influencer marketing – what is it and do you need it?

Influencer marketing image.

influencer marketing – what is it and do you need it?

Celebrities flogging products, brand ambassadors and sponsorship agreements are nothing new in the world of marketing but seemingly ‘ordinary’ people sharing their latest finds and favourite products on blogs and social media is now a thing. Yup, welcome to the world of influencer marketing.

What is it?
When you boil it down, it’s a bit like old fashioned word of mouth , but on steroids. Think about when a friend says to you: “On my goodness you must try these, they are the best.” And because you like and trust your friend and feel like you walk in similar shoes to them you are happy to save yourself the time of doing your own research and you simply do as they say.

Digital influencers are people just like your friend who happen to have built up large social media followings with their ‘expert’ knowledge, relatability and ability to connect with their followers. Their followers trust what they say and are happy to take their recommendations, just like you are with your friends.

Why does it work?
It is the perfect storm – we’re online … a lot (apparently we check out social media accounts at least 10 times a day), we’re exposed to thousands of marketing messages a day and it is hard for marketers to connect with us using traditional advertising channels, like ads. So just like when our friend saved us all that hassle and time with their recommendation, so to do influencers. In fact, according to Nielsen research, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family   over any other type of advertising.

Other research says more than 70% of millennials use ad blockers and don’t trust traditional advertising. In fact, this group give videos five seconds to catch their attention and then they swipe. The same research says 70% of younger YouTube subscribers trust influencers over traditional celebrity endorsed products, while 86% of women consult social networks before a purchase.

Sounds good, how do I get onboard?
So, I just send my product to ‘these influencers’ and watch my sales climb? Ah, if only life was that easy!

Like all good marketing tactics, it takes research, planning and smart execution. It’s also not the panacea for all your marketing woes. At the end of the day influencer marketing is just another channel and using influencers should sit right alongside all of the other elements in your marketing mix.

Influencer marketing is a slow burn and does require building a relationship. Just like you want your audience to connect with your product or service via your chosen influencer so to do you need to connect with your influencer and form a genuine relationship, otherwise it all has the potential to go a bit belly up and look fake…potentially causing more damage to your brand than good!

Lessons to learn from influencer marketing
Influencer marketing might not be right for your product or service but there are some lessons to learn from influencer marketing.

  1. Influencer marketing makes you think of your audience like individuals – that’s got to be a good thing right? Coz they are individuals and no one wants to be marketed to en mass.
  2.  Influencer marketing might make you think about what’s been said about you online. Just as an influencer can endorse your brand or product so to can people trash your brand online – make sure you are in this space looking at what’s been said. Apparently, 48% of customers who had a negative experience told 10 or more others. (Source: Harvard Business Review).
  3.  And lastly, perhaps it will make you (or your kids) a bit more aware of just how you are getting sold to these days. Remember it’s still just one person’s opinion and they might be getting paid to tell you just how much they love a certain product!

So, what’s next?
Dust of that marketing plan, get it up to date and see if an influencer is right for your brand and audience. If it is, then you need a strategy – who (celebrities or niche influencer), what platform/s,  budget, timing, how it works with your other marketing, what success looks like…etc.

Then, start following some influencers and see what you think – perhaps there is someone that just is ‘your brand’ and really speaks to you and potentially your audience.

Who we follow
Get on the ‘gram and check out the likes of Ethically Kate, Hannah Laity, Matilda Rice, David Farrier, Gemma McCaw, Sophie Hannah and Nanogirl.  And while you are there, if you want a giggle check out uglydesign.