Influencer marketing is the digital alternative to word-of-mouth marketing. By using an individual with a vast social media following, brands can communicate a message, product, opinion or campaign to a mass audience.
Additionally, with the ability to transcend into all marketing disciplines, from PR to direct marketing, influencer marketing provides the invaluable opportunity to create a unified message across multiple platforms.
In 2017, influencer marketing carried an estimated worth of $2bn. But in just two years, we will see it bring in $10bn, as influencers continue to take the market to new heights.
So how and why are influencers the ultimate marketing machine?
- They are leaders of their tribe: influencers have become experts in their industry. Categorising their videos and content makes it far easier for consumers to find an influencer that fits their interests and for brands to source an influencer that promise a great boost to their business.
- They have 24-hour access to target audiences: influencer marketing is an industry that never sleeps. No matter what time of day it is, there is always content to be read and watched. This means influencers, and subsequently the brands they work with, have an endless opportunity to reach out to their audiences in all four corners of the world. After all, while one audience sleeps, the other is awake and ready to engage.
- They are storytellers: while simply mentioning a brand in a video or blog can be beneficial, it often lacks authenticity between brand and influencer. So, influencers often create a narrative around a brand they collaborate with. They show followers how the brand slots into their personal lifestyle and how their followers could use it in theirs. Suddenly, it becomes a win-win. Brands benefit from the sale and influencers have a brand partnership that complements them and their audience.
- The ROI is huge: using an influencer is a cost-effective marketing strategy and no matter the influencer a brand chooses to work with, they should never be put off by the price tag. Why? Because research has found that for every £1 spent on a talent-led campaign, brands are getting back £17.21 – making their move into influencer marketing an extremely financially sound choice.
Understanding that influencer marketing is certainly not a one-influencer-fits-all kind of concept, more and more brands are making the move to agencies, such as Influencer Champions, whose primary focus is managing influencer and brand collaborations. In fact, 84% of brands agree that an agency is beneficial.
Amelia Neate, senior manager at Influencer Champions, says: “With many pros to influencer marketing, brands often forget that first they have to find the right influencer. Consumers are extremely switched-on when it comes to advertising and can spot the difference between an influencer’s genuine passion for a brand and a ‘flat’ and unexciting partnership. So, it is vital a brand gets it right.”
As well as using an agency to set up and nurture the partnership, brands need to make the most of their relationship, but how?
Well, they say that you can’t judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. So, tie those laces and step into the shoes of an influencer. Spending a day understanding and learning about the lives of an influencer will make for an authentic collaboration and avoid the treacherous slip into a ‘bland’ marketing campaign.
With so many influencers to choose from, benefits beyond belief, and specialist agencies to handle the partnership, there is no excuse for brands not to be engaging in influencer marketing now and in the future.
Gary Knight is a director at Influencer Champions.