A lot of business people think influencer marketing is a new thing. Well, it’s not. Tradesmen had used it as far back as the 18th century. Back in the day, wealthy elites talking about brands were a thing for advertising, because they were the ones who had influence. Before the social media age, popular people were the top choices because their large fan base was a profitable market size. Of course, so much has changed now. If you have at least one thousand followers on Instagram, you may well be called an influencer.
Even so, influencer marketing, just like social media marketing, is a highly misunderstood approach. We have many clients who used to consider it as a means to generate brand awareness. Although that is correct, the statement doesn’t show the entire picture.
It’s no wonder why marketers use the common metrics to measure the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube reach, impressions, and engagements are the main metrics. Do these numbers tell us the whole story? Well, no.
What these metrics miss is the fact that consumers are at varying stages of purchase. At any stage, a consumer may find influencer content, perhaps like it or share it, but he or she may not. More importantly, these figures don’t show a crucial aspect of marketing: conversion.
When influencer marketing agencies in Japan, United States, or UK talk about the effectiveness of their approach, they’re really concerned about conversion. After all, it doesn’t matter whether you’re enjoying sky high engagement if your sales are hardly affected at all. Social media popularity isn’t the end of your marketing goal. Sales is.
Consumers are actively involved in brand awareness.
This is a phenomenon brought about by the surge of internet dependence. As looking up products and services is at the tips of everyone’s fingers, there’s no excuse for being an uninformed buyer. People can just search for a local restaurant or a trendy pair of shoes or a hot holiday destination without browsing the yellow pages or reading tons of magazines. Gone are the days when brands have to show themselves at their customers’ doorstep. This means two things:
- Customers are actively choosing what to buy.
- Customers disregard brand advertising.
The average consumer now uses the internet to look for information and find services. They do Google searches, scour websites and blogs, and ask friends on social media for products they need.
More than 60% of customers interact with brand content once they have made a list and dropped several items from that list to narrow down their choices. By this time, they would have read reviews, asked friends for recommendations, and checked out your product pages. They most likely have read your social media posts. Brands can’t force themselves consumers. Consumers now are looking up brands relevant to them, brands they can trust, and an important part of the process is looking at what other consumers are saying.
It’s not enough that you identify your customers.
In both social media and influencer marketing, you need to understand your audience. If you know your customers, you know where they are, what they talk about, what makes them tick, and what interests them. Once you know these things, you can structure your content better so that they are more receptive to it.
Educate your audience.
An important aspect of digital marketing isn’t promoting your product, not even in a subtle sense. If the only thing consumers see about your brand is your ads, they will tune out. They don’t need ads. If they did, we wouldn’t be talking about creative ways to get to them.
The problem is it’s hard to educate, inform, and inspire people when they don’t know you. Today, the easiest way to get people to know you in a positive light is by having trustworthy people with substantial following talk about you. This is why sometimes we consider social influencers as the adhesive that glues brands and consumers together.
You can educate consumers by asking vloggers or writers to review your products or create demos. Bloggers can also feature your services when discussing problems they encounter in your niche. For instance, someone who blogs about clothes and fashion can mention your winter collection event in passing. Or a fitness vlogger can mention your homemade protein smoothie recipes when talking about post-workout nutrition.
Ask the influencer to give a review.
An important part of the buying process of the modern consumer in the age of information is seeking reviews. While recommendations from friends and peers are useful for most consumers, nothing tops the breadth of an influencer’s reach. From the perspective of business, it’s more efficient to tap influencers than to tap average social media users.
Companies have tapped bloggers to write reviews because they know a good handful of them read reviews. Anyone can review a product or a service. Your Facebook friend can do that, but brands aren’t interested in her if she only has 250 friends. An influencer is the right person to create review posts and videos because of his or her reach. More importantly, their followers trust what they say, unless perhaps if the review is too patronizing.
The crucial factor in independent reviews is they don’t come from the brand itself. They come from people who genuinely inform consumers with the aim of helping them make better buying decisions.
Make influencers your partners in selling.
There are several ways to make your influencers sell your brand without being too insufferably obvious. Influencers can announce sales events, promos, and discounts. Don’t just use this approach to bring in sales. Use this to track where your customers came from. For instance, one influencer may be bringing you more customers than the others.
People trust influencers. Today most of them are people with big social media networks. Who knows what they are in the future? Social dynamics are changing, but it’s good that we’ve identified them now and determined what they need and, thus, how to approach them. Influencer marketing agencies like us help brands do their homework. We know your would-be partners in social media and content marketing are up to 10 times more effective than you.