A recent poll out of the UK showed just how healthy the landscape for influencer marketing is. About two-thirds saw “the prices influencers charge for posts go up in the past 12 months.” And with posts by a social media celebrity costing on average $87,731 each, price-hikes are nothing to sneeze at.
And yet, only 3% of marketers said they would cut back on influencer marketing, while 75% said they plan to spend even more!
So why are marketers so ready to rain cash down on their influencer marketing channel? Well, it comes down to the 4 T’s.
Traditional online advertising has been hit hard with trust issues. Pop-up ads, pop-under windows, spam emails, annoying display ads; the public has lost their faith in these types of ads. This is also why ad blocking software is devastating the industry; it’s an easy solution.
Influencers are the opposite ends of the spectrum. To be an influencer, you need to be able to have people (many people!) trust you, which comes from opening up your life to them. As Experticity writes:
Consumer’s purchasing habits are largely based upon what products they see their friends, family and social networks buying and endorsing…. Recommendations of what restaurant to eat at, what shoes or clothes to buy, along with many other product categories, that comes from someone a consumer regularly interacts with is the most likely reason a purchase was made, not the ad they saw.”
Having someone people trust endorse your product confers that trust to your business. It’s a powerful branding tool, especially in the realm of micro-influencers who are seen as experts in their particular space.
There are two way to parse the benefit of the word “trend.” The first is that influencers can get your business trending on social media. After all, that’s what they do best.
A business that hasn’t had much luck trending can hire an influencer to grease the wheels. And the way they do this is through the other meaning of this T-word: trendy. The influencer makes it cool.
You know what’s not very cool? Dixie Cups. And yet, they utilized an influencer push that showed a 100x return on the original campaign forecast!
A good influencer marketing campaign can get you trending and trendy if you work with the right influencer(s). Let them leverage their social cache with the help of your creative team for potentially amazing results like this.
According to a survey by Rakuten Marketing, “38% of marketers say they are unable to tell whether influencer activity actually drives sales.” While the MarketingWeek article paints this as a negative, note that this is a minority. The majority of marketers seems to understand how to track influencer marketing, which is a great thing (and not hard!).
Social media influencers by definition use social media, and tracking whether their posts lead to sales shouldn’t really be a mystery. Every post should have a unique link or coupon code associated to measure conversions and traffic. Not only that, almost all the major social platforms are rich with features that make it simple to track. For example, Instagram’s “comment to buy” feature allows followers to convert right from the app.
And at the very least, all you need to do is watch your analytics and see if there is a spike in traffic after your influencer posts something. Do you see the line go up unusually high? Then yes, at least on a broad level, you can see that the campaign had some influence.
The beauty and benefit of influencer, referral, and affiliate marketing is your ability to track leads and conversions back to where they originated. If you’re unsure whether it’s working, you’re doing it wrong.
At the end of the day, marketers are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on influencers because it works.
At the end of the day, brand awareness is great, gaining followers is awesome; but if you don’t see any boost to your sales and bottom-line, it’s a waste. At least for right now, influencers are worth their weight in Tweets. Sure, the online winds may change in the future, but it’s their moment in the sun and savvy businesses that work with the right influencers can really supercharge their business.