audiences (audience who already watch both influencers) and thus viewership of the campaign may not increase as much, a way to counter this is by including YouTube collaboration videos where each influencer’s area of expertise can help the other in promoting and marketing the campaign’s content.
4. Using a talent agency: Talent agencies who specialise in influencers can help in recruiting the right influencers for the right marketing campaign. They remove the hassle of finding appropriate influencers, being able to organise shootings for the influencers and they bring up the level of quality in their work. One key benefit of using talent agencies is that they are able to find influencers willing to work within a price range.