Influencer promotion is a sector of the marketing world that’s growing thick and fast. In 2017 alone, the term “influencer marketing” increased by 325% in Google searches, and Instagram produced 12.9 million sponsored content posts alone. With marketers expected to invest an average annual budget of $25-50,000 into multi-faceted influencer campaigns as of this year, can working with this new wave of promoter be effective for all brands?
The biggest draw of working with influencers are exactly who they are – everyday people. We’re seeing a shift in popularity from the A-listers with it all, to those who are just like the consumer, talking about things we all know and love. The possibilities are endless for those with passions for niche sections of commercial industries, such as fashion and homeware. This quick and effective approach can quickly cut through the algorithm problems most brand marketers are faced with. A big following does count, but it isn’t everything. Even with a smaller target market, the classic consumer belief still works – if someone you like says something is, then it is. As for audience demographics, influencer marketing has provided a solution for brands connecting to the twenty-something consumers. For a group notoriously difficult to reach, connecting to influencers provides a group they can place strong value with when forming their own identity – a key consumer social identity theory.
As influencer marketing continues to rise, as do the doubts concerning their marketing effectiveness. Research has shown that in order to gain credibility, the overall marketing strategy success relies on four main factors – authenticity, expertise, attractiveness and relatability. A brand needs to ask if an influencer truly matches their values, if the person they want to work with would use and love their product in their day-to-day lives, away from business. The stereotype of influencer promotion, particularly on social media, being untrustworthy is now being combatted with stricter rules and regulations, emphasising total transparency. Trust in influencers goes hand in hand with this transparency, and being up front with who you’re working with, and why, is a great route for brands to take.
If utilised well, the pros of influencer marketing far outweigh the cons. However, brands still need to be aware of an influencer being the right fit – content and overall image could have lasting repercussions on a brand’s reputation. Platforms such as Klear, Traackr and HYPR are great ways of measuring influencer campaign engagement, and keeping well clear of those who may not be as genuine as they seem.
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