• Natasha Kalergis

The Influencer Advertising Revolution

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

These social media mavens can seriously move the needle when it comes to brand awareness and online sales.

Remember the days before social media? People typically learned about new brands and products through advertising or word of mouth. According to Hootsuite, word of mouth still attributes to anywhere from 20 to 50% of all consumer purchasing decisions.

People will buy based on advice from those they know or endorsements from those they respect such as a sports hero or celebrity.

In a world dominated by social media, people are buying from a new breed of celebrity: The social media influencer.

Social Media Influencers

Many influencers differ from conventional celebrities in that they are often “regular” people who organically grow a large following on social media by posting desirable content.

Influencers often maintain anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of followers across various social media platforms. They generally appeal to a certain niche, age group or interest. Some of the most successful influencers include prominent fashion bloggers, video gamers and teen YouTube stars.

These social media mavens can seriously move the needle when it comes to brand awareness and online sales.

Influencers often share candid posts from daily life that make followers feel intimately connected with them. They convey familiarity. Many interact directly with followers by responding to comments or direct messages.

Businesses may choose to partner with social media influencers in lieu of traditional advertising channels. They can cast a wider net by piggybacking on an influencer’s existing follower base. When executed strategically, this modern form of advertising will generate brand awareness, loyalty and substantial returns on investment.

Strategic Industries

In August, Yoplait launched an aggressive influencer campaign for its new brand of French style yogurt, Oui. General Mills targeted young moms by partnering with a number of notable millennial lifestyle bloggers who are also mothers. The consumer products giant also advertised Oui on television and in print. For companies with a smaller marketing budget than General Mills, influencer campaigns can provide an extremely impactful, cost efficient alternative to traditional media channels.

Business to consumer or “B2C” companies like General Mills or Nordstrom are much better suited for influencer marketing than business to business or “B2B” companies. B2B and non-profits can still partner with influencers, but the ROI is more difficult to track compared to B2C businesses that sell products directly to consumers through influencers. Industries heavily penetrating the influencer sphere include food and beverage, fashion (retail), e-commerce and automotive.

Earned vs. Paid Marketing

Influencers sometimes post about products or brands on their own volition. They either truly value a product in their daily lives or the brand develops a strong relationship with the influencer that inspires them to post about it. This is known as earned influencer marketing. A brand essentially receives free publicity through earned marketing.

Paid marketing on the other hand, generates a substantial revenue stream for influencers. If an influencer and a brand align, the brand may pay an influencer for a sponsored post. These posts come in a variety of forms from simple Instagram photos with tags linked to the company’s website or page, to comprehensive blog posts or YouTube tutorials.

Which Platform to Choose..

Social media influencers garner traffic across most mainstream platforms. However, they usually focus on one or two. For example, journalists and thought-leaders prefers Twitter, fashion bloggers gravitate towards Instagram and many others produce YouTube content.

To achieve the perfect influencer marketing recipe, businesses must strike a balance between both influencer and media platform.

Below are the marketing methodologies and nuances behind the five major media platforms:

  1. Facebook allows advertisers to target very specific audiences and demographics.

  2. Instagram packs a punch for small doses of high quality, creative content.

  3. Pinterest maintains a mostly high-income, female user base making it desirable for fashion and lifestyle brands.

  4. Snapchat is a favorite amongst millennials and Gen Z for companies looking to pivot to a younger audience.

  5. YouTube creates a perfect environment for influencers to post product demos or tutorial videos.

Align your Strategy

Influencer marketing can provide cost effective, organic sources of growth for suitable industries. When deploying your influencer campaign, first select the social media outlet that corresponds with the demographic you wish to reach. Then, utilize influencer management platforms to find the best match for your brand while considering budget and performance.

Want to learn more? Read our article about our top five favorite social media influencer management platforms here.

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