Is your business in a funk? Whether you are a fledgling brand struggling to make your way, or you are an established company losing business because you have stayed true to old marketing and advertising techniques that are killing your business, all hope is not lost. In today’s competitive marketplace crowded with social media savvy brands, it benefits every company to remain on the forefront of digital trends and know the best ways to reach their consumers today – not yesterday.
It’s time for a large dose of hope, and I have one to offer. You no longer need to worry about the growth of your brand, because there is a surefire way to reach your consumer market and persuade them to love your brand: Influencer Marketing.
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that occurs when a company hires someone on social media with a substantial, loyal, and trusting audience to promote their brand. These brand influencers or social media influencers as they are known have the power to influence the buying decision of their audience – for many reasons – which makes them your new best ally.
How Brand Influencers Can Help Your Brand Become an Empire
Brand influencers, or those people you hire in an influencer marketing campaign to promote your company, products, services, and image, have the ability to sway their followers. They can even impact their fans’ purchasing decisions. Here are some of the reasons this works, while brand direct marketing does not work as well:
- Marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising (McKinsey)
- Sales acquired through word-of-mouth (influencer marketing) have a 37 percent higher retention rate.
- 244 million consumers browsed or bought online in 2015 (Forrester), with online sales reaching $335 billion.
On Brand Direct Advertising
At the same time, consumers are buying online more than ever, brands are doing whatever they can to reach consumers where they shop through:
- Native advertising, which is expected to reach $8.8 billion by 2018
- Mobile video advertising
- Click ads with viewable impressions
- Behavioral targeting
Influencer Marketing Wins Out
The only problem is that consumers have become overwhelmed and overloaded by online advertising. The noise is deafening, even when it comes to social media paid ads, and people have tuned out. They see ads, brand “sponsored” posts, native ads on websites, and they simply ignore them. All you have to do is consider your reaction and behavior in relation to such ads; do they draw you in or repel you? Do you click or avoid the ads? If you are anything like me you have grown accustomed to such ads but only click on them on accident.
What’s a brand to do? Hire brand influencers, naturally. They surpass the declining success of brand direct marketing.
- Influencers have built a relationship with their followers. Their followers want to know just about everything that person does – what they eat for breakfast, the restaurants they love, cities they visit, favorite haunts, cutest outfits, and most loved products used in everyday life.
- Social medialites, as I like to call them, have gained tremendous trust with their followers due to the routine sharing of personal content, ongoing engagement with fans, and a feeling of intimacy – however distant it might be in reality.
- When the influencers a person follows on social media wears something, uses a product, eats food, or does something fans like, they want to know how they can do it too.
Just in case these points have not quite convinced you of the power that influencer marketing has over the consumer marketplace, let me share some statistics and facts:
- 84% of millennials don’t trust direct brand advertising.
- Influencer marketing is based on social proof from genuine fans and real customers.
- When a brand toots their own horn, it sounds like bragging. When influencers share sponsored posts on behalf of brands, the content is received as non-invasive and welcome.
- Brand ambassadors or influencers who promote on behalf of companies are seen as sincere. Influencer recommendations for brands provide that company with much needed external “social proof”.
- 70% say that online reviews are their second-most-trusted source, and 47% of U.S. readers consult blogs to keep tabs on trends and ideas (SocialTimes).
- Influencers can share invaluable brand information that is otherwise lost in translation; product demos, detailed descriptions, opinions and endorsements, the ability to engage when consumers comment positively or negatively about a brand.
I will leave you with one very powerful example of how influencer marketing has worked for one brand. In an influencer marketing campaign for Lord & Taylor last year, 50 Instagram users posted photos of themselves wearing the exact same dress. There was no backlash or distrust of the brand as a result of multiple influencers wearing the same dress. Instead, the opposite occurred: that dress sold out within a week.