Influencers and Brand Ambassadors have been around the same time as brands. From David Beckham with Pepsi, H&M and Haig Whiskey, just touching on endorsement deals which banked him £11m in revenue in 2016 (Forbes). Kim Kardashian has endorsed brands including Sketchers, OPI and Midori Liqueur just to name a few and even being paid fees of $300,000 to attend a New Years Party at 1Oak, Vegas a couple of years back. Even Elvis was a great tool for a small business owner in the only product he ever endorsed, Southern Maid Donuts.
What influencers have, is something that brands and marketing companies need. They have the power to promote to their already connected audience. In an age where business and lifestyle are changing and we see a direct move from traditional marketing to digital marketing in order for businesses to be able to market efficiently and now globally they need to have a digital marketing strategy. Within that strategy, it should include influencer marketing.
We have just outlined global superstars and their endorsements in exchange for use of their influence. They’re working with global Fortune 500 companies with millions of dollars or pounds to spend on their marketing budget, what happens if you’re a brand who doesn’t quite have that budget? Or you are a brand with this budget and want to reach even more specifically targeted customers?
The majority of digital influencers are millennials. Today’s social media stars are adept at creating highly engaging content that speaks to young consumers. Attracting their priorities, interests as well as their concerns. Unlike known celebrities like your musicians, film stars and sports personalities, millennial influencers speak to and develop relationships with their followers. Treating them like peers. This makes them more engaging than celebrities when making recommendations.
There’s a new wave of influencers that brands from start-ups to globally recognised names are working with to create mutually beneficial partnerships to market products and services to a really specific market. In fact, in a recent global study, 75% of brands currently use influencer marketing and 59% of these brands are increasing their budget towards influencer marketing over the next year. If you’re not part of that you really need to be asking yourself why?
People do not trust brands. There we said it. The reason you NEED influencers as part of your marketing strategy is that your customers trust these influencers.
Still struggling to see how beneficial influencer marketing is over traditional marketing? This is our favourite diagram to explain it.Every £1 spent on influencer marketing generates on average £15 return for brands. Click To Tweet
For every £1 spent on traditional marketing, businesses on average, generate £2 back in revenue. For every £1 spent on influencer marketing, businesses on average, generate £15 back in revenue.
Here at ELLEfluence, we pride ourselves on our figures which superseded the research figures and have a £27 average return on every £1 spent on our campaigns.
Now that we have established the basics, we are now going to talk about the benefits of working with influencers.
Increase in Reach
Whilst traditional print and television advertisements have struggled to reach an ‘unreachable’ audience of Millennials and the younger generation as 84% do not like forced advertising. 56% of Millennials believe that news and posts shared by friends on social media are more trustworthy than brand websites (McCarthy Group)
Influencer marketing reaches these ‘unreachables’ and thrives through using blogging, vlogging and social media. Through successful influencer marketing campaigns, brands are able to reach coveted younger generations through creating sponsored content that the audience can trust.
In short, consumers are more likely to trust reviews when they believe that they share similar views and qualities with the reviewer.
Through reaching potential customers using an influencer’s follower base as a vehicle can only bring positive value to your brand. Of course, traffic and followers are only meaningful if they align with your brand and your target demographic.
Ever seen ‘brand advocates’ or ‘brand ambassadors’, savvy brands (and digital marketing companies behind these campaigns) are converting everyday millennial influencers into these advocates, these are consumers who believe in a company’s product or service enough to endorse the brand on a long term basis.74% of millennials believe their recommendations can influence purchasing decisions. Click To Tweet
In a recent study by Edelman who specialise in marketing research, their findings discovered that 74% of millennials believe their recommendations could inspire purchasing decisions of their peers and even other generations (like their Baby Boomer parents). Currently the 18-to 34-year old demographic inherits more purchasing power (already an estimated $1.3 trillion, according to Social Media Week) than other generations, therefore brands are unable to miss out on a slice of that pie.
As their opinion is valued, these so-called “alpha-influencers” are also more likely to share their voice and opinion of their favourite brands countless times, with people in their circles. This furthers the reach and builds recommended trust.
They know their audience
When an influencer builds their following or tribe, they gain a loyal fan base. Their audience chooses to follow these influencers based on their views and beliefs. They follow them as they like their content and want to engage with them. They have a direct, authentic and organic connection to your customers.
Everybody likes to buy, nobody likes to be sold to. With that in mind, the influencers’ audience is already engaged in purchasing, they purchase on recommendations and trust. Yes, influencers often have a lot of sponsored posts, these though, are embedded between genuine content. Their content of sponsored posts flow perfectly through their organic media and they use a trusted voice to connect and recommend your brand alongside narrate their lives through their social channels, vlogs and blogs.
Consumers and customers listen to influencers more so than they listen to brands.
Through engaging with influencer marketing you can create almost a direct connection with specifically targeted potential customers. Engaging with multiple influencers allows you as a brand to tap into different audiences.
A recent Goldman Sach’s study found that over one-third of 18- to 35-year-olds look to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat for recommendations when making purchasing decisions.
Working with influencers who align with your brand also increases visibility, which of course is one of the main benefactors when it comes to implementing an influencer marketing strategy. Another benefactor is for SEO purposes and inbound link building which is great for Search Engine rankings. These are earned through the content in which your influencers post, something which ads cannot do. Not only that influencers are able to drive social media following to your pages, send traffic and leads to your site and help grow your brand identity.
As influencers have a dedicated following, they have built trust with their readership and loyal fan base. They only recommend brands they love and products that are great. Integral influencers, which are the influencers you should be working with are the perfect brand ambassadors for promoting products they love.
If an influencer is doing business with you, chances are it is because they trust you and trust your brand to serve their following. With a committed audience, as soon as your brand features across the influencers channels their following will take note and begin to trust you too.
Combats ad blocking
In 2015 over $21.6 billion was blocked in ad revenue in the U.S. alone. Pop-up, pre-roll and other so-called disruptive methods of digital advertising no longer work. With Adobe predicting that year-on-year 41% of ads will be blocked onsite it’s imperative that brands now move their ads elsewhere. Somewhere they will not be blocked on so that they are able to reach their target audience.
Influencer marketing is an effective alternative. Through placed content on social media, vlogs and blogs brands are now able to bypass the ad blockers and allow solicited content to appear directly in the niches they wish to market to. As the audience does not feel targeted by this content they are more likely to engage with the sponsored content rather than clicking off screen.
Scalable for enterprise
Brands who run successful influencer marketing campaigns either have a specialist in-house team solely dedicated to influencer marketing or they outsource to digital marketing companies like ours. Our platform alongside other outreach companies has been built to handle the time consuming and laborious parts of outreach. Through having scalable steps in place for your strategy you can really level up your influencer marketing. Which should never be a quick hit, it should be a long-term programme with goals and objectives.
If you build a loyal influencer base they continually recommend new products and your brand. Affiliating them with your business for longevity.
Content viewed longer than ads
Studies have shown that readers and users view influencer content nearly 7 times longer than digital display ads. The average content duration for influencer content is 2 minutes 8 seconds which is almost 7 times longer than digital display ads which average 19.2 seconds.
This influencer content which meets the ‘Time on Content’ average of 2 minutes 8 seconds typically generates a 5% average click-through rate compared to the overall global average of 0.06% for digital display ads. This is a whopping difference of 83 times more engaging.
Types of Influencer Marketing
If you’re new to influencer marketing or your brand has never really been shown how influencer marketing is executed to achieve maximum ROI there are two main types of forms of content you can create in campaigns.
Firstly Sponsored campaigns. This is a campaign model which is going to generate a larger exposure and ROI due to being better incentivised. Through sponsored content, the influencer is paid for creating content native to their channels, which fit in with your project campaign brief.
Gifting of products and/or services is another way in which influencers can create content for campaigns. It is vital to understand here that a small ‘sample’ does not suffice. If you are looking for quality promotion and marketing you have to create something mutually beneficial.Influencers in this equation are an asset to the brand. Click To Tweet
It is essential to understand that without the influencer, your influencer marketing will not be effective. The influencer is the asset to you as a brand.
Reciprocating Influencer Marketing
Leading on from the two types of campaign models you can apply, it is important for a brand to build or have your marketing experts (like ourselves) build exceptional relationships with the influencers. Through respecting and understanding their requests and compensating them accordingly for their marketing efforts strong partnerships are formed. When these strong partnerships are formed it becomes mutually beneficial.
You can forge a relationship where the influencer receives regular campaign work from you as a brand. As a brand, the influencer will champion you outside of campaigns too as they will create an affinity through a regular brand featuring in their recommendations
When you work with influencers, make an effort to have your social team interact with their posts, with their social channels and vlogs. Make sure that the team reshare content upon agreement with the influencers. Think of this as a two-way street. You’re trying to build a tight working friendship with these influencers.
How to work with Influencers
There are many factors to consider before selecting influencers for upcoming campaigns, that’s why it is sometimes best to leave it to the experts (we are here for you – shameless plug!) who know who the influencers are that will help to achieve campaign objectives.
- Our system allows us to track delivery time, engagement, influencer’s audience demographic. As well as creating real-time digital reporting including reach, impact and interaction for your marketing reports.
If you’re going it alone then make sure you check the frequency of their posts. Their frequency can impact Google Search results. Does the influencer engage in blogging or vlogging a hobby or a career? Larger numbers of sponsored posts are indicative of if they have a professional career in the industry. Tenure of the influencer working with brands is a great indicator of experience as well as SEO and online marketing knowledge. Using influencers who are new to the industry or only partake in influencing as a hobby may require a little handholding, yet can also yield some great results.
It is recommended to ask for a Media Kit and a recent sample of branded posts, here you can see if your brand’s ethos matches with the influencer’s style and tone.
Also see if influencers are building their email list, which they can utilise to drive traffic to their site and yours. In most instances, great influencers will have a subscriber list which will draw attention to the target audience towards sponsored content.
Benefits of Digital Agencies
Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. With expertise in the field, it makes sense to get your marketing right. Digital agencies such as ELLEfluence pride ourselves on being able to create full circle campaigns.
Some of the benefits include:
- The knowledge of the best performing campaign styles
- Understanding both brands and influencers’ needs & requirements
- The lingo and terminology associated with the industry
- Huge database of known and verified influencers
- Rapport and respect already built with influencers
- Contact details at the touch of a button, saving you hours of research
- Technology to track influencers following, stats and engagement
- Reporting on the factors which matter the most
- Suggestions for improvements & next campaigns
As like all marketing, influencer marketing has associated costs. This can be set to the budget of the brand. Some companies have a larger budget than others. Some companies make the mistake of allocating a small amount to a single influencer and expecting miracles and then saying ‘influencer marketing doesn’t work for us’. What brands realistically require is a strategy. They need to have discovered the most influential and engaged influencers in their sector.
Facts you need to know as a brand
- Regardless of age, customers are predominately online
- They do not watch TV like they used to and favour streaming services such as Netflix where adverts do not interrupt them. If they do, they grab their phones and head to social media.
- Engaging with multiple influencers taps into multiple audiences and spreads reach further.
- ‘Word of Mouth’ is the most powerful marketing method
We know this post has been in depth and a lot of information to digest. We certainly hope it has been of some value to you as a brand looking into working with influencers. Or if you’re an influencer we hope that now you can value your importance to brands.
What are your thoughts on Influencer Marketing? We’d love to know, comment below.
If you are looking for advice and to grow your influencer marketing strategy drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org as we’d love to discuss further.