Celebrity endorsements have been around for ages in traditional marketing. Not only are their endorsements powerful among consumers, they lift the visibility of the brand they promote almost instantly. With the emergence of inbound marketing, marketers are turning to influencers in place of paying millions in celebrity endorsements.
What is Influencer Marketing and Why Is it Effective?
Influencer marketing involves promoting a product or service through leaders or people who have gained significant popularity rather than targeting a wide audience. These influencers can be key figures in a certain field or specialty (for example, beauty gurus on blogs) as well as those who have a high number of followers on social media like Facebook or Instagram.
Influencer marketing is an effective way for brands to engage with consumers or their target audiences without spending too many resources on marketing to individual leads or customers.
Here are reasons why inbound marketers use influencer marketing:
Billions of Leads and Consumers Frequent Social Media and Blogs
Social media represents huge potential for growing your customer base and influencers can play a key role in your overall marketing strategy. Facebook was the No. 1 biggest social media website in the U.S., according to Statista, accounting for 42 percent of all the market share. It even beat out YouTube and Twitter, which fell in second and third, respectively. Facebook alone reports that it has 2 billion monthly active users in the beginning of 2017. With these figures, it’s no wonder influencers on Facebook are often tapped to be brand promoters.
Quickly Gain Followers for Your Brand
Some of the most coveted influencers have millions of followers on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more. It would take countless hours for companies to rack up the number of followers influencers have already grown in their various social networking channels. Influencers are experts in using social media to promote themselves, which naturally carries over to promoting the products they endorse, allowing companies to gain followers quickly.
Trust Already Exists Between Influencers and Followers
Influencers have spent a considerable amount of time interacting with their followers, gaining their trust in the process. With this trustworthiness already built in, brands can use influencers to promote their product without being seen as forcing their marketing message on consumers.
Instant Brand Visibility
Even when companies choose the right keywords, they may fall short of being seen by part of their target audience. They may not use that particular search engine where business websites show up in top page rankings or visit the sites where companies advertise. With the popularity of social media, one click by an influencer and your brand will be seen by thousands or millions of people. This is especially impactful for brands that have not reached the number of followers their influencers have grown over the years.
Stats Show Influencer Marketing Works
The State of Influencer Marketing Report for 2017 showed 94 percent of marketers believed influencer marketing is effective. Of the marketers surveyed, the majority (86 percent) used influencer marketing in 2016. With the widespread popularity of influencer marketing, companies that don’t engage in this practice could be missing out on more followers, traffic and revenue if they fall behind the competition.
How to Target Influencers
Ensure Your Brand’s Message Aligns With Influencers
Influencer marketing often does not work if influencers do not align with a brand’s products, services, mission or messages. Choose influencers who have carved out a niche or voice that is similar to your company’s. For example, brands that sell organic products or exercise equipment would do well to contact a health and fitness expert to promote their wares.
Choose Influencers Based on the Social Media Platform
According to the State of Influencer Marketing Report, the most popular social media sites for this type of marketing is Facebook and Instagram. Companies should also research which networks leads or current customers most likely visit to improve their chances of being seen via influencers.
Contact Influencers and Explain the Terms of Promotions
Businesses can use their own social media accounts to easily message influencers on the same platforms. Influencers often list their email addresses, a P.O. box or other forms of contact on their social media channels. When connecting with influencers, companies should state the terms of how they will promote their product, such as writing or recording a review or posting a photo with chosen keywords.
Follow Rules for Sponsored Posts
Be aware that there are rules and regulations surrounding sponsored content and whether influencers will have to disclose whether their posts are paid. For more information, read U.S. Federal Trade Commission guidelines for social media and online endorsements.
As a tool for brands, influencer marketing reaches a wide audience quickly and easily, turning them into market leaders in the process.