What Is Influencer Marketing? (And Why You Should Be Using It In 2018!)

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the importance of influencers, but do you actually know what influencer marketing is?

Not too long ago the term ‘advertising’ would make people think of billboards, radio jingles and TV commercials.

In 2018 advertising has a whole new character.

As the digital landscape has evolved and become more sophisticated, so has the customer’s behaviour. We access information and make decisions differently.

In our fast-paced lifestyle we have grown to value our time more, and don’t allow ourselves to be spammed by ads. Advertising is everywhere and we have learned to shut it out.

Nowadays people stream their shows on demand, pay additional fees to not have commercials interrupt their Spotify playlist and never open any of the junk mail that keeps getting delivered to our inbox or front door.

Marketers are aware that traditional forms of advertising have a lot of downsides such as high costs, difficulty gaining customer’s loyalty and not being able to advertise to their key demographics (as mass media they focus more on reach).

All of those qualms are successfully resolved with influencer marketing.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Everybody knows that the most powerful form of marketing is ‘word of mouth’.

People like to get personal recommendations from friends. If they see someone they like using a particular product, they ask about it. They start gaining an interest in the brand because they trust their friend’s choices.

Influencer marketing is a much more enhanced version of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, and it has developed thanks to the popularity of social media.

Influencers are content creators that have a large following on social media channels. They drive engagement and most importantly, authentic conversation around a certain topic or product.

Why You Should Be Using It In 2018

Influencers build their brand, a relationship with its following and over time establish themselves as credible sources in a certain niche.

Thanks to social media, influencers are able to project their stories onto our screens thus creating a personal bond with its following.

Unlike advertising, when influencers mention/advertise your product it comes off as an authentic recommendation from a reputable source, a role model.

Since influencers have clearly defined demographics you’re easily able to raise your brand awareness to your key demographics. For example, if you’re an up and coming beauty brand, you will reach out to beauty gurus since you know their following is composed of people interested in beauty products.

And most importantly it’s cost effective.

Many influencers would be willing to do a collaboration with your brand because they’re building their brand.

Oftentimes they will accept free merchandise or services in lieu of monetary payment.

If they ask to be paid, they usually have their standard flat rate that you pay per photo or video, or they charge you based on the number of clicks and amount of engagement (likes, shares, and retweets).

However you choose to settle their rate, it’s unquestionably more affordable and effective than traditional advertising.

It works because the influencer campaigns are more organic than traditional advertisements because the influencers are seen as role models. They cultivated a strong bond with their audience. People pay attention to them.

So when an influencer supports your brand it comes across genuine and people crave that. They don’t like to be marketed to.

How to find a right influencer?

The goal with influencer marketing is to advertise to your key demographics.

Research your target audience and develop user personas.

Once you know your audience, find an influencer that speaks to that audience.

Second thing is to check their number of followers and their engagement rate.

Is their audience large enough?

Does the influencer engage a lot with its following?

Is the influencer putting out quality content?

Do their values align with your company values?

Does are some of the most crucial things to ask yourself before starting a collaboration.

Be Careful

One thing that can backfire with influencer marketing is that unlike advertising, here you have zero creative liberty.

Once you agree to a collaboration usually the influencer takes over the creative aspect and you have no power over what he posts online.

That is why it is wise to always find an influencer whose values align with your company’s.

Fastest Growing Channel In 2018

Statistics from 2017 claim that 86% of marketers engaged in influencer marketing and a staggering 92% percent reported it being affective. (Linqia)

Influencer marketing is able to encompass many different departments. Such as marketing, PR, sales, digital marketing, social media and product – all through powerful and relevant relationship based communication.

The ROI and marketing potential of influencer marketing are high.

Conversations with online customers have greatly evolved and influencers are playing a vital role in breaking through the online clutter, starting relevant customer dialogue and acquiring trust and credibility for brands and marketers alike.

As more marketers seek to work with influencers, it is more important to expand beyond the most famous influencers. Already have marketers started to focus on the middle-tier of up-and-comers of the industry and acquiring them will be key.