Why You Should Be Investing in Influencer Marketing

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If you haven’t already been exposed to the power of influencer marketing, then prepare yourself. The following article will provide you with an insight into the influencer marketing world and why you should be investing in it for your business. If you don’t quite know what influencer marketing is yet, that’s ok - we’re about to break it down for you.

Influencer marketing is essentially the process by which brands collaborate with influencers in order to produce content. Think of it like the days of celebrity endorsements, but the rules of what defines a “celebrity” have greatly shifted, and these sorts of endorsements now happen almost entirely on social media.  

Given all that, the real question remains - why should you be investing in it? Why is it so powerful for brands? Well, we’re going to answer that for you. Looking at the industry itself, the market, the power of the brand / influencer fit as well as the end result, we are going to break down why influencer marketing is an essential marketing tactic for any business which is looking to grow.

The industry

The growth of the influencer marketing industry alone should be enough of a reason to take notice of it a or at the very least raise curiosity as to what it can do for the evolution of your business. In 2017, the industry was valued at $1.07 billion. It's forecast to grow to $2.38 billion in 2019 and, by 2020, it's set to reach a value of 10 billion dollars. Google Trends also reported that “influencer marketing” as a search term had risen by 400% over the last 2 years.

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If you look at the feedback from senior marketers who have utilized influencer marketing in the past, 94% believed it to be a powerful tool and in the US alone, 48% of marketers plan on increasing their budgets for influencer marketing as we move into 2019. There are several unique factors about influencer marketing, and the industry itself, that make it incredibly valuable for the right brands. For example, it allows businesses to expand their brand awareness and reach new, targeted audiences that aren’t as easily accessible through other platforms. If you’re smart about how your conduct your influencer marketing campaigns, then this tactic can potentially deliver 11x higher ROI when compared to more traditional types of digital marketing.

This is incredibly important due to the fact that new anti-tracking features recently released by Apple are now making it harder for marketers to calculate the return on investment for digital ads. The Intelligent Tracking Prevention (IPT 2), was designed to completely prevent the tracking of cookies on Safari’s browser from working in the open web. The intelligence needed to monitor influencer marketing doesn’t yet exist, making it an untapped marketing tactic that brands should be investing in.

The market

Traditional marketing techniques are losing momentum among the Generation C and Millennial audiences. Findings in a research conducted by the McCarthy Group, showed that 84% of millennials dislike traditional digital marketing. They also don’t trust it. Similarly, this style of marketing also has a difficult time reaching Generation C because this audience already has ad blockers installed on their devices.

So what do you do? Well, you can’t ignore them, because millennials alone make up 25% of the population. They’re also on track to spend around $200 billion dollars each year. So how do you market effectively to this audience? The answer is social media and influencer marketing. Now we’re not just talking about posting a random picture on Instagram with some emojis as the caption and calling it ‘marketing’. We’re talking about highly targeted, specifically orchestrated content production that’s produced by people that have been carefully selected, based on a number of metrics, to promote your brand.

Influencer marketing could be considered the modern digital marketing loophole of the e-commerce industry. It’s not to say that influencer marketing works for everyone and every brand. However, businesses should be taking notice of this method as a means to reach their ultimate target market in a way that will be effective given the current e-commerce climate. The social media platform you utilize predominantly comes down to the nature of your product. So you need to ensure that you are using the right platforms that best showcase your product. The most important things to note are that this is where your ideal target market lives now. 59% of Generation C reported that they use the internet as their main source of entertainment, and 47% of millennials from the McCarthy Group study stated that the Internet is the primary thing they cannot live without.

If you combine those figures with those reported by Defy, that found that 58% of young viewers don’t mind watching or looking at ads to support their favourite digital personalities, you are left with the clear conclusion, that the right influencer, that promotes the right product, on the right social media platform is going to be highly influential and very effective at gaining targeted exposure and generating high intent traffic for a brand. Therefore, it makes influencer marketing a perfect fit for this generation and audience, who are currently actively avoiding traditional digital marketing methods.

The fit

There are various aspects of influencer marketing that make it vastly different from any other digital platform or service. One of the most valuable features it offers marketers, is the ability to find influencers that have the ideal “fit”. When we refer to “the fit” in regards to influencer marketing, what we’re really talking about is the fit between the influencer, the market, the platform and the product.

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Image by Johannes Weirather via blackotter.com

Aligning the right influencer with the right product is at the core of this framework. However, there’s another layer to that which needs to be evaluated, and that’s the influencer/channel fit. Influencers themselves can exist and excel on one, or many platforms. Some influencers are hugely successful on Youtube for example, generating millions of subscribers on a regular basis, but may only have a few thousand followers on Instagram. Similarly, there are influencers on Instagram that have millions of followers but don’t even have a Youtube account, or a Snapchat or Twitter account.

If this framework is understood, and implemented correctly, it can have huge beneficial implications for your brand. Investing in the right influencers who fit perfectly with your brand gives you the opportunity to collect your own branded content, essentially for free. It also allows you to reach your ideal customers in a highly organic environment as opposed to traditional digital marketing methods and helps generate massive exposure of your brand through the influencer network. In addition to that, if you manage the relationships well, these influencers can eventually turn into brand ambassadors for your business, which is highly valuable and beneficial in today’s market.

The power of social proof

There’s a quote that states, “When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customers say it, it’s social proof.” The power of social proof in today’s market is one of the core factors in determining brand success. Social proof refers to the influence that other people’s attitudes and actions of a given situation, have on one’s own behaviour. The short of it is, today’s consumer is becoming increasingly more aware of what is an “ad,” and what is real. As a result, consumers rely on the social proof of others more now than ever before. There are four different types of social proof: influencer social proof, user social proof, wisdom of the crowds and friends referral. The reality is that this generation of buyers are looking for reviews from well respected individuals that they look up to and trust, that give them reassurance and validation regarding the product or service they’re considering.

Influencer marketing allows you to speed up the generation of organic social proof. Using celebrities or experts as a catalyst, you have the potential to create mass awareness for your brand, that in turn, trickles down and results in the production of social proof among customers and friends. If you find influencers that have genuine authenticity, if the demographics of their followers fit your ideal target market and if they have a strong fit with your product or brand, then they become the biggest ambassadors for your brand. If you have a group of ambassadors that people legitimately look to for advice, then the social referral of that influencer becomes powerful in the decision making process. Their reach and the exposure that they can generate for your brand is as large and as vast as you want it to be. This is something that’s very difficult to achieve on other digital platforms. Not to mention the domino effect that can be triggered as a result of that. If followers of that influencer decide to try something from your brand and then start discussing, reviewing and promoting it - that’s organic social proof at its finest. And organic social proof can completely change your business.

The summary

Influencer marketing, when implemented correctly / effectively, can make a significant difference to your business. The various limitations that are starting to become apparent with other digital marketing tactics means that we as an industry need to get creative. We must start looking to other avenues to reach a target audiences. If you understand your consumer, the importance of pairing your brand with the right influencers that support your platform, and you are passionate about generating awareness for your brand, then investing in influencer marketing is a logical next step. At this stage, you really can’t afford not to.

About the author

Valentina Barron is an e-commerce branding and marketing powerhouse from Blackotter. She specializes in social media marketing, brand innovation, and email marketing. 


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