For brands

Why use influencer marketing?

There are many reasons why brands, especially big brands, such as Nike, Dove or Chanel, use influencers. I am pretty sure, it won't take you long to guess the main reason of influencer marketing popularity. Maybe not consciously, but subconsciously you understand that influencer marketing is strongly associated with authenticity in customers. Authenticity is the hardest to get in this world, even harder than the philosopher's stone.
Vitalii Malets
Authenticity in marketing is like a smile of a child – you can't deny it and you just respond to automatically by smiling. Influencers are genuine because they are not afraid to show their true self to the broad audience. They actually don't have a choice: they need to reveal their personality through their online activity: and this honesty wins trust of potential customers. Who believes that the videos on TV are sincere? Who reads the slogans on billboards? I don't do it. Your friends don't do it as well.

But all your friends as well as people from your LinkedIn, I am 100% sure of it, have 3-5 influencers they are "stalking" online. That is why influencer marketing rules. For someone, it's Cara Delevingne, while others will be interested in Elon Musks' success and will keep track of all his losses and gains.

Yet, the majority of modern internet users follow micro-influencers, those whom they can relate to personally. Although influencer marketing is just a tool, influencers are real people from flesh and blood. And good influencers ( ask us how to find good social influencers) will advertise only those goods that resonate with them personality only. So this trust will be applied to the product automatically. Influencers value their reputation more than anything else in this world that is why choose only those products and services that reflect their inner self in some way.

Recently I realized that being an influencer is a real challenge. Most people are not ready to live stream their life to the broad audience. Are you ready to show your life from inside? Show people what who you are dating with? How you cook food for your children? Are you ready to broadcast your life to millions after a long horrible day? In exchange for the most personal information influencers earn time, attention, and trust of customers.

So brand reaching customers via influencers earn a part of mindshare of customers using authenticity and trust in relationships between influencers and their audience.
Why use influencers?

This is a real competitive advantage of influencer marketing though it's not as obvious as the first one. Influencers will always, I mean always reach their target audience. They are literally unstoppable. Why is that?

While ads in Google can be blocked, Facebook ad can get stuck in filters (especially after the changes to news feed) and you will need for months before your content strategy will generate leads, influencer marketing campaign will work from basically the first day when it is launched.

Have you heard about banner blindness? Up to 97% of all ads online are unnoticed. In other words, people just don't see even the brightest and the most creative ads which are made by designers with all the love in their hearts.

It is not relevant to influencer marketing at all. Influencers interact with customers directly because customers are motivated more in this communication than influencers themselves. Do you feel the difference? Potential clients seek influencers, not vice versa.

And instead of turning off ads on TV and installing ad block, customers look for influencers and wait to create a meaningful connection with them. When there is strong motivation from both sides, the level of engagement is impressive.
Why Partner with Influencers?

Speaking of engagement. Two first reasons were quite abstract, especially for a person who speaks on the language of marketing. But the impact of influencers on the engagement rate cannot be denied.

What is engagement rate after all? It's the degree to which a customer interacts with the brand before or after consumption of the product or a service. In other words, it's the degree of client's mindshare or the time and attention he /she is ready to give to the product. Engagement is the basis of emotional connection with the brand and the guarantee that the clients will choose the very same product next time when he/she will have to choose.

It is most easily to associate products with people who represent them because, as it was already mentioned, influencers choose products that resonate with them personally. That is why Kristen Stewart is the evangelist of Chanel, and each time someone somewhere chooses to buy a perfume of this brand he recalls the face of the Kristen. This association becomes a subconscious trigger that serves as a real impetus for buying when someone sees the actress on the screen.
It may sound unexpected but the number of influencers is not necessarily proportional to the level of engagement, I can tell you more, in many cases, micro-influencers have a higher level of engagement compared to celebrities with millions of followers.

Influencers provide a high level of engagement by interacting with their audience, asking them questions, reading and answering their comments. Social media influencers are more persuasive and more engaging than those influencers we see on TV: they are in contact with their audience 24/7.

But all this talk about engagement was just a prelude. Customer engagement is important to marketers mostly because it's the basis of brand loyalty. In other words, the stronger emotional connection with a brand is built with the help of influencers, the better it is in terms of brand loyalty. And you know all you need to know about brand loyalty- it's the desire of customers to stick to one and the same product, recommend it to friends and family becoming a true brand evangelist and an advocate.

Brand loyalty is what all companies are fighting for in a long-term perspective because it always pays off.
Why Partner with Influencers?

Well, of course, all these abstract ideas as trust, customer engagement, and brand loyalty are worthless if they cannot be proved statistically. Numbers speak more persuasively than any words.

Luckily, influencer marketing statistics is eloquent. Here are several examples of the studies that prove that investment in influencer marketing is a smart solution:

  • If you want to find the most effective social media influencers – check Facebook. This social network remains the most influential in the whole world. 19% of customers claim that they decided to buy something relying on the recommendations of Facebook.

  • It may be surprising to you, but brands are even more influential than celebrities. $60% of Twitter users admit that they find and follow brands online to learn more about their services, products, and discounts.
  • Blogs are excellent means of influence for men. This study reveals that men are susceptible to blog posts influence 2 times more likely compared to women. It can be connected to the nature of a man's mind which is more analytical by nature.

  • Speaking about types of products: men pay attention to influencers' reviews more often when choosing electronics as well. For 34.4% men blog reviews of laptops, smartphones, and even vacuum cleaners.

  • Pets can be social influencers as well! 50% of pet owners who post their pets online claim that pets receive much more attention than them.
  • 50% of pet owners who post about their pets on social media have reported that pets get more attention than them. The Mars study shows that pets are a really important part of our culture. Marketers can leverage pets effectively in their influencer marketing.
  • When the brand starts posting something on Twitter, the sales increase by 2.7x usually.So even this seemingly simple social media presence gives its results pretty soon for many brands.
So answering the question: "What is influencer marketing?" I would advise to regard it as the investment first of all. It's the investment in brand name building. Though most young companies think that brand name is self-regulated and, what is worse, positive by default, it is not so. In reality, it is necessary to shape it day after day and invest into it. Influencers are the most reliable and predictable means of the investment into a good and bright brand.

Influencer marketing is built on trust between influencers and their audience, and this trust is underpinned by the attention and time people are ready to spend communicating to the influencers they follow on Instagram. More than that, influencer marketing is correlated with the high level of customer engagement: active interplay of users with the brand, their communication with the company through influencers.
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