The way people buy has drastically changed—but on the other side of the spectrum, why people buy has changed as well. Today, people are more influenced by customer reviews, unboxing videos, and tips from family or friends more than any commercial ad. Consumers rely on other people’s opinions, especially people they trust. That’s why influencer marketing is now a must-have business strategy.
The year 2017 has solidified influencer marketing as an effective strategy. On average, a business generates $6.50 for every $1 that’s invested in influencer marketing. In addition, 57 percent of beauty and fashion companies now rely on influencers as a vital part of their marketing campaigns, and 71 percent of people are more likely to make a purchase based solely on a social media reference. Consumers trust influencers and are clearly swayed by their opinions, just as influencer marketing is intended to do.
If you’re still not sold on this up-and-coming marketing strategy, here’s why influencer marketing is essential for your business and its success.
It’s, Well, Influential
Every marketer knows positive word of mouth (WOM) is one of the most powerful selling tactics on the planet. One customer has a great experience, they tell a friend about it, and before you know it, your business has two new reliable customers. It’s a circle that will always work in the favour of your business.
People simply trust other people more than the brands themselves—in fact, positive WOM generates twice as many sales as traditional paid advertising. This proves people don’t want to be sold to; they want to have products recommended by someone they trust.
This simple fact creates an opportunity for businesses to promote their products and services through personalities their potential customers already trust, follow, and engage with. One simple recommendation, trial, or product review from an influencer introduces your brand to a larger audience that’s ready to be swayed.
It Follows Trends
If your business wants to survive, it has to adapt and that means going social. The world has adopted social media into every aspect of daily life, from shopping and chatting with friends to learning new recipes. If your brand isn’t up to date with the trends, you’re falling behind and losing sales. Influencer marketing is the trend of today and the future. This coming year, 70 percent of brands plan on increasing their social media spending in order to keep up with consumers’ social habits.
On the other hand, today’s consumers expect more from brands when it comes to selling. No one wants to be sold to. People want to be informed, entertained, and addressed directly. Brands are expected to have a personality, views, and opinions, and speak more like a friend than a company. It’s a shift that allows influencers and brands to partner up to become a force much more powerful than any form of traditional selling.
Traditional advertising tends to be rather disruptive. In most cases, people are not persuaded to buy anything, won’t remember your message, and will likely find the ad annoying. It’s no wonder millions of people have downloaded ad-blocking apps, pay for the premium version of Spotify, and watch Netflix rather than cable: They don’t want to be interrupted by a sale they have no interest in.
Perhaps that’s why influencer marketing has become so successful and has been adopted by so many brands; companies are able to connect and communicate with their desired audiences without becoming invasive or intrusive.
When people trust a social media personality, they want to hear what the influencer has to say. It’s not contrived or disingenuous, it’s the reason they have followers in the first place. By creating content with an influencer, you know your customers are being sold to in a way they’ll trust and respect, without annoying them or putting a negative spin on your brand.
Maybe influencer marketing is working wonders because it’s more organic and welcomed by today’s consumer.
When was the last time you shared a paid Facebook post? Have you ever liked or commented on an advertisement you saw on Instagram? How about YouTube pre-roll ads—have you ever watched an entire one without hitting the “Skip” button? The answer is likely no—digital advertisements aren’t often shareworthy.
You’re helping your business a smidgen if the paid content you put out is video, but for the most part, people aren’t very likely to share paid digital content. There is an exception, however, and that comes with influencer marketing.
Not only are people much more likely to share influencer content, but they’re more likely to engage with it. Whether it’s a like, a comment, or a share, when an influencer promotes your product or service, it’s no longer an ad: it’s a post from a social personality. This shareworthy content tends to have a ripple effect that can make your posts go viral. The more people like or comment, the more likely it is the Instagram algorithm will have your post hit the explore page, putting even more eyes on it. Additionally, when people share your content, everyone they follow is going to see the post as well. Soon, your influencer’s 100k followers become 200k followers, thanks to all the comments and shares.
It’s Trackable and Targetable
Traditional advertising can feel like a shot in the dark. With unclear reach estimations and confusing brand impact statements, everything can feel confusing.
That’s where digital marketing has the upper hand. Every move someone makes online can be tracked and analyzed, allowing marketers to make clear and informed decisions for the future. If a person likes your photo or clicks the link you shared, you’re going to know about it. This means you can determine which content people like.
The same goes for influencer marketing.
You can track your influencer campaign’s success by determining which posts attracted the most attention or earned the most shares. In most cases, you can even follow tracking data to determine how many customers came to your site directly from the influencer’s post and which ones ended in a sale. This helps you determine which type of content is most effective and which influencers connect with your audience the best.
It’s Great for SEO
Last but certainly not least, influencer marketing helps build a better search engine ranking. According to The Social Media Revolution, 25 percent of search results for the world’s top 20 brands stem from user-generated content.
The more your brand is mentioned on social media, the more popular and relevant you’ll become to Google. If no one ever mentions your brand, how does Google know to boost your ranking? With an influencer sharing your brand, more and more people will begin searching for you online, pushing you to the top of the Google results page. So, not only are you reaping the benefits on social media sites, but you’re gaining popularity on search engines as well.
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.