The age of influencer marketing

2017 is being marked as yet another year filled with ever-changing social trends, which are transforming the marketing industry at a dizzying pace. Influencer marketing is just one of these trends that has exploded onto the marketing scene in the last year, and is becoming increasingly popular with brands as a tool to help them stay ahead of their competitors.

A recent survey by Leverage Market concluded that 74% of people trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions so it’s becoming increasingly evident that consumers turn to their world of online influence, rather than the brand itself, for product information. To remain relevant with their audience and appeal to potential consumers, brands are now partnering with people who are considered online influencers, to help promote their products or services. These influencers are usually popular public figures, who have huge numbers of followers on their social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter.

The rise of social media is mostly accountable for the creation of influencer marketing, along with the use of ad blockers; consumers now hold the power to decide how and when they consume marketing material. As traditional marketing methods are intercepted, companies are turning to the diverse community of influencers to promote their products and services on social media.

The Drum explains, “Influencers are changing the definition of what it means to be a celebrity. The influence of traditional celebrities is diminishing to make way for individuals who are respected and loved for their creativity and sincere engagement with their communities.”

Devising your influencer strategy

It’s the perfect time to look at your current objectives to see if and where influencer-marketing tactics will fit. The four D’s will help you to prepare a sound influencer marketing strategy:

1. Determine your target audience

Identifying your consumers and having an understanding of who influences their purchasing decisions is vital. It would be ineffective for the right content and message to go to the wrong audience, ultimately wasting your time, money and efforts.

2. Define the type of influencer who would suit your brand

A key aspect in discovering the most suitable influencer for your company is identifying the content they share. It is the content your influencer partner shares that will encourage your audience’s decision-making process. Remember that the influencer you have selected must match the brand or company’s objectives and goals to allow you to work together successfully.

3. Discover where the opportunities lie

Now begins the investigation. What is your target audience interested in consuming? What social accounts do they follow? Who do they engage with online? What articles are they reading and posting about? This will allow you to devise a content plan that complements your influencer’s own online activity.

4. Display your interest

The final step consists of you reaching out and building a relationship with your influencer. Following your influencer as well as liking and sharing their content will initiate an ongoing connection and eventually act as a means to promote your own products and services.

How can influencers help your brand?

One of the main benefits of adopting influencer marketing is the substantial targeted exposure to your direct consumer. It is a quick way to build product and brand awareness among your target audience. Trust is also built quickly by using a known influencer. Their opinions and content are respected and trusted by their audience due to the relationships that already exist.

However, calculating your return on investment (ROI) can be more difficult when using this marketing technique. As Econsultancy explains: “influencer marketing is often about raising awareness through aspirational content, with a view to generating purchases further down the line, rather than pushing immediate sales.” So you might want to take this into consideration and develop new objectives that better suit the nature of influencer marketing.

A final word of warning – beware of fake accounts. For a few years now, automated bots have been a thorn in the side of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. However there are apps and websites available for example Profile Report, which can help you to identify which social media accounts are fake and which are the accounts that you should be working with.

This blog originates from the PRCA website, written by Christina King, Marketing Assistant, Zoodikers Consulting.