Social media is a vital marketing platform to all businesses (big and small alike) and the fact influencers are integral to any marketing campaign isn’t groundbreaking news. Due to the ease of existing online, it has become difficult for brands to break through the static and gain the attention they desire. Consumers have a general lack of trust towards brands and need honest transparency in order to consider becoming a paying customer. Brands self-promoting isn’t enough anymore. That’s where influencer marketing comes in.
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses influencers to mention or endorse brands/products to their followers. Influencers are individuals that are viewed as experts within their niche markets. This method works well because influencers have a pre-existing level of trust and credibility with their following, so their recommendations of brands or products have a significant amount of influence on potential customers. This close relationship with their followers is what distinguishes influencers from celebrities. Influencer marketing platforms are any social media platform: Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.
How your brand works with influencers and which platforms you prioritise will vary depending on your niche and brand vision. You can create content, hold giveaways, host Q&As or organise an influencer takeover. To decide on which methods, you should listen to your current audience, and your prospective audience. By listening to your customers’ feedback, you will strengthen your relationship with them by making them feel valued. Influencer marketing spend is set to grow 15% in 2021, so it’s vital your brand understands why influencers are important.
Why do we need influencer marketing?
We have been thrust into a truly digital-first age where the only way to keep in touch with friends, loved ones and brands is online. Humans have an innate need for connection and having been starved of physical connection throughout lockdowns and quarantines, consumers have turned to influencers to fulfil this need.
Consumers have a craving to be valued. 80% of consumers are more likely to buy a product that includes a personal experience. Using influencers allows consumers to create meaningful and authentic relationships with active engagements and interactions. The direct conversation between influencer and follower creates a strong sense of community, connection and trust. Audiences trust the influencer to be honest and open about their experiences, encouraging followers to act upon a recommendation. 70% of consumers say they trust the opinions of influencers as much or more than their real-life friends.
Consumers need transparency and authenticity from brands, but have a lack of trust with direct marketing. They have developed the ability to see through marketing campaigns and need to be able to align their values with the brand. Consumers, specifically Gen Z consumers, expect brands to prioritise purpose over profits by standing for important social or environmental movements. One of the best ways they can show this is by selecting influencers who also support these movements.
AMPLIFIED AWARENESS & ENGAGEMENT
Influencers are an easy way to increase brand awareness and reach. By using influencers, you are exposing your brand to their followers, some of whom may already follow your brand, and some that don’t. Using influencers helps you cut through the noise and starts meaningful online conversations around your brand.
Your brand can use micro influencers (those with less than 10,000 followers) to gain conversations within a niche market. The engagement and trust micro influencers have is significantly better than macro influencers, although the reach is not as high. Using micro influencers is not only much cheaper than more established influencers, but has been shown to drive a brand’s sales just as sufficiently. If you are a smaller company trying to build your audience, micro influencers are the place to start. In creating a relationship with the influencer early on, their audience will see your brand as trustworthy and credible.
If your brand chooses to use a macro influencer, you might have a lower engagement, but a higher exposure rate. The name of your brand will reach more feeds, which can result in higher traffic to your brand’s Instagram or website.
As we mentioned earlier, 70% of consumers say they trust the opinions of influencers as much or more than their real-life friends. If a social media user is on the fence about a brand or product, they can be converted into a customer if they see an endorsement from an influencer. Furthermore, even if a user has never heard of your brand before, but idolises the influencer enough, you could gain a brand new customer from that.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective methods of customer acquisition. You can generate leads and customers from their audiences, ultimately increasing revenue. Influencer marketing ROI has been shown to be as high as 650%.
QUALITY OF CONTENT
Influencers make content for their career. From their perspectives, the better the content they create, the more followers they gain. Good content is in their best interest. This means that when an influencer creates organic or paid content regarding your brand, you can use and repost this as user-generated content. It breaks up the self-promotional content on your feed with a review or testimonial. This can improve your brand’s reputation by giving the impression you listen to your audience.
Video content is more popular than ever, but is relatively difficult to make. Having an influencer make this content for you will save your brand time and money in the long run.
RISE OF SOCIAL COMMERCE
Social media platforms are beginning to become another platform for shopping. Instagram recently unveiled its shopping tag, and the chance to shop directly from an influencer’s post, and TikTok has begun experimenting with Shopify. Creating an easy shopping environment for social media users will increase the likelihood of converting leads to customers.
If a user sees an influencer wearing something they like, and they are able to immediately purchase, it is quite likely they will do so. 45% of consumers would prefer to purchase a product through Instagram, with Facebook coming in a close second.
The Importance of Influencer Marketing: The Takeouts
Influencer marketing is a necessary marketing strategy all brands need to consider. Collaborating with influencers can increase brand awareness and engagement, develop strong and trusting relationships with customers, increase conversions and improve content quality for your brand.
It is vital that businesses realise the real importance of influencer marketing. Consumers are becoming more digitally focused, and brands need to react to this by using appropriate influencers to speak directly to their customers.
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