Influencer marketing is one of the latest trends in online marketing. But how effective is it, really, and can it work for your business?
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing can be defined as marketing which is focused on getting the attention of influencers, that is, prominent people in a niche or industry. They usually have a large following on social media, so the theory is that if you can get them to pay attention to your brand, products and services, they will pass along your information and make recommendations to their followers. In this way, you can gain traffic, subscribers and sales.
The Importance of Engagement as a Social Media Metric
Social media engagement, such as Likes, Comment and Shares, are an indication to Facebook and your own marketing team as to how well your posts are resonating with your target audience. Increasing engagement, especially shares, will help spread the word about all your business has to offer.
Targeting an influencer has the potential to give you a lot more brand reach and engagement, providing you are not too “spammy”, and your company is a good fit for what they commonly talk about in their posts. If you sell pet products, you don’t want to target a top sports personality, for example, no matter how many followers they have, unless they have a clear track record with respect to animal welfare, rescue and so on.
Engaging with an Influencer
You can follow pretty much anyone online, but posting too often can start to seem like spamming or even stalking. If you are going to engage with their content, make sure everything you contribute is short, helpful, and demonstrates your expertise in your niche.
Another important reason to engage with influencers and hopefully build a relationship with them is something called social proof. Studies have shown that people trust recommendations about products when they come from their peers, even though they might barely know the person in their network, as compared with marketing material that a business publishes.
This being the case, reviews, testimonials and positive comments are essential for getting prospective customers to try your products, because it lowers the risk of being disappointed or scammed. Influencers can help lend your business credibility, but only if they are a trustworthy source of information and are not recommending everything under the sun.
Who Pays Attention to Influencers?
The short answer is anyone interested in a particular niche or topic will always follow at least a couple of influencers and pay attention to what they do, say, and recommend.
Having said that, the youngest generations of shoppers rely heavily on influencer input. In fact, a large percentage of their social media activity is to check out influencers, and to see what is trending. They want things that really work, and are willing to pay a reasonable price for them. They are also willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative, with others, giving influencer marketing a magnifying effect.
How Effective is Influencer Marketing?
Surveys of marketers currently using influencer marketing show that 94% of them find it effective, with 11 times more return on investment than traditional advertising. They report that influencer marketing drives content about their brand and niche, traffic, sales and engagement, all in a cost-effective manner. Add to that the chance to reach younger consumers, as we just mentioned, and influencer marketing could be just what you are looking for to extend the reach of your brand.