Influencer Marketing, The Next Big Thing?
Influencers. Influencers. Influencers.
Have you ever said a word so many times in your head it starts to sound funny? That’s what’s happening to us right now trying to wrap our heads around this crazy thing called Influencer Marketing. At first, it seems a bit ridiculous. People are making livings… actually, people are making killings in this industry, simply by building a following on social media and then talking about different products. On the other side, brands are completely kiboshing their previous, more traditional forms of marketing to put their advertising dollars towards influencers. The question is, are these people really crazy, or really smart?
Before we go any further, it’s probably pretty important to get a clear definition of what we mean when we talk about influencer marketing. Basically, it’s like getting the popular kids on social media (primarily Instagram and Facebook) to use and talk about your products. When we say “popular kids”, we don’t necessarily mean the Kylie Jenners and Selena Gomez’ of the world (although both of these Insta-Queens have been guilty of mentioning brands like Taco Bell, FashionNova, and FlatTummyTea in their posts). Often, influencers can be people with less than 1,000 followers. In fact, these low-follower “micro-influencers” are typically the ones who get the highest rate of engagement. All influencer marketing means is finding someone who is going to be relevant to your target audience, and getting them to talk about your product.
The question is, should you, as a business be using influencer marketing? In our opinion… yes.
Think about it from a consumer’s perspective… We’re not going to sit here and say that traditional forms of advertising don’t work, but we will say that 95% of the time, we, as millennial consumers, are doing everything we can to avoid them. When radio commercials come on we change the station, we fast forward through PVR’ed TV shows, we literally never read the paper, and the list goes on. A few years ago, before influencer marketing was half as big as it is now, Forbes even released an article stating that Millennials Don’t Respond to Ads. What do we respond to? Word of mouth.
And that’s where influencer marketing cracks the code. Millennials or not, users on social media follow people that they want to be like… people who live lives they want to live. So, if you, as a brand, can get these idolized people to use your product, and talk about it in a way that is authentic, you’re going to spark a whole lot of interest among the people who follow them.
Authenticity is the most crucial part of influencer marketing, not only for the influencer, but for the brand as well. If you decide to hire 100 different people, with 100 different audiences to talk about your product, people are going to figure you out pretty quickly. For example… hiring a Men’s Wear blogger to talk about your new Ladies Sport Deodorant doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (Ok… that example was a bit extreme, but you get the point). If you’re not finding influencers who’s posts about your product are going to flow seamlessly into their other posts, it’s just going to look like another ad (see paragraph above about millennials and ads).
But, if you can find someone who’s day to day life and social media already aligns well with your brand and offering, having them talk about your product is just going to look like a word-of-moth referral, only… you’re paying for it! This is where the magic happens.
If you’re looking to get involved with some influencers but are struggling to find someone who aligns with your brand, there are companies like VetterView who exist to meet this need. Search through lists and lists of potential influencers broken down by categories, price, and location. Find someone who is right for your brand, and watch what happens!
If you’re using an influencer right now, we want to hear about your experience. What’s worked for you? Do you prefer this method of marketing over more traditional forms? Let us know!