We’re all consumers here, so let’s do a little thought experiment together. Think about the last few things you purchased or new spots in town you investigated. Do you remember how you heard about those products or places initially? Did any of the information you used in your decision originate from family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, or celebrities?
If so, consider yourself INFLUENCED.
Word of mouth (WOM) isn’t anything new, and it’s certainly not a bad thing; as long as we’ve been conducting transactions of goods and services, we’ve expressed opinions and shared experiences. “Influencer marketing” is simply the modernized version of word of mouth, selectively enhanced by product placement originating from a trusted source (an influencer).
Today, many brands are using influencer marketing as a powerful amplification layer for their social and content initiatives.
Word of Mouth is Dead, Long Live Word of Mouth
“Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused.” True words, indeed, but not a new circumstance. In fact, that quote is from Dr. Samuel Johnson in his The Idler essays—published in 1759!
The consumer world has become inundated, and we’ve adapted by turning off our attention—and tuning up our bullshit meter. With the barrage of ads we’re exposed to each day, it’s not surprising that we trust people more than logos. Nielsen studies show that we trust people about twice as much as we trust brands and organizations.
Do You Need Influencer Marketing?
Yes, you do. “But, Jay,” you ask doubtfully, “how can you KNOW I need it?” I know you need it, because you’re already doing it. Influencers already exist in your customer base.
These individuals are talking about your brand at this very moment. They are creating content through texts and photos and Tweets and Snaps. They are introducing new people to your business. They are advocating on your behalf and defending you during those times you have to hug your haters.
Formalizing relationships with existing and new influencers makes good business sense beyond curating great UGC and strengthening your brand’s reputation. According to consulting company Tomoson, brands are seeing average returns of $6.50 in revenue per $1 spent on influencer marketing. That’’ll work.
Know Your Influencer
Marketers commonly identify three types of influencers based on the number of followers they command and what value they may bring, but don’t fall into the trap of assuming that a bigger audience equates to a more “valuable” influencer. Even individuals with smaller followings can contribute to a winning influencer strategy and should be considered in your marketing mix.
Before launching any campaigns, consider both the tangible stakes of cost and time as well as the intangibles such as trust and reputation. The most successful brand-influencer partnerships are those that define goals, determine metrics, outline expectations, and communicate results.
Not every individual will be a good fit for your brand, so be strategic about with whom you work (and how). Influencers can be engaged under either paid and/or unpaid (“earned”) arrangements—the choice may change depending on business budget, timeline, and philosophy. As expected, there are both benefits and challenges to earned and paid influencer marketing, but no matter what, the best possible scenario is to find the right influencers and build relationships BEFORE you need them.
Services including Insightpool and GroupHigh exist to help businesses efficiently identify and contact potential influencer partners. Criteria such as industry, audience size, content expertise, and more can be quickly matched with results displayed through user-friendly dashboards.
If you don’t want to perform outreach yourself, there are even influencer “talent agencies” like Viral Nation and IZEA who can assemble a custom social task force for you. Talk about some instant marketing super powers!
Whether a brand hires influencers via a service or earns them through organic interaction, what matters is this: “At the heart of both paid and earned influencer campaigns is creating long-lasting relationships.” After all, a successful brand-influencer relationship can have overarching effects beyond supporting a one-time campaign. It’s worth investing the time and effort to nurture long-term benefits.At the heart of both paid and earned influencer campaigns is creating long-lasting relationships. Click To Tweet
Above and Beyond
Through the trust we extend to those in our circles of influence, we’re able to learn new information, solve existing problems, and discover new joys. That makes word of mouth a very powerful thing, when you think about it. Used selectively and managed correctly, influencer marketing can be a win-win-win for brand, influencer, and customer alike. As civil rights activist Andrew Young gently reminds, “Influence is like a savings account. The less you use it, the more you’ve got.”
Think about how you could use influence marketing to reach your customers, and let us know what successes and challenges you’ve been finding. If you want to learn more about the advantages of earned and paid influencer marketing and how influencer-based advertising can help scale your marketing efforts, download “Paid and Earned: The Two Sides of Influencer Marketing.”
This post is part of a paid sponsorship between Insightpool and Convince & Convert.
Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from the strategy team at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.