94% of marketers from various industries reported that influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy, according to a recent Pardot study. Wikipedia defines influencer marketing as a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.
Influencer marketing is a departure from previous forms of marketing, which primarily focused on trying to reach large groups of consumers to promote and sell a product or brand. Instead, influencer marketing aims to attract key industry leaders to bring the brand to the larger market. These leaders are often social media mavens, respected thought-leaders, and well-known industry personalities that have the power to influence the purchase decisions of others.
The prevalence of influencer marketing has seen tremendous growth in the last few years as consumer trust has shifted. Previously, consumers were more apt to trust the official communications coming from brands themselves. However, as people have become less trusting of brand promises and social media has become more prevalent, consumers have begun placing more of their trust in word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews and recommendations. This has paved the way for influencer marketing because it has made the opinions of key industry leaders more valuable than ever before.
According to a Nielsen / TapInfluence study, Influencer marketing content delivers an ROI 11x higher than other forms of Digital. Yoputubers and celebrities have experienced surges in popularity and success by representing brands and products on social networks. These types of personalities represent one facet of influencer marketing that brands can tap into to leverage existing social audiences. There are also bloggers, columnists, dedicated brand ambassadors, athletes, inventors, and many other personalities that businesses can use to promote a brand.
By connecting with people trusted and admired by a target audience, brands can put their products and services in front of their audience in a way that feels more organic. This is the primary benefit of using influencer marketing. For marketers looking to launch a new product or promotion, contest, giveaway, or simply using a celebrity endorsement, taking an influencer marketing approach can be effective.
How to Get Started
- Strategy: The first step in planning an influencer marketing campaign is to identify who the influencers are for your target demographic. Narrowing in on a target market will help in identifying the best possible influencers. Marketing persona exercises can be very helpful.
- Team: It is critically important to select an influencer who meshes with your company’s assets and strengths. Therefore, you may need to hire an expert. Sometimes, it’s best to work with a marketing agency specializing in Influencer Marketing to help get started. For instance, if you plan on using a YouTube star to promote your brand but your company doesn’t have any familiarity with video production, it would be helpful to bring in an agency to get the program up and running.
- Plan: After the team and strategy are in place, it’s time to develop a formal marketing plan regarding the influencer campaign. First, create an outline of what the influencer will be promoting when, how this person will be compensated, how long the engagement will be, what kinds of incentives you can offer, which areas of the business you can tie in, and what you’ll measure to determine if the campaign is a success. Then create a plan which includes specific information about budgets, timelines, channels, campaigns and measurement.
- Launch: From here, you are ready to get started. Make sure the right tools are being used to create reports and always tweak and optimize campaigns, based on results.
What to Measure
The goal with influencer marketing is to achieve brand lift; but this can be difficult to measure. Ideally, an influencer marketing campaign should result in increased brand buzz on social media, measurable positive sentiment around your brand, and ultimately more conversions. When looking at individual metrics, this should manifest itself in more social media mentions, shares, and reactions, as well as increased site traffic and sales. There are plenty of tools available to help measure these metrics and a marketing agency will be able to provide these figures via regular reporting. For more information on measurement analytics for influencer marketing, check out this great article from Social Media Examiner.
If you’re looking to grow your business online, please contact the team at Kona Company today. We offer many years of digital marketing expertise across a wide range of industries and knowledge on all digital channels. Our skilled team of in-house marketers are ready to take your business to the next level.