As technology has progressed and the digital landscape has expanded, a robust slate of marketing channels has opened up for brands and agencies alike. A challenging dynamic is placing advertising in a social centric platform that prefers seeing updates from their college roommates over half-baked ads. Advertisers that excel are creating authentic and dynamic connections with consumers through an integrated approach to the complete marketing landscape. A major part of this strategy for many brands is influencer marketing. There’s no doubt about it, influencer marketing is decidedly two things: powerful and here to stay.
To understand influencer marketing, you need to understand who influencers are. Influencers are individuals who have built large followings on social media and video sharing platforms. They primarily do this by building a connection with users through the creation of exciting content and sharing their personality with fans. In doing this, they create genuine and trustworthy relationships with the people that interact with their content. Consumers today look to other consumers for advice and insight into products, and influencers strike the delicate balance between celebrity and everyman. There are several “buckets” of short-form or long-form content that influencers often create: fashion, beauty, sports, video games, humor, and vlogs (video blogs), to name some of the main verticals.
So, what is influencer marketing? Essentially, it is when brands form a relationship with reputable/popular/influential figures in the digital space. This can manifest in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: branded integrations, featuring products in influencer’s content, giveaways, discounts, co-created content and social media page takeovers. The key platforms for influencer marketing include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Youtube. The type of content – specifically creative and copy – is heavily influenced by the platform(s) chosen.
There are several important considerations when deciding which influencer marketing route to take. Influencers with large followings, high engagement numbers or high viewership are going to cost significantly more than those with less impressive numbers, regardless of the platform executed on. Recently, brands have found success in leveraging a larger network of smaller influencers. Rather than publishing one Instagram post to an influencer with millions of followers, a series of similar posts may be published to a multitude of smaller accounts. This technique allows brands to concentrate on particular demographics, reach a more engaged audience and leverage frequency. The true value of influencer marketing lies in guiding viewers by way of authenticity, curated quality content, storytelling and aligning a product with the audience of a particular influencer. These things matter significantly more than impressive surface-level statistics such as an account’s follower count or raw engagement numbers.
It’s crucial to select the right platform for your message. Different platforms are best for different goals, budgets and influencers. These are considerations that every brand must make when implementing an influencer marketing plan. Some brands choose to focus on one main platform but also distribute content on other platforms. Using platform-agnostic content (content that makes sense across different platforms) helps facilitate distribution and consistency. Once you have great creative, the only question left to ask is what kind of reach you want to achieve. Organic posts can often reach large numbers of people based on influencer followings alone. Brand also have the option to utilize paid posts, which boost the influencer posts out to a guaranteed number of viewers.
There are clearly many considerations, decisions and trade-offs to make with influencer marketing. The great plus-side of this fact is the flexibility, authenticity and trust that can be achieved in a well-executed campaign. In fact, 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than a typical advertisement or traditional celebrity. First, understand your customer. Then, collaborate with influencers and let their creativity and personal touch shine through. Influencer marketing is all about the content and fitting your brand into that content in a unique way.
If you’d like to learn more, or have a conversation about how influencer marketing can be leveraged for your business, shoot us a message anytime!