This is my second blog based on a fantastic event I attended a couple of months ago for London Tech Week. In my previous blog I discussed Eric Fulwiler’s (VaynerMedia) thoughts on the changing marketing environment, including consumer attention and video marketing. This week it’s all about Influencer Marketing.
So, what is influencer marketing?
In short, it is a form of marketing where attention is focused on influential people and their audience rather than focussing on the specific target market as a whole. Advertisers or marketers identify individuals that have influence over their target market and base marketing activities around these influencers (who are usually social media stars or celebrities).
The main benefit of influencer marketing is that they already have the attention of the target audience – they do not need to go out and get them. They already have thousands of followers and subscribers watching their every move and with the right strategy in place this can be incredibly beneficial to advertisers. It is widely noted that personal recommendations are the most trusted form of advertising, so why are more companies not getting on board with this revolutionary way of marketing?
Despite this, a lot of companies see trust as an issue with influencer marketing. A question asked during the event was, “will people continue to trust influencers, if they are no longer stillbeing true to themselves?”. I definitely think this is a valid point, but there are also ways to combat this. It is all based around who you choose to advertise and essentially sell your products, take for example, ‘Love Islander’ Jess Shear’s and her ‘embarrassing’ Instagram advertisements – she has completely lost her authenticity because she swamped her Instagram with brand after brand as opposed to genuine posts about her life – which fans of course want to see! This caused fans to completely see through her and this definitely does not create a good brand image for advertisers using her to sell their products. This proves how important strategy is in influencer marketing. A good remedy for this problem is focusing on smaller influencers such as @parryplus1 and @sassyredlipstick. Micro influencers are more cost effective, have more targeted audiences and most importantly are more authentic, they incorporate brands into their lives in a genuine way, as opposed to flooding social media with fake posts to boost brands and engagement – micro influencers are therefore more trusted. They may have slightly less of a following, but if companies can match their unique personal brand – they can immediately tap into an existing community of engaged followers, that have genuine trust in the person they follow.
The only other key downside to influencer marketing is that is it difficult to report on ROI, this is definitely a challenge to be conquered in 2017. Despite the inaccuracy of reporting – many companies have seen fantastic results through influencer campaigns in terms of brand awareness and outreach.
There are clearly pros and cons to influencer marketing, as there are with most advertising and marketing channels – I do however believe, this is an incredibly effective way to reach out to audiences across the globe. In Eric’s words, “now is the time to get on board with influencer marketing”, for companies both big and small. He believes everyone should test it, if it works, then invest in it now – stay ahead of the game and see the amazing results it can bring.
Written by Enya Haughey, Talent Acquisition Manager – Digital and Online Marketing
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