When it comes to digital marketing, there are a lot of different routes you can take to raise awareness, promote, and successfully market your brand. The obvious and most widely used practices include things like SEO, paid search, content marketing, or social media marketing. But there’s another method that’s been picking up steam for a while and shows no signs of slowing down, and that method is influencer marketing.
In short, influencer marketing is a form of promoting and/or advertising your brand by using key individuals who are considered ‘influencers.’ Such individuals typically have a large following (online or otherwise) and considerable influence on their audience. The overall goal is for an influencer to drive a brand’s message and promote the products and/or services in an authentic and natural way.
While some digital marketers think influencer marketing has peaked and will soon die off, research has shown that it’s just as effective as ever. Rather than dying, influencer marketing is more likely just changing. That’s why, now more than ever, brands have a vested interest in considering an influencer approach to brand promotion. If you’re not sold on the concept or are wary of deviating from traditional marketing avenues, here are 5 of the most convincing reasons to try influencer marketing.
- It Builds Brand Trust
The value of trust in digital marketing is not to be underestimated, because a brand’s conversions and customer loyalty depend on it. One Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, specifically recommendations, over all other forms of advertising-even if it comes from an individual they don’t know personally. This is the entire basis of influencer marketing: getting influencers to recommend your brand’s services or products, so that their following of users who trust their opinion also come to trust your brand.
Generating trust via influencer marketing works beyond just getting one single conversion. If a reputable individual swears by a certain product or service, their following is more likely to commit to trying it over an extended period of time. Influencers bridge the gap between brands and the loyal customers who repeatedly recall and return to the brand and are the most profitable.
- Millennials Ignore/Block Ads
If your target audience happens to consist of millennials and you aren’t already using influencer marketing, you’re behind. On average, users are exposed to around 5,000 ads per day. For users that spend more time online than others, like millennials, finding ways to reduce or eliminate the high number of ads becomes an increasingly popular option. That’s why it’s unsurprising that in 2015, nearly half of all online customers used ad block technology.
Unlike ads, influencer marketing is an effective form of native advertising. Rather than interrupt whatever users are doing online, such as browsing through Instagram, they insert their brand naturally into the platforms that the user is already looking at. A twenty-something year old browsing through Instagram is much more likely to pay attention to a favorite celebrity or influencer recommending a product than they are to sit through an advertisement or pop-up being promoted by the brand itself.
- It’s Really Cost-Effective
While paid search and advertising works in its own way and on its own terms, it is simply not as effective as ‘earned’ media. Advertising over a long period of time can get really expensive really fast, and despite being able to do a hefty amount of research on the front-end, there’s still no solid guarantee that users will respond to your ads in a favorable manner.
With influencer marketing, you have a built-in guarantee that the (hopefully very large) following of your influencer is going to be exposed to your brand in a positive and promotional light. Some compelling research has also shown that influencer marketing generates more than twice the sales than that of display advertising. Using influencer and email marketing in place of more expensive advertising options has a higher ROI for a fraction of the price.
- The Success Rate is High
When done right, even the smallest brands can make it big using influencer marketing. Take, for example, Daniel Wellington watches. The brand’s digital marketing strategy consisted of finding thousands of influencers in niches ranging from travel and photography to fashion and lifestyle. Each influencer promoted the watches to whatever niche they fell within using a unique 15% off discount code. The revenue speaks for itself, with the company’s revenue weighing in at $220 million in 2015. And now, if you visit their website, you’ll find super influencer Kendall Jenner stylishly modeling a watch on the home page.
Similar brands have found a way to bolster their success by turning to influencer marketing, including Chanel, FabFitFun, Tiffany’s, and countless others. With 81% of users admitting to being influenced by what they see shared on social media, it’s easy to see why there’s such a high success rate among influencer marketing strategies.
- Brands Gain Access to a Wider Audience
Perhaps the entire point of influencer marketing is that it facilitates brand exposure on a much broader scale. Traditionally, all marketing and especially digital marketing concerns the targeting of a specific audience using ads, content, campaigns, or other forms of marketing. The goal is to make influencers the emphasis of your digital marketing strategy rather than target your specific market as a whole.
This works, because by using influencer marketing your influencers expose and promote your brand to a much wider audience. Moreover, your brand is being exposed to a wider audience in an organic and convincing way that’s more likely to resonate with users.