Today’s marketplace is increasingly connected, which in many ways has made it more competitive than ever. Companies are always in search of new ways to outshine the competition and increase profits. Digital marketing has become more popular in the race to survive, and the introduction of influencers has made a major impact across multiple industries. Let’s take a deeper look at how influencer marketing is changing the way companies do business.
How Influencer Marketing Is Changing the Industry
A social media influencer is an individual, brand, organization, or group that holds a strong degree of awareness, credibility, or social impact in a particular field or among a certain social group. With influencer marketing, companies engage influencers to drive their messages and expand brand awareness to new target audiences. It can be viewed as somewhat similar to word-of-mouth marketing, although it doesn’t necessarily rely on recommendations.
Influencers create consistent content and post it on their social media channels. Over time, they develop a following that has come to trust what they say and how they say it. Each influencer, therefore, develops a unique following, and a company can view this community as a distinct buyer persona group. If the company has targeted this group as a strong potential client base, it can partner with the influencer and devise a strategy to reach them.
Influencers Drive Deeper Engagement With Diverse and Creative Content Strategies
With the increased use of influencers, marketing campaigns have become noticeably richer and more diverse. One of the biggest reasons for this is that every company’s in-house marketing team is bound to hit a creative wall every once in a while, where ideas become stale and new content is hard to come by. Companies hire influencers to help fill in these creative gaps, either supplementing their marketing teams or replacing them altogether.
The best influencers are creative professionals who can bring fresh ideas and new insights into your target customer group. Further, experienced influencers have learned valuable lessons about distribution strategies that help get the most out of marketing content. As a result, marketing campaigns have become much more creative and are now delivered to target customers with greater efficiency and organic impact.
The Human Voice of an Influencer Creates Better Brand Awareness
Companies that partner with the right influencers have realized greater brand awareness, particularly when compared to outdated advertising campaigns. Consumers have grown weary of heavy-handed mass promotions, responding much better to organic and engaging forms of brand communication. Influencers represent more of a human voice, and the best ones are highly adept at seamlessly blending a company’s brand message into their daily lives.
Influencer marketing has been particularly impactful among Generation Z and Millennial audiences, who are much more open to receiving product and brand messaging through social media platforms. Because influencer messaging is often shared as social content, it doesn’t trigger the same distaste that consumers have for overt advertising. This style of social messaging also avoids ad blockers that limit the effectiveness of traditional ad campaigns.
Influencers Have Driven Greater Use of New Media
Influencers use engaging media such as video and podcasts to make personal connections with their followers. These formats have unleashed the power of storytelling, forging the types of personal bonds that were difficult to achieve with traditional advertising and marketing practices. Social media channels and internet search engines now place greater value on rich video and audio content and have provided users with increasingly easy tools to create it.
Video now makes up the vast majority of all internet traffic, and smart companies have certainly taken notice. Many understand that a successful marketing strategy should now include rich and engaging video and audio content that shares their brand story and message with consumers. Some post this content on their own websites and branded social media channels, while others look to reach new audiences with the help of influencers.
Consumers Are Now Savvier
Influencers have helped companies realize increased customer affinity by sharing brand stories in an authentic, transparent voice. They now communicate far more frequently with customers, using more channels than ever. With so much available content, it is now easier for consumers to thoroughly research a company before deciding to use its products or services. This means that brands must be careful to ensure their messaging reflects core company beliefs.
Consumers today place increasing emphasis on corporate responsibility, particularly around issues such as environmentalism and social justice. They are very savvy at recognizing shady practices such as greenwashing, where companies provide misleading information to make them seem more environmentally friendly than they really are. Influencer marketing relies on messages delivered by people who have already gained consumer trust.
The Use of Influencers Has Generated More Reviews
Whether it’s researching which new car to buy or where to have dinner, consumers love reading reviews. Companies across all industries know that good customer reviews help drive sales, and the pursuit of good reviews makes for better customer service and increased innovation. To generate more review activity, many companies send their products to trusted influencers in exchange for an honest review, which they then share on their social media channels.
This agreement directly generates a professional review, but even more importantly, it promotes the product to all the potential customers that follow the influencer who shared the review. Further, consumers who try a product as a result of learning about it from an influencer have proven more likely to share their own reviews. These reviews then reach yet another audience, with even more potential customers hearing about the product from someone they know.
Companies Are Seeing Increased Marketing ROI
Influencer marketing has driven greater return on marketing investment as it carries lower costs, leads to more sales, and increases efficiency in company operations. Paid advertising and other traditional marketing forms are increasingly more expensive, while influencer campaigns can be scaled to suit different budgets and demographic targets. Companies can further reduce costs by negotiating commission-based affiliate deals with influencers.
Beyond reducing costs, influencers also increase sales by helping drive customer purchase decisions. Influencers are trusted in their social media circles, and companies realize higher sales conversion rates by leveraging that trust with targeted campaigns. Influencers can also help streamline company operations by taking on the heavy burden of content creation. This allows a company’s in-house personnel to focus on more critical operational tasks.
Influencers Have Illustrated the Importance of Building Long-Term Customer Relationships
Influencers build their social networks over time, cultivating trust with consistent messaging across their social media channels. Companies have recognized that working with influencers can help with customer retention and brand loyalty by fostering longer-term relationships. While influencers were often initially engaged for one-off campaigns, companies now regularly partner with them for six months or longer.
Brands now understand that simply landing on the radar of their target demographic is not enough. Influencers can help them capture the attention of a new customer niche, but they must continue fostering these new relationships with ongoing communication and fresh content to close sales and build customer loyalty.
Companies Have Learned to Seek Quality Engagement Over Quantity
When companies first started using influencers, they assumed a large following was the key factor for campaign success. After discovering that many of these accounts were filled with paid or fake followers, companies began valuing quality over quantity by turning to so-called micro-influencers with roughly 3,000 to 100,000 followers. Today’s companies have taken it one step further by engaging nano-influencers, who typically have fewer than 1,000 followers.
Influencers with smaller communities tend to have a much greater impact on their followers, with greater engagement rates and suggestion power than those with larger communities. Nano-influencers often post content about a field they work in or an activity they are passionate about. They are thus seen as trusted experts by their followers, and this presents tremendous value for companies looking to leverage that trust in an authentic way.
Influencers Have Given Companies New SEO Insights
As influencers share a company’s messages on their social platforms, they receive a mountain of useful feedback from their followers including issues they are concerned with and keywords that often come up in conversation. They can also provide valuable insight into what sorts of content and language are having the best impact. This data is critical in helping a company formulate search engine optimization (SEO) and future content strategies.
Companies have also become more adept at deploying digital tools to get the most out of influencer relationships. Some brands request that influencers link to their content or product pages, using Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes to track where customer traffic is coming from. Using this alongside other assessment tools such as Google Analytics has provided companies with more accurate ways to measure SEO and marketing campaign effectiveness.
These are some of the notable ways that influencers have impacted marketing efforts and how companies communicate with potential customers. Contact Anthem Software to discover how influencers can help deliver the best return on your marketing investment.