The secret is out of the bag: influencer marketing is one of the top trends in 2017. What does a trending industry mean and how can you make the most of influencer marketing for your company? That’s what we are here to talk about today.
Influencer Marketing: An Industry on the Rise
Although this industry has been around for many years now, the pace is picking up in recent years and months. If you are a company who has found it challenging to reach your ideal customer, you understand that disrupting traditional marketing practices is necessary for your business to succeed. It is no longer possible to continue working the same channels and expect the same results.
Digital, the new King of Marketing, has set the stage for a virtual dance between brands for who can win the attention and loyalty of online shoppers. This dance has proven more difficult due to some factors.
What Has Led to Influencer Marketing’s “Trendiness”
- The average person spends one hr and 40 minutes on social media every day (Source)
- In 2016 ad blocker users increased to 86.6 million up from 69.8 million Internet users (or 32% up from 26.3%) (Source), which makes reaching the end-user through PPC and other traditional digital marketing means near impossible.
- Nearly 70% of Millennials, a highly-desired yet hard-to-reach demographic, have been reported to use ad blockers. This is a major deal breaker for traditional digital advertising methods. (Source)
- The retail industry is expected to double its social spending in the next five years in products and services, to 22.1% and 26.1% up from 9.0% and 12.9%, respectively (Source)
- The problem with an increase in social media spending? “Only 3% of CMOs surveyed reported said social was contributing ‘very highly’ to the companies performance, while about a fifth said it wasn’t at all important to performance.” (Source)
Proof that Influencer Marketing is the Trend of the Year
Don’t trust what we have to say. Sure, we run influencer marketing campaigns all day long, but anecdotal evidence is just that – our experience. The data speaks for itself, and the trend is picking up not only because brands want new ways to reach customers. Conscious consumers sit at the other end of their [name your smart device], trying to dampen the virtual noise in search of an authentic connection with brands whose products and services that could improve their lives.
Influencer marketing has risen at the perfect time as the solution for both companies and consumers to save the consumer marketplace.
The graph below shows a Google Trends comparison of influencer marketing vs. PPC marketing 2004 through 2016. PPC marketing interest tanks drastically while interest in influencer marketing sharply rises in recent months. The same has been shown when compared with content marketing and for influencer marketing as its own search term.
- To break that down for you, searches for influencer marketing have increased more than 90 times since 2013
- Nearly 85% of marketing professionals plan to launch at least one influencer campaign in the next 12 months (Source)
- Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing (Source)
- When making purchasing decisions, 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers. (Source)
- Twitter users report a 5.2X increase in the intent to purchase when exposed to influencer sponsored content. (Source)
- 40% of people say they have made an online purchase after seeing an item used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube (Source)
- It is viewed by 73% of Millennials as a responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (Source)
- 70% of influencers feel that the most effective way to collaborate with brands is through an influencer marketing platform. (Source)
Maximizing the Trend for Your Brand
All this chatter is great, but what does it mean for your company and the bottom line (and bottom dollar)? Well, if you take all of the research seriously, it means a lot. Many experts today would agree that leveraging influencers will be the difference between a thriving, successful business and a business who sees a slow, painful demise. As an entrepreneur myself I do not make this statement lightly; I recognize the gravity of the times and what it takes to convert even one customer in the marketplace. Influencers can make or break your business. The data speaks for itself, the ROI’s are like none other, and online consumers, particularly younger generations respond to influencers better than any other form of marketing you can throw at them.
- Influencer marketing is no longer an “off-label” industry. Rules, regulations, standards, and ethics exist here. Tenured, ethical, agencies with high standards exist to manage the ins and outs of your influencer campaign. The perception is no longer “just another social media post” but rather a professional industry that demands leadership. Consider using experts where you do not have expertise – your time and money will be much better spent.
- Gone are the days of “freebies.” Expect to pay for your influencer services, as it should be. If you attempt to get into a bartering war with an influencer your campaign will suffer, as will your brand’s reputation.
- Know your niche and target related influencers. If you don’t know your customers and the narrow niche within which they exist, how will you ever find the influencers who can spread word about your company? I’m surprised when I meet entrepreneurs who have such a vague idea about their brand and offering because people have found them via word of mouth. All of a sudden they want to step into social media and they are like lost puppies. Take the time to know your target audience to the core.
- Have a specific campaign goal in mind, and move from there.