With an increasing number of online consumers using ad blockers, reaching the target audience through online ads appears to be more difficult than before. For all companies trying to circumvent this challenge, Influencer Marketing might just be the opportunity they are looking for. But what is Influencer Marketing and how can companies develop a successful Influencer Marketing Strategy?
Targeting the right audience
Influencer Marketing is a term in the marketing industry which emerged in the past few years. One can argue that it came about as a result of the increasing number of adblocker users, which made it more difficult for companies to reach their target audience by means of online ads. Therefore, Influencer Marketing arose as an alternative way to approach the target market.
Unlike other forms of marketing, Influencer Marketing focuses on specific key individuals, so called influencers, and not the target market as a whole. The goal is to identify individuals (influencers), who have gave gained the trust of the potential buyers and concentrate the firm’s marketing efforts on these individuals.
Oftentimes, the influencer content can be seen as testimonial advertising where the influencer assumes the role of a potential buyer and reviews products or services. It can also stem from third parties, such as journalists, academics, analysts, professional advisers or others. Although influencer content can often be seen as advocacy, one should not forget that it can also be negative.
Paid Influncer Marketing vs. Earned Influencer Marketing
When it comes to forms of Influencer Marketing, one can distinguish between paid and earned influencer marketing. Paid influencer marketing refers to one or more marketing campaigns in the form of sponsorship, pre-roll advertising or testimonial messaging. Earned marketing, on the other hand, results from unpaid or pre-existing relationships with influencers. In the latter case, influencers promote products or services of their own choice, which is often motivated by the will to increase their own social growth and is not compensated. Although all companies would prefer to engage more in earned marketing than in paid influencer marketing for financial reasons, both types of influencer marketing can generate invaluable assets to the marketers.
“…influencers can also have positive impact in the long run, such as improving the brand image and increasing the trust towards it.”
Effective on brand image
For instance, a successful Influencer Marketing Strategy can help establish and/or increase a company’s credibility on the market. Influencers create original and oftentimes effective marketing content that induce social conversations around the brand and, thus, increase the brand awareness. If successfully implemented, Influencer Marketing can result in higher online and/or in-store purchases of the company’s products. Last but not least, influencers can also have positive impact in the long run, such as improving the brand image and increasing the trust towards it.
Knowing the benefits of this new form of marketing, many companies seek to implement an Influencer Marketing Strategy. Nevertheless, failure to understand how Influencer Marketing works and selecting the wrong Influencer Marketing Agency to guide you through the process might make it more difficult to embark upon a successful Influencer Marketing Strategy.
Define your company’s audience before
Before engaging in Influencer Marketing, a company needs to define its online audience and the platforms, on which they are most active, e.g. Instagram, Blogs, Facebook. It is absolutely essential to develop a solid understanding of who can influence the audience’s consumer behaviour. Once a company has this knowledge, it will then be able to discover potential influencers. However, not all potential influencers are the right influencers. Companies should consider the expertise and independence of the influencer as well as his or her persuasiveness. In addition, it is important to consider the number of people the influencer can reach and its frequency.
“…it is important to monitor influencers and topics that they and their readers talk about and look out for new opportunities.”
Measuring KPIs of Influencer Marketing
Many companies wrongfully believe that the Influencer Marketing plan ends with the selection of influencers. It is often forgotten that the conversation around the brand, which an influencer encourages, can bring about invaluable insights to the company. Therefore, it is important to monitor influencers and topics that they and their readers talk about and look out for new opportunities. A proactive and experienced digital agency can play a vital role in ensuring the ongoing success of the newly implemented Marketing Strategy. As in all relationships, it is necessary that companies treat the influencers well and show appreciation for their interests and passion; this will help build a long-lasting and valuable relationship between the company and the influencer. Finally, one should not disregard the importance of measuring the results of Influencer Marketing. Useful KPIs might be website traffic, mentions, introductions, leads, number of followers etc. However, long-term effects such as increased brand awareness and brand image, which are more difficult to measure, should not be underestimated.
Positive impact on brand image and sales
Influencer Marketing can offer significant advantages to companies, especially in times when consumers have the right to opt out of online advertisement. Selecting the right influencers and regular monitoring is essential to the success of the new undertaking. If implemented correctly, the Influencer Marketing Strategy will not only improve the sales numbers, but will also have a positive impact on long-term goals such as brand image and brand awareness – an objective virtually all companies strive for.