You’ve heard the rumors, and you’re wondering if they are true; is social influence marketing really the golden goose – the holy grail – of marketing, everyone is making it out to be?
In fact, yes, studies are proving that influencer marketing is just as effective as everyone projected it to be.
Still, do you sit there wondering; what in the heck is social influence marketing anyhow? You’ve read about it, you may have even explored it, but social influencer marketing is still very new on the marketing frontier and we are learning more and more about the nuances every day.
Defining Social Influence Marketing
Social influence marketing (also known as influencer marketing) = A relatively new form of marketing that utilizes the social influence of certain individuals (celebrities, bloggers, thought leaders, etc), to impact consumer behavior.
According to Wikipedia, influencer marketing is a form of marketing that has emerged from a variety of recent practices and studies, in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole.
Influencers are the individuals who make it all possible. They are typically social media and blogging mavens with a massive and loyal following, who hold power to affect consumer decisions to a high degree. Influencers can be found on every social platform, in every niche imaginable, from Ricky Dillon with his quirky YouTube videos to L.A. star on the rise, Amanda Oleander to luxury travel marketing strategists like Ann Tran.
- 92% of people turn to those they know for recommendations, over other sources (Neilson)
- WOMM (word of mouth marketing) generates twice as many sales as paid advertising, a reported 37% higher retention rate with these customers (McKinsey)
- ROI is $6.50 for every $1 invested on social influencer marketing (Tomoson)
The Role of Social Influencers
Social influencers are the key to a successful marketing campaign and increasing brand exposure as well as sales. Influencers take a number of routes to collaborate with brands on influencer campaigns. Some of the possibilities include:
- Twitter parties with one to hundreds of influencers
- Blog articles on your behalf
- Product reviews
- Share your company’s brand, products, or launches on their platforms
- YouTube product or ad videos
- In-person coverage of a launch party or opening, with social media coverage
- Any combination of the above
Social influencers have built their livelihood by writing, V-logging, blogging, and pinning, day in and day out. Certain influencers gain large followings due to their unique voice and quirkiness, others for their authority. A good way to look at it is that an influencer is their own personal brand, and they are professional marketers who have built an exceptionally massive following, most often due to a willingness to be authentic, bold, different, and determined. Many influencers began their YouTube channel or blog as a personal project that grew into envy-worthy social influence quality content over time, while others set out to become social influencers and targeted their content as such. The initial intention matters little, what is important for brands is the influencer’s ability to wield gold out of social media content. Read more about the most popular pet influencers to give you a better idea.
Working with Social Influencers
Working with a social influencer on an influencer marketing campaign is a great idea, but where do you begin? Connecting directly with influencers can be challenging although not impossible. This article in Entrepreneur offers some ideas about how to connect with high-profile influencers on your own. If you choose to go it alone, how can you tell if someone holds significant social influence, enough to make an impact worthy of an influencer marketing campaign? One of the best things to do is take a look at their Klout score, a number 1-100 that takes into consideration total number of followers across all platforms, as well as things like reach, engagement, Wikipedia ranking, and other factors.
What are the benefits of collaborating directly with influencers? You have the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with that person, to have a sense of control over your social influence campaign, to direct your content when and where you wish. Drawbacks? Consider that most influencers worth working with nowadays are represented by influencer marketing agencies, so even if you do contact them directly you might be dealing with a 3rd party anyhow. Other challenges you may not have considered include negotiated compensation, managing a long-term, muti-platform campaign with numerous influencers can become complicated and overwhelming, and keeping influencers engaged with your campaign over another campaign can become difficult, when working agent-free. Influencer brokering is also a common practice that allows for brands to hire influencers through a marketing agency.
If you have considered engaging a social influence marketing campaign and would like to explore options with a top influencer marketing agency, we are your go-to company. With over 4,000 influencers (and growing) in our network, an extremely selective exclusive representation process, and customized influencer campaigns, you are guaranteed success and high ROI. Contact us today to learn more.