This is Why Your Business Needs to Use Influencer Marketing

Posted on 7/19/18 9:00 AM by Stephanie Beasse

In the past few years, there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding influencers and influencer marketing – and for good reason. Those social media experts are predicted to take the global online advertising industry by storm, poised to become $5 to $10-billion dollar enterprise unto themselves by 2020. Why does this matter? Because influencer marketing could be your business' new secret weapon!

Read more about the 3 reasons your organization should be using influencer marketing:

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Influencer Marketing (IM) is a form of marketing where brands partner with an individual who already has a built-in audience and appeal in a particular niche. The two parties then work together to promote the company's services.

An influencer is usually someone that creates content on various social media platforms, sharing them with a large group of followers in the process. Besides generating photo, video or print content, they're expected to engage with online consumers and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry.

There has been a major shift away from television advertisements with the rise of online influencer content, with the average adult predicted to spend more time on their mobile device than watching TV in 2019. Increased traffic on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and so on means that reaching fragmented groups of consumers has never been more important.

Online influencers have also become a more cost-effective alternative to the more traditional celebrity endorsement. With millions of followers who feel more able to relate to streaming and social media stars, marketers should try and include them when constructing a brand strategy.

Bottom line: Don't fall behind on the IM trend.

Here are 3 big reasons why an influencer’s presence would benefit your organization’s marketing plan:

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Increase Brand Awareness

Influencers can have anywhere between 1,000 to 10 million followers that are engaged and share the same values or interests as them. When they partner with brands to promote a service, they reach a more targeted audience, something that isn’t really possible with television ads.

Utilizing an influencer’s reach can significantly increase your brand’s impressions but, to get the most value out of that engagement, choosing someone who connects with your organization’s mission and values is crucial. The last thing your business wants is to be promoting your company through an influencer that won’t get through to your audience.

Choosing an influencer solely for their follower count can seem tempting but it will be less effective in the long-run because you won’t be targeting your core audience as effectively. That’s where micro-influencers can be of value.

Micro-influencers are influencers that have a smaller number of followers, ranging anywhere between a few hundred to tens of thousands, who generally post about niche subjects. Despite that smaller number of followers, they will almost always have higher engagement levels, which is beneficial when targeting a more specific audience. There’s little point in creating marketing material for a super large audience that doesn’t care about your service; chances are they won’t even remember what he or she said.

IM is extremely useful for raising brand awareness – as long as you’re being strategic in your approach.

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Create Authentic Content

Influencers are content creators that form bonds with their followers, ones that are far stronger than most mainstream celebrities will create with broad scopes of fans. According to an article by Forbes, 92% of consumers trust influencers more than traditional advertisements or celebrity endorsements.

The bond between influencer and consumer is like a friendship; Millennials are constantly looking to their favorite influencers for advice on where to go, what to eat and what to buy. It’s word-of-mouth marketing at its finest.

Not only are influencers more trustworthy, they also create more authentic content. Authentic content is content that is perceived as genuine and useful. Nowadays, consumers are doing more research when making a purchase, and influencers guide them through their decision by providing inspiration, advice, and recommendations.

Their content is unique to their personalities and feels way more genuine than a Selena Gomez Pantene commercial. An influencer will take photos, produce videos, and write scripts – mostly themselves or with some professional help. The fact that they produce most of their own content makes them more approachable and genuine than celebrities.

Brands can partner with influencers to create influencer-generated content (IGC), which means that the online personality has control over what they’re producing. IGC is more personable than giving an influencer a script to follow or specific content guidelines. It also appeals more to the influencer’s following, A.K.A. who you’re targeting.

Another thing to remember regarding authentic content is transparency. The last thing you want to do is mislead your audience – it’s actually illegal. FTC Guidelines require all influencers to disclose that they are doing a sponsored ad. You can do that by simply saying it and/or having #ad #sponsorship hashtags in the content description.

You can even do something fancy like #InfluencerXBrand. It’s all up to you, as long as it’s clear that the influencer is getting paid to talk about your service.

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Produce a High ROI

At this point, you’re probably wondering, “Okay, but how much will this cost and what kind of return on investment will I see?”

Let’s start with the first part: how much will it cost? The great thing about IM is that you can tailor it to fit your budget and requirements. Even if you’re a small business, you can partner with a micro-influencer that will cost way less than large-scale influencers.

Other cost factors will be the amount of content they produce, whether it’s for the short-term or long-term (i.e. – how long the partnership is), and what kind of content they create (e.g - Instagram posts, blog posts, YouTube videos, etc.).

Will I get any returns on my investment? The answer: YES!

The average earned media value per $1 spent on IM is $7.65. The reason IM works so well is that you can target niche markets way easier. Niche markets are fiercely loyal and once you’re able to connect with them, with the help of influencers, they can easily convert to loyal clients.

That doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and rainbows. It can be a challenge to accurately measure ROI, especially if you’re looking at a small sample size in terms of time. First, you need to set your objectives and determine your goals for the campaign. Do you want to raise awareness? Convert leads? Or something in between?

Then, you need to choose the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure your content’s engagement with the targeted audience. You can use various tactics to measure your performance, such as promotional codes, tracking pixels or the amount of clicks within a specific timeframe or geographical location.

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With the move away from more traditional media, such as television, and more and more time being spent in cyberspace or on one’s smartphone, marketers need to leverage this commitment to online content with the use of IM. If you choose your star well, they can help you expand your brand’s reach in the digital world, while also increasing your marketing team’s ROI and overall content engagement. Done well over time, this strategy will take your business to new heights.

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