When it comes to marketing trends catching the attention of CMOs everywhere, influencer marketing is at the top of the list. Many agencies have adopted this form of marketing to increase brand awareness, attract potential customers, communicate about their marketing offers and boost conversion. What was once siloed to PR or social media departments, influencer marketing is now seen as a key element of marketing strategies and included in media plans.
Who are influencers?
Influencers are an industry of professionals and experts whose opinion is trusted and valued by their audience. Though there are an increasing number of influencers out there, many of them have found success by being managed by agencies, due to the large number of requests that brands send to work with them.
Influencers who have managed to keep their business alive for years learned how to evolve and grow with their audience but also how to adapt to trends. They know how to build the right partnership that will benefit both them and the brands they work with, provide value to their audiences, and amplify the content by collaborating with other influencers.
1. Influencers know how to mobilize people and boost traffic to their partners’ sites
Influencers are influential because they know how to mobilize their audience and get key messages in front of your target customers. The most successful influencers have found a specific, niche audience, and they communicate with them in order to get them to take some kind of action. Some are considered experts in one of several topics, such as cosmetics, DIY, marketing or finance.
It’s estimated that 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source. This means that choosing the right influencers to work with means that your target customer has to align with their audiences. Many influencers may or may not work with a brand if there’s nothing valuable in it for their audience or readership.
2. The influencer’s opinion is valuable, trustworthy and interesting to their followers
Many of today’s influencers started their careers by being passionate consumers of products from a specific industry or of information and news on a specific sector. They knew a lot about your industry, and as they made it their business, they’ve learned even more, including valuable information on how consumers see and shop for specific products and services. They are the missing link in your marketing team, the panel of consumers you would love to hire and the insight on your competitors you would die to have.
Consider these important statistics from a 2016 study: Influencers are more credible and believable than your average consumer (94 percent vs. 83 percent), more knowledgeable (94 percent vs. 84 percent) and better at explaining how the product works or could be used (92 percent vs. 83 percent).
3. Influencers produce both purchase intent and can increase conversions
Influencer marketing has been shown to increase website traffic, but one of the things keeping most marketers up at night is conversion. And yes, influencers can make a difference here, as well. In a 2015 McKinsey report, social recommendations induced an average of 26 percent of purchases across all product categories, which is much higher than initially thought by many marketers (only 10-15%). Clearly, there’s a substantial impact when an influencer makes an opinion or recommendation to purchase a product.
The relationship these influencers have with their audience is one that can spur results beyond just awareness and expose more potential customers to the sales funnel for your brand. Influencers are more likely to suggest or tell their audiences to go out and purchase or try a product. When combining that influence and credibility with an audience’s purchasing power, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
4. Influencer marketing creates memorable social media experiences for brands of all sizes
Influencers can be an effective catalyst for consumer engagement for B2C brands. With the right incentives, they can generate engagement, boost numbers and reach, and create an even deeper loyalty to the brand. Whether it’s an Instagram takeover or a Facebook contest, the types of opportunities available to tap into influencer marketing is nearly infinite.
According to a recent article from AdWeek, “companies such as Burberry, American Apparel, Land Rover, TOMS and Johnnie Walker partner with Instagram celebrities to reach consumers and create positive buzz around their brands.” But it isn’t the large, international brands who can capitalize on this interaction. Companies of all sizes are finding themselves in the middle of conversations with influencers on many different platforms.
5. Influencer Marketing is here to stay
It’s estimated that 5% of brands have a budget for influencer marketing in excess of $5 million, and over 65% of brands participate in some form of influencer marketing. As more and more industries are producing these influencers, and they continue to be a trusted resource for audiences, many budgets are expected to grow in the next few years.
source: Why Influencer Marketing Works
The power of Influencer Marketing
Personal endorsements and testimonials have been around for many years, but influencer marketing takes it to the next level by communicating directly with target customers on channels in which they feel the most comfortable and are active in. Consumers used to – and still do – trust reviews from other consumers before purchasing a product. Reviews made my influencers are considered to be reviews from professional and passionate consumers who made it their job to try products and test a wider number of features.
For regular readers of a site or blog, sponsored content can stand out and be quite obvious, but sponsored content in the form of an influencer’s review can fit seamlessly into the rest of their content, to the point of not feeling like an advertisement at all. Imagine having an audience willingly, and enthusiastically, consume your content without having to chase them. This is the power that influencers have in various industries and why they continue to be such an important resource for marketers.