Brands have been taking influencer marketing more seriously, with companies like General Mills spending up to a third of its digital budget on influencer marketing. “Smaller, healthier food brands that were once considered niche are going mainstream thanks partly to how younger people are changing the way they eat,” Digiday writes. “That taste for natural, organic brands was worth $1.06 billion to the business last year. Influencers are a way to help grow that segment faster.”
Influencers are “people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic,” Influencer Marketing Hub states. And their recommendations and endorsements can make a huge different for a brand. According to Digital Marketing Institute, almost half of consumers depend on influencer recommendations to determine which products to purchase, and 40 percent have purchased a product after seeing an influencer use it on social media. And influencers aren’t just celebrities—they’re industry experts and thought leaders, bloggers and content creators, and micro-influencers and nano-influencers.
“The most influential voices are not always 'celebrities' or those with the largest followings, but are individuals who turned to social because they didn't see their stories reflected in mainstream media. When done authentically, these voices are instrumental in creating unique and powerful stories for brands,” said Pamela Kaupinen, senior vice president of strategy at HelloSociety, in a Social Media Today interview.
While influencer marketing comes with its positives, it still has a long way to go. According to a Universal McCann study of 56,398 internet users, only 4 percent trust influencers; the study found that even governments were seen as more trustworthy. This is due to scandals like the Fyre Festival and influencer fraud. But with the FTC requiring influencers to add “#ad” to sponsored posts and Instagram creating new ad transparency tools, influencers have been able to build trust with their audiences again.
And as influencer marketing continues to grow, brands should consider partnering with influencers long-term instead of focusing on one-off activations, Pamela Kaupinen states. “Brand partners who work with Influencers on 3+ posts, or on 2+ campaigns, see a significant increase in engagement and sentiment. More and more brands are realizing the value of activating Influencers for longer-term strategies, and this will continue to grow in popularity this year and beyond,” she said.
So how can businesses start using influencer marketing? Here are a few tips from Business 2 Community:
1. Set specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)
By doing this, you will have specific metrics that tell you how well your business is performing from influencer marketing and make any necessary changes.
According to Linqia’s 2018 The State of Influencer Marketing report, 90 percent of marketers measure influencer marketing success with engagement while 59 percent and under measure clicks, impressions, and conversions.
Here are some goals you might set:
2. Use the right platform
Find influencers who use the same platform as your audience, whether it be Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, so your content can be seen by your target market.
3. Understand your target market
Create buyer personas of your ideal customers: what are their needs, interests, pain points, and problems? Find influencers who have similar branding, values, and messages as your brand.
If you’re interested in growing your business with influencer marketing, contact North Water Marketing today for a complimentary marketing evaluation.