What do Kayla Itsines, Brian Kelly, Danielle Bernstein, and PewDiePie all have in common? Each of these non-celebrities have made a living out of being an influencer in their respective industries. With the help of social media, these individuals and hundreds of more like them are getting paid to endorse products by showcasing relevant companies to millions of their followers online.
This is influencer marketing in a nutshell.
Influencers are people with massive amounts of followers across one, or several, social media platforms. People follow these individuals for their content and enjoy seeing what they’re up to in their personal lives and their niche. As with anybody, there are various levels of interest among these fans ranging from people who want to buy anything that these people share to a casual interest and curiosity. Influencers are often very well known within their niche, but aren’t always house hold names or celebrities.
Why Influencer Marketing Works
Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept, only really taking off in the last couple of years, with the rise of social media. Social media has given people a platform to share their life with the world. It’s inviting audiences to experience life with someone that they admire, who might be just like them. These people that ordinarily would have been doing their own thing are able to make money due to those that are curious about how they are living their life.
People are fascinated by how others live their lives, especially if they’re particularly talented in their niche. It’s why gossip magazines have an audience – people want to feel like they know what is going on in the life of a celebrity they look up to. Sometimes with celebrities, there can be this feeling of “that’s a whole different world” than the one you live in. With influencers, it can feel more genuinely like these people are just like you.
Influencer marketing is increasing due to the popularity and appearance of authenticity that comes with someone that consumers can relate to. When consumers see non-celebrities like themselves using a product or service, they are more likely to trust the product. Think about it, whose opinion would you rather trust – someone that you feel like you know that tells you about a product or a celebrity that’s on a commercial?
Influencer marketing in 2018
In 2018, influencers are going to be more transparent about if they are being paid to endorse a product. They can do this through using #ad, creating a sponsored post that is done through ad managers, or when they post themselves, using the “paid partnership with _______” feature that is typically the location line.
Instagram continues to be the most popular format for influencers; however, they’re on all kinds of social media. According to Sprout Social, (https://sproutsocial.com/insights/influencer-marketing/) Facebook and Snapchat being the next two popular platforms, followed by Twitter and Youtube.
This year, try to do more than have an influencer pose with your product. If you want them to really champion behind it, have them tell a story, share videos, or bring other creative ways to the platform to show how much they love your product or service. Keep in mind, it’s very important to choose the right influencer for your company that will endorse your product or service enthusiastically, not just because you’re paying them to do so.
A big focus this year is going to be on the return on investment (ROI). Like with any marketing campaign, you want to see what the ROI is and if it’s worth it to keep investing in that form of marketing. According to Edelman (https://www.edelman.com/post/top-trends-2018-influencer-marketing/) there is going to be more calls to action, test and learn, and shoppable retail posts appearing. A good way to track these posts is by giving your influencer a unique promo code and looking at your analytics to see how much traffic to your website is coming from the platforms your influencer is on.
At the end of the day, the main purpose of investing in influencer marketing is advocacy for your brand. You want these people to champion for your brand and promote it with authenticity. If you don’t choose the right influencer, it can compromise your intention and not give you the desired results.