Did you know that 49 percent of consumers seek guidance on their purchases from social media influencers? Have you heard that brands are spending over $1 billion each year with influencers via Instagram? Celebrity endorsements are moving aside for online “celebrities” with powerfully engaged followers. Online influencers may be “regular people” at home, but they have large audiences who feel a connection to them and trust their recommendations.
Brands are shifting media budget to influencers
Influencer marketing will become a $5 – $10 billion market within the next several years. The tactic is growing rapidly among brands because it is less expensive than traditional mass media. It is also easier to measure than fragmented placements like television or radio. The budget reasoning is especially true with micro-influencers, those with a small but highly engaged following (they might have an Instagram audience of around 20,000, for example). Micro-influencers’ rates are much lower than their counterparts who have significantly more followers. However, they are very influential among their own audience and brands can benefit from partnerships with several at a time. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, marketing is more effective from a trusted person. Consumers, especially those in younger generations, are much more receptive to marketing that feels natural without being disruptive.
What to look for in an influencer
An effective influencer marketing strategy requires you to speak to the right people through an influential voice. Influence is more than just reach. So, what creates audience engagement with an influencer?
- Quality of content
- Ability to be personal with the audience
These influencer characteristics lead to trust, which is essential in this type of marketing. An influencer should not take every dollar offered by every brand. It is important that brand partnerships align with the content and values of the personality. The FTC requires disclosures whenever payment is involved, and consumers see through the personalities who tout every possible product that hands them money. Today’s consumers are social-savvy, but as long as they trust the influencer, they believe the content.
Through social networks, blogs, and content publishing, influencers create relationships and engagement. Their authentic and grounded voices can translate to marketing success. Look towards popular personalities and thought leaders in your industry for potential partnerships to boost your brand.