Consumers don’t want to be bombarded intrusive advertisements, and more often than not, they trust third party recommendations rather than a brand itself. It is key for today’s marketers to be creative about how they are going to grab the attention of consumers. As influencers have played a key role in digital marketing in 2016, the collaboration between big brands and influencers is set to increase even more in 2017.
According to influencer marketing platform, Linqia, 48% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2017, and according to Bloomberg, $255 million is spent on influencer marketing every month, just on Instagram. Influencers are becoming increasingly valuable, and they will be key for brands to utilize it in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Data from influencer platform, MuseFind, shows that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. It has become a significant trend in the marketing world, and if it’s done right, it can be a great opportunity to increase brand engagement and drive sales.
Choose an influencer that aligns with your brand
Choosing the right influencer for your brand is something that is easy to overlook. It can be tempting to choose an influencer with the highest amount of followers, but they should be someone who is relevant to your brand. It is more beneficial to determine which influencer has the right personality and audience that will complement your brand, rather than choosing someone with the most traffic i.e. followers.
Think about how your brand image pairs with their social media personality. Does your brand align with crafty moms, fitness gurus, food fanatics, or someone who is fashion-forward? Just because a tech-savvy influencer posts photos of their dog doesn’t always mean they will be the right match for your dog food brand. It is important to pin-point an influencer that fits into your niche, and will resonate well with your audience.
Prioritize engagement over reach
Aside from choosing the right influencer that matches your brand’s personality, the amount of engagement their content receives is something to consider. Your goal should be to find an influencer that is as productive for your brand as possible. The number of followers an influencer has is not as important as the amount of engagement they receive on posts. Audiences that act on an influencer’s content (likes, comments, shares) are more likely to convert.
A new study reveals that as an influencer’s number of followers rises, the rate of engagement with followers begins to decrease. Users that had less than 1,000 followers generate comments about 0.5% of the time, while those with 10M+ followers generate comments 0.04% of the time. Since higher engagement leads to higher conversion rates, this is something to keep in mind when leveraging influencers into your marketing strategy.
You could choose the perfect influencer for your brand, but if you don’t create a consistent marketing campaign, your efforts might be wasted. Consistency will allow your audience to see your brand values, and will create a constant experience for your audience across different channels. For instance, a consistent hashtag will allow your audience to recognize your campaign, making them more likely to engage with it. Consistency is what builds trust and keeps the communication going between a brand and it’s audience.
For example, in 2016, Mercedes Benz leveraged an influencer marketing campaign with Loki, a wolf dog with over a million followers on Instagram, and his owner, Kelly Lund. The luxury car brand created a commercial featuring Loki and Kelly, in order to promote the 2017 Mercedes GLS. In addition to the commercial, Mercedez Benz and Loki showcased images of the experience on Instagram, using the hashtag #MBPhotoPass. This goes to show that a consistent influencer marketing campaign is key to engaging your audience.