Brands often often are so optimistic and proud about their products that they start talking about it anywhere and everywhere. At one point in time this talking becomes so common and artificial with no real substance. And, branded content without any substance is good as nothing.
So how can a brand give a fresh perspective about its products in a positive, engaging and refreshing manner without sounding too artificial? How can it penetrate its target message in this digital era where man and machines are more connected than ever before?
Enter, Influencer Marketing
For those of you who are hearing these two words — Influencer and Marketing together for the first time — influencer marketing is a modern marketing philosophy or even a strategy that is fuelling digital-age branding efforts.
It is also the fastest growing customer acquisition channel providing returns up to $6.50 for every single dollar spent.
There is still more proof in support of influencer marketing:
- 47% of users use adblock tools that can be surpassed using influencer marketing.
- 92% of customers trust reviews from an individual than from branded advertising.
- 74% of consumers refer to social media before making a buying decision.
Influencer marketing gives brands instant access to a large pool of audience with whom they may not be able to connect so easily through paid advertising channels. The social influence of influencers helps brands gain more visibility along with credibility. The maximized presence leads to more lead generation and business volumes, which is the intended result of any branding and advertising effort.
Influencer marketing is no longer an option to consider, but a necessity to stay relevant in respective domains.
Who Is An Influencer?
An influencer is someone:
- Who is an authority or a subject matter expert in a given topic/industry
- Has an active fan following, in social media
- Advocates the goodness of a product/service offered by a specific brand
An influencer is not your average salesman. He/she is someone who is trusted by a massive fan following who accept his opinions and suggestions verbatim.
Types Of Influencers
The influencer marketing sphere consists of several types of influencers each with their own specific way of reaching their intended target audience. One common thread that connects all these influencers is that, they rely on the digital medium to publicize their brands.
Social Media Mavericks
Individuals who have managed to amass a massive fan following through their Facebook pages, profiles, Twitter handles, Google + profiles or LinkedIn accounts fall under this category. Instagram is yet another major social media platform where social media influencers help brand connect with their potential customers easily.
Think of chefs who shot to popularity with their easy and quick recipe videos. Or a backpacker who dazzles followers with stunning views of places they visit. Or a food junkie who visits hotels, stays and tastes their recipes to publish reviews. These niche celebrities are a type of influencers with a powerful social standing whom customers believe in.
Professional video publishers are another type of influencers. They are usually YouTubers who can convey strong messages about branded products and services through captivating videos that even brands cannot produce. What makes YouTube videos hit is the unique style of presentation, originality and often the way indigenous ways Youtubers adopt to present their topics.
Do you know? The Call of Duty videos have been watched more than 9.7 Billion times? That is approximately 20 times the number of views the branded videos themselves have got. This makes YouTubers a favorite for most brands that want a personal way to connect with their customers.
Thought leaders are subject matters who spread knowledge and information through multiple channels. They could be speakers, artists, consultants, management professionals, academicians, filmmakers, etc. who see the world differently and portray a different perspective.
Their different perspective can give a tremendous boost to the marketing efforts of a brand. Especially, if the product is something technical and sophisticated like a software, a tech platform, business model and so on
Niche celebrities are writers and bloggers, who create and publish content about specific topics directed towards consumers of a particular industry. Blogging and publishing is considered to be one of top platforms for influencer marketing. Websites with blogs are considered to gain 434% more indexing. Influencer blogs win even more visits and indexing and higher search engine ranking.
Through blogs and content publishing, influencers cultivate long-term relationships and engagement with readers by staying authentic and grounded on a handful of topics that go viral. In the process, they help boost the business volumes, sometimes yielding multiple times RoI on the advertising spend.
Why Should Businesses Rely On Influencer Marketing?
Influencers bring about a personal context to a brand. They bridge the trust factor between brands, who are trying to portray the best and customers who are skeptical about a new launch.
Also, outbound marketing has thinned down to a bare minimum. It is literally non-existent in this smartphone era. Influencers step in here with their charm and crowd pulling abilities bringing not only new customers but also everyone in their immediate network. They create a multiplier effect for the money and effort invested in them.
Further, influencers build loyalty, not just fandom. They advocate brands for long-term relationships and not for sales transactions or short-term benefits. They have the best interests of their fans in their mind which makes them credible and trustworthy.
This grounded trust combined with social media exposure spreads brand loyalty like a ripple. Influencers use real world stories based on their personal experience and observations which makes them more credible than advertisements or paid reviews.
Modern-age customers who have all the self-sufficiency to research and find about a product before buying them trust in someone who has an original voice. Thus influencers become indispensable for branding.
With more than 51% marketers investing in influencer marketing to pump up their leads and sales, it is evident that influencer marketing is indispensable to brand building in 2017.