It is universally accepted in the world of marketing that an endorsement from a high profile individual can work wonders for your brand. Take one look during the commercial break of your favourite TV show and you will see all manner of celebrities promoting products and services. However, influencer marketing took this trend one step further in 2017.
At its core influencer marketing is a specific marketing strategy wherein brands focus on acquiring the custom and active endorsement of influential people. Influencer marketing is based upon the principle that these influential individuals pique the interest of potential buyers and navigate them towards purchasing certain products and services. Influencer marketing has been a massive trend throughout 2017 and it looks set to grow exponentially in 2018. As a matter of fact, influencer marketing has grown four times its size within just two years  .
However, despite these figures, research has shown that 41% of marketers still spend less than 5% of their budget on influencer marketing. Wondering how your brand can capitalise on the benefits of influencer marketing? Then listed below are our top tips on how to integrate this innovative new marketing strategy within your existing campaign:
Teaming up with an influential individual enables you to promote your products to a larger network of prospective consumers via social media and multimedia platforms such as YouTube. These types of influencer marketing campaigns give your brand a human face and enable you to pick an influencer whose ethics, career and lifestyle will gel with your brand.
Moreover, influencer marketing enables you to receive direct consumer feedback through social media comments, Instagram polls and the engagement data of your chosen influencer. Given that the average consumer engages with 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase, influencers have a unique leverage across social media through which to promote your products and services to your target market.
Another major benefit of influencer marketing is its power to reignite a fading or outdated brand. For instance, Scotch whisky brand Lagavulin were eager to reposition their brand as being relevant to a young audience so they enlisted the help of Parks & Recreation TV star Nick Offerman. Capitalising upon the global success of Nick Offerman’s ‘Ron Swanson’ character in the TV show, Lagavulin created hours of YouTube footage of Nick simply sitting by a burning log fire sipping their whisky. By capitalising on the cult appeal of the character with a humorous video, Lagavulin garnered over 2 million views in one week and boosted their YouTube subscribers from 5,500 to 23,000. With studies showing that half of brand awareness for edible goods comes from seeing other people consume it, influencer marketing such as this can be pivotal for brands seeking to engage with a new demographic.
A large factor in the growth of influencer marketing has been the rise of social media; in particular Twitter and Instagram. In fact, Instagram was the number one platform for 92% influencers in 2017. These so called ‘Instagram celebrities’ have become famous for promoting beauty and health products online. However, although influencer marketing has the potential to be immensely successful, authenticity is a major factor as many users have become suspicious of high net individuals blatantly promoting products for cash. For instance, reality TV star Scott Disick posted an Instagram image promoting BooTea with the following caption;
‘Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below:
Caption: Keeping up the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!’ .
This social media blunder revealed a lack of authenticity and the un-engaging copy of an automated endorsement. Disick has subsequently removed all posts with mentions of BooTea from his Instagram account and it has raised viewer scepticism towards future endorsements featuring the brand
As illustrated above, generic endorsements with static captions and photos appear false and do not garner user engagement. Consequently, in 2018 we can expect to see brands experimenting with their influencers in order to create unique, engaging content. Rather than simply creating a sponsored section on a video or an automated Instagram or Twitter post, companies have begun to create unique videos and campaigns with specific hashtags so that they can track the impact that these influencers have been having on their sales.
For instance, Special K launched a campaign for the New Year to motivate people to pursue their New Year’s resolutions. They teamed up with several social media influencers, for example @BriHallOfficial, to create original content using their hashtag #FuelYourResolution . Similarly, many companies offer their influencers unique discount codes. This strategy benefits all parties involved; the consumer receives a discount, the influencer gains a commission and the brand can track the effectiveness of each influencer’s campaign.
As budgets for influencer marketing increases and more of these authenticity claims come to light, the Federal Trade Commission has increased its regulatory actions into influencer marketing as a whole. In fact, the FTC have already issued more than 90 warning letters to brands and influencers . Consequently, in order to make the most of influencer marketing it is strongly recommended that you adhere to the following guidelines;
Ensure your influencers clearly disclose that they are being compensated for promoting your brand. They can do so by placing a ‘#ad’ or ‘#sponsored’ hashtag in each paid post, image or video,
Double check each of these posts and all pieces of paid content that your influencers create for your brand,
Alternate the ‘#ad’ hashtag that your influencers use with additional options such as ‘#partner’ or ‘#brandambassador’. These hashtags will disclose your influencer’s partnership with your brand without the negative connotations that might be associated with the term ‘ad’.
By following these guidelines your brand can make the most of influencer marketing and enjoy a profitable long-term relationship which is beneficial for your brand, your influencers and your consumers. To learn more about how to implement these influencer marketing practices within your brand’s existing digital marketing campaign, please contact a member of our Cloud Ten team today.
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