Influencer marketing specialist Freya Lifely recently visited the Brilliant Noise office. She gave us an expert rundown of what brands should know about working with influencers to drive advocacy and sales.
Cut through the ad noise
Traditional marketing methods are no longer enough to reach consumer audiences. Customers today are savvy to brand messaging and instead look to trusted sources for reviews and recommendations. In addition, ad-block technology is in common use, and people trust in the ad industry is low. Research conducted in 2013 showed that only 14% of respondents remembered the last display ad that they saw and the company or product being promoted. The constant bombardment of ads has led to saturation in consumer tolerance.
Influencer marketing, however, can cut through the ad noise.
Avon’s #makeupyourownmind influencer campaign is a great example of how authentic influencer content can really engage consumers. Avon sent out an unbranded box of products to three key beauty influencers. The resulting videos show the makeup being reviewed (very positively) ending with the big reveal of the Avon brand. The content was edited in a number of formats and distributed on the brand’s, and influencers, social channels.
Audience engagement for the campaign was really positive, including a 20.8% view-through rate (compared to 16.3% on a previous campaign) and a 34% increase in customers finding a rep in their local area.
The value generated from influencer marketing can be tricky to estimate. There’s no industry standard and no clear research about what a successful campaign looks like. On top of that, the metrics used to determine value will vary depending on the brand, the social channel and the type of content. The takeaway here is that you have to very carefully consider the proper metric to measure success for you. This may be views, click-throughs or sales, depending on the campaign objectives.
Authenticity is key to success
Authenticity is at the core of influencer marketing’s success. Brand marketing is often perceived as inauthentic and purely in the brand’s interests whilst social influencers can be perceived as more trustworthy by loyal audiences. This may be because they talk openly about real, often personal, topics that audiences can relate to.
For example, Zoella, one of the most successful social influencers, has spoken to her audience about her experience of dealing with anxiety and panic attacks (one of these videos has over 3.9m views). Ingrid Nilsen, another YouTuber, came out as gay to her audience in a video that has over 16m views. The vast reach that social influencers have is partly enabled by these moments of intimacy with their audiences. Many audiences today are inviting influencers into their inner circle of trusted sources and advocating their causes, because they’re their causes too.
A symbiotic relationship with social channels
Influencers are contributing factors to the rapid change of social media channels. If the last 10 years can be taken as an indicator, social channels have a relatively short life: remember Bebo and Myspace? Influencers are creating content specifically for each channel and generating demand for the platforms in the process.
Social channels are constantly competing; developing new ways of creating and distributing content to attract influencers, and increase their user numbers. In turn, influencers need to become more creative and aware of what their audience wants to see. They, too, need to stand out and remain relevant to their audience.
Things to consider before you start
Before you go invest in an influencer campaign, you need to consider a few things:
- Define your goals. Is influencer marketing the right strategy for you? Ideally you want to plan for the influencer’s contribution to the campaign at the outset. This helps align the goals and principles of the brand with those of the influencer, making the collaboration more effective.
- Identify the channels. Each channel has a unique audience, and your key metrics will vary depending on the channel. Find out where your audience are and take the content to them.
- Define your audience. The data available from social channels is made for this. You can choose an influencer based on your key audience. One thing to bear in mind is that influencer audiences don’t always align to the influencer themselves – e.g. young male influencers may have a majority of female followers.
- Be creative, and encourage your influencers to do the same. The content produced by influencers can take many shapes and forms – the more creative freedom you are able to give an influencer, the more likely the content is to connect to their audience.
- Swot up on consumer rights and the regulations governing influencer marketing. These vary geographically, and are in a period of flux as influencer marketing gains in popularity.
- Don’t create partnerships without a contract. Treat any relationships with influencers as you would with any other business agreement. This includes being explicit about who owns the IP and what is expected from both parties.
In a time where customers are disillusioned with traditional ad marketing, influencer campaigns can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.
To talk to us about your brand marketing challenges get in touch.