It began when Instagram influencers exploded in popularity. Influencer marketing takes advantage of these everyday people that have achieved fame and following through their social media channels, usually because a vast group of people love their voice or their style.
Influencer marketing uses these key leaders to promote a brand, product or service. Of course, this is nothing new. Businesses have used celebrities to advertise their products for a long time. Only now, they can advertise using not-quite-celebrities and can still see a mega return on their spend.
We’re in the era of social media and Australians spend around 10 hours a week on Facebook alone. So, it makes sense to put your product where your consumers are, by selecting a trusted public figure to shout about its benefits.
The Resistance of Influencer Marketing
Like all polarising ideas, influencer marketing has had its share of resistance. Certain brands and marketers claim that the fad is on its way out and they have a lot of arguments against the strategy.
But – Social Media Users are Smarter than that!…
Some businesses have refused to give into the hype of influencer marketing. Maybe it’s not suitable for their industry, or they can’t think of a relevant public figure with the digital following necessary for a successful influencer campaign.
Usually, though, it’s because they don’t believe the hype. It’s certainly true that social media users are savvy to the obviously set-up arrangement between a brand and a public figure. Instagram influencers are the main culprit, here. They hold up a face cream or drink from a carton of coconut water and tag the brand in their post.
It’s a marketing technique that got old quickly.
That’s why it’s important to be smart. Instead of opting for celebrities to endorse your products, choose someone that’s relevant to your industry. For example, if you’re in real estate or interior design, get an architect on board to big up your business.
But – What About the New Facebook Algorithm Changes?
At the very beginning of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg promised he would make some changes to the way Facebook’s news feed works. Recently, posts by family and friends have been overridden by the vast influx of posts from brands and businesses.
Naturally, Facebook users complained. They want to see updates from their friends that have just had a baby, or family members that are off on a round-the-world trip. Instead, those posts have been over-shadowed by brands advertising their products and trying to get us to visit their websites.
In the words of Zuckerberg, “[we’re] focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
So, what does this mean for the social media influencers out there?
A reasonable prediction says that they won’t be affected at all. In fact, they could be even more useful for brands. Influencers are still seen as a “person” rather than a “business”. They’ve built up their magnificent following through developing a voice that people love. It’s likely that their posts will still gain traction and exposure to their audience.
The chances are that businesses will want to get social media influencers on their side, in order to continue to promote their products. That means that influencers will be able to charge a premium for their service and are probably not going to sell-out anytime soon.
There’s no telling whether Facebook will roll out another algorithm change to target pages from influential figures, but for now, we think they’re pretty safe.
But – Influencers are Too Expensive!…
There’s no doubt about it, if you want to hire someone with a huge following to represent your brand, it’s going to come at a price. Influential figures got to where they are because they’re good at what they do and their audience is engaged in their lives, so the price they can charge is basically limitless.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the investment.
Tomoson conducted a survey in 2015 that found that on average, businesses make $6.50 for every dollar they spend on social media influencers. That’s an ROI you don’t get with a lot of marketing strategies.
59% of marketers planned to increase their budget for influencer marketing for the following year, suggesting that the technique is still on the rise.
The Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing
Reasons you may want to give it a miss:
- You get less control over the narrative. Basically, your brand is in the hands of the influential person. You have to give them control over what’s being said to preserve the authenticity of the message. If it’s too “salesy” or sounds different to the person’s usual voice, the public won’t buy the message or your product.
- Recently, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) passed a rule to say that influencers must be up front when their post is making income for them. The update gets a little bit less credibility when we’re told that it’s up there for marketing purposes.
- Many influencers overdo it. 37% of females un-followed an influencer when they posted too much sponsored content. Once it becomes all about financial gain, consumers lose interest.
Here’s why it could be for you:
- Traditional ads don’t perform. Consumers ignore, or even block, online ads in traditional formats that show up on their screen. As many as 26% of desktop users have ad blockers turned on, so even if your ads usually convert well, a quarter of your consumers aren’t seeing them.
- Your brand is placed in front of your relevant target audience. The ads seem more natural and organic, as your buyers are already following the influencer in question. They’re interested in that niche, so they’ll probably be interested in your product.
- The public trust the public figure. 54% of female consumers said they purchased a product after seeing it being advocated by an influencer. We feel like we know these people, so the technique gives us a similar feeling to when a friend recommends a product to us.
Will the Domination of Social Media Influencers Continue?
It’s difficult to say whether Facebook and Instagram influencers will continue to dominate the marketing landscape. While some believes it’s a fad and a buzzword that will fade sometime soon, others are choosing to invest more and more in an influencer campaign.
To take advantage of the tactic, it’s important to be creative. Be selective with the influencers you use and craft an engaging campaign that isn’t too aggressive. If your audience think the ad is inauthentic or uses too many spammy hashtags, it will give your brand a bad name.
This post from Hubspot highlights 10 influencer marketing campaigns that could inspire you to start your own. Check out the brands that are doing it right.
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