This article explains why so many businesses are embracing influencer marketing and how it can help you engage audiences, create new content and reach potential customers.
What is influencer marketing?
Simply put, an influencer is someone who has the ability to influence the decisions of a significant number of people, often within a niche. They are trusted by their following as an expert in their field and influence consumer decisions.
Influencer marketing campaigns take place on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and are often seen as a branch of social media marketing.
The benefits of influencer marketing
1. Increased brand awareness
Brand awareness is one of the main motivations behind working with influencers.
When an influencer posts content on social media, their users are exposed to your products and services, expanding your reach within the market. This can help users develop a deeper connection with your brand.
2. Builds trust and credibility
An influencer's promotion of your brand or product signifies their approval and endorsement; your brand is relevant and should be followed. This is critical in today's cynical world.
According to a Micro Biz Mag study, 'people are more than twice as likely to trust people they follow on social media to give an honest review of a product than they are to trust the website of the company selling the product.'
3. Visibility and reach
Influencers have thousands of followers, if not millions. And if you work with the right set of middle and macro influencers, your campaign can reach a lot of people. What’s more, an influencer whose niche perfectly aligns with yours will get your content in front of an audience that is already engaged and open to making a purchase.
4. Reach digital natives
Influencer marketing offers excellent access to Millenials and Gen Z. These profitable demographics live in a digital-first world and are highly influenced by, and open to, social media and influencer marketing within their purchasing process and brand relationships. A staggering 85% of these audiences are 'highly open' to information regarding specific products on social platforms.
5. Content strategy
If you're feeling stuck for content ideas, or need a fresh approach, influencer marketing may be just the solution!
Today many influencers are experienced and talented content creators, with an excellent knowledge of their field, their following and what users respond to. By partnering with influencers, you can create new content that better reflects your brand and the needs of your audience.
6. Purchasing decisions and sales
Influencers and social media impact consumers at every stage of the sales funnel, from lead generation to purchase. Here's why:
- Social media is an easily accessible platform.
- Consumers are increasingly looking to influencers for inspiration on what products to purchase.
- Consumers are increasingly looking to social media to validate products and services.
- Consumers are eager to try new products promoted by their favourite influencers.
According to studies, 60% of YouTube subscribers follow the advice of their favourite YouTubers on what products to buy, and almost 40% of Twitter users admit they've made purchases as a direct result of influencer tweets.
To learn more about how to improve your content strategy to increase traffic through your sales funnel, click here.
7. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Inbound links indicate to search engines that your content is relevant and trustworthy. Influencer marketing campaigns can help you build high-quality links, boosting your overall rankings and online visibility.
Speak to our dedicated SEO team to learn how you can improve your business' SEO and drive traffic.
8. Cost and return on investment
Influencer marketing has excellent ROIs in comparison to other forms of marketing, especially when employing smaller influencers with lower fees and higher engagement rates.
Engaging in longer-term partnerships with influencers rather than one-off campaigns, aside from progressing your credibility and brand awareness, can also save you time and money.
What are the risks of influencer marketing?
If you've gotten this far and your interest is piqued, you may now be wondering, but what are the risks? Here are some of the most common.
Make sure the influencer has a good reputation
If an influencer has a controversial or negative reputation, or has posted offensive or inappropriate content on social media, this will have ramifications for your brand.
At Bell, we use Kolsquare's influencer platform, host to 2 million influencers across 180 countries, to monitor and carefully select the appropriate influencers for each brand and campaign. This extensive resource allows us to anticipate any potential issues and provides in-depth influencer profiles.
P.S. It's also good practice to ensure that the influencer has an authentic connection to your brand, genuinely endorses you and your products, and that there are no conflicts of interest.
Avoid 'serial brand influencers'
As part of the screening process to select an influencer, research their collaboration history to avoid influencers who have been involved in too many partnerships. A serial brand influencer risks the credibility of your campaign and may not have your best interests at heart.
Sign a contract
This may seem obvious, but it always bears repeating! Influencers can fall short of their promises and disrupt a campaign by:
- Delaying or missing a publication date
- Posting unapproved or misleading content
- Cancelling a campaign at the last minute
Protect yourself with a contract.
What is the future of influencer marketing?
When it comes to digital marketing, we're all looking to the future and trying our best to keep on top of the latest trends. Here are some we predict.
Larger brands will drop influencers
Experts have predicted that larger brands will be more likely to drop influencers, but smaller brands will continue to favour them for growth and exposure.
Brands will favour smaller influencers
There are several tiers of influencer, including nano, micro, macro and mega. Many brands are already shifting to favour the smaller influencers over the larger. Here's a few reasons why:
- Brands have a wider pool to choose from. Over the pandemic countless lower tiered influencers sprung up.
- Smaller, niche influencers offer brands a more targeted audience.
- Studies have shown that influencers with fewer than 25,000 social media followers achieve the highest engagement rates.
Shift in focus
During the pandemic there was a noticeable shift away from excessive, glamorous parties to focus on health, wellness, fitness and beauty. This is likely to continue in the future, with influencers promoting more meaningful, mindful messages to their following.
Certain platforms favoured
This will shift as social networks come and go. But the current projection is that influencer content will continue to grow on Instagram and TikTok, while Facebook and YouTube shrink. This is because promotional content can feel less genuine, which current consumers reject more easily.
Check out our blog to keep on top of other trends.
Now you know how influencer marketing can grow your business, what's your next move? Talk to our social media and influencer marketing experts at Bell for a tailored content strategy.