No matter what industry your business operates in, your company would find it beneficial to implement an influencer marketing strategy. According to the 2019 Content Survey that surveyed 200 senior-level B2B marketing representatives, 92% of respondents reported that the most importance is given to peer-reviews and user-generated feedback. Potential customers are more likely to buy a good or service when it is recommended by industry influencers, subject matter experts, peer reviews, or word of mouth recommendation. When a recommendation comes from a person or entity that a potential customer respects, the recommendation tends to be more significant and influential. It is more likely to lead to the purchase of a good or service–and that is one reason why influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular.
Influencer marketing is the hiring of a third party who has social influence in a certain field and paying them to endorse a good or service from a company.
As social media networks continue to grow in size and activity, influencer marketing initiatives have become increasingly popular and effective. According to the World Federation of Advisors, 65% of multinational brands will increase the amount of money they spend on influencer marketing within the next 12 months. Out of the 34 companies who answered their questionnaire, 86% reported that the goal of influencer marketing was to boost brand awareness (how recognizable their brands name is), 74% said they use influencer marketing to get in front of new potential customers, and 69% reported that they use influencer marketing to improve
Influencer marketing strategies leverage the underlying social and community-relationship factors that go into brand awareness and product adoption (the process in which people become new users of a product). Even if you have a great product or service, it will not be successful unless people are made aware that it exists. For that to happen, the product or service needs to get in front of an audience, or word needs to spread that the good or service is worth checking out.
If used correctly, influencer marketing for your good or service can increase the rate at which an untapped audience begins using your product. It can also increase the reliability and trustworthiness of your brand and the good or service offered. According to a study conducted by the data and measurement firm Nielsen, 84% of consumers trust advertising when it comes from people they know. When a recommendation comes from an individual you trust, it feels less like a gimmick; the report goes on to say that trust and consumer action go hand-in-hand.
On the other hand, consumers do not like being bombarded by advertisements. In The McCarthy Group’s millennial survey, 84% of respondents said they are not the type of person who likes being advertised to. The report also found that forms of advertising that came directly from businesses rather than friends, family, or other consumer reviews had a majority negative sentiment when it came to trusting the advertisements and taking action.
Although the word “influencer marketing” might incite images of popular figures on social media, influencers can take a variety of forms and appear on several different mediums. For instance, in the B2B industry, an influencer is more likely to be a consultant, government-backed regulator, academic, journalist, or a user-community. Opposed to a popular individual on Instagram like the influencers in a B2C facing business often are.
Although there isn’t 100% agreement on what metrics qualify an individual as an influencer, influencers are often split into two categories. Micro-influencers, someone with under 10,000 followers, and macro-influencers, individuals with over 10,000 followers. Within those two categories, there are generally five different types of influencers: Activists, Connected People, Authoritative Persons, ‘Active-minds, and Trendsetters.
Activist influencers are individuals who are very involved and active within a community. More often than not, activists align themselves with a political movement, ideology, or set of beliefs.
Connected influencers are individuals who have a large social network in which they are well known and respected.
Authoritative influencers are individuals whose opinions and research are trusted by others; these individuals may also have a track record that gives them prestige within a niche.
Active-mind influencers are people who make predictions about ideas or technology that will play a role in our future, given the current technologies and ideas that are under-development or being tested in the present. For example, tech-reviews are often conducted by active-mind influencers.
Trendsetter influencers are individuals that are often early-adopters of ideas that become fads, or goods and services that become popular in the future.
When it comes to determining an influencer marketing strategy for your brand, you first need to consider which of the five types of influencers would be best for your brand. Your business will find that not all of the five types of influencers will be beneficial to your branding. For example, when it comes to tech products, influencers who are futurists and early-adopters have significant influence over the industry and consumer purchasing habits. However, an activist probably would not be much help to a tech company looking to increase their reach.
You are also going to want to factor in the credibility and reputation of the influencer as well as, and the quality of their influencer’s followers. The influencer will be acting as a representative of your brand, and thus, while an ideal influencer should boost your brand’s reputation, an influencer with questionable credibility will also reflect poorly on your brand. In addition to vetting their reputation, you’ll also need to vet the quality of their followers. There are many accounts on social media that have bots as fake followers. These accounts are considered low value. Even though low-value accounts may generate engagement on posts and make your brand look more popular, there is a low probability that these followers will result in increased leads or sales.
Similar to how an influencer with a lot of bot followers are considered low-value, an audience that produces low engagement rates on your content would also be considered a low-value opportunity. Low engagement can be a sign that that audience is not interested in what they are being shown, and thus are not likely to turn into a lead or result in sales.
If your brand can successfully implement an influencer marketing strategy, whether that means your company is featured in respected news publications or endorsed by popular industry personalities, help from an influencer can significantly impact your brand by increasing your company’s reputation and putting your brand in front of untapped audiences.