Have I gone bonkers?
Why am I advocating DUI?
Well, do not judge me so fast.
I am talking about social media influencer marketing 2019.
Driving “Social Media” under Influencer marketing!
Here is a Google search for social media influencer marketing:
Yup, 33.8 million results!
By the way, I recently wrote an article 15 amazing social media growth hacks. You might find it useful. Check it out.
Did you know that 70% of millennials are influenced by their peers when they purchase something?
Before you mistake influencers with celebrities,
let me express that 30% of consumers are likely to purchase a product if it is recommended by a non-celebrity influencer.
Bad news for our Hollywood stars!
So those of you wondering,is influence marketing dead in 2019, no it is not.
Before we jump on to the social media influencer marketing 2019 bandwagon,
let us get into the nitty gritty of influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a mix of traditional and modern marketing tools.
Think of it as a marriage of celebrity endorsement and content-driven marketing.
When brands collaborate with influencers, influencer marketing is born.
But influencer marketing is not new concept.
Let’s go back to the early 20th century,
and we will observe the birth of influencer marketing- Santa Claus and Tony the Tiger.
Yup, the cuddly, bearded Santa Claus was the brainchild of Coca Cola.
And we certainly cannot forget Tony the Tiger from Kellogg’s:
During those days, there were only a handful of brands in the market.
This made the buying decisions fairly easy on part of the consumers.
Marketing 2.0: Customer is King
With the expansion of products and brands, influencer marketing witnessed growth as well,
while also making the consumer’s decision journey more complex.
Several brands roped in celebrities to endorse their products on radio and TV.
Here is a Pepsi ad from that era:
Marketing 3.0: The Current Phase
Today’s consumer is more educated and exposed to information than before.
Thanks to the advancements in social media, the modern consumer has access to a wide array of products and brands.
This makes it challenging for present-day brands to achieve loyalty.
In fact, in this era, influencer marketing has evolved into customer advocacy to some extent.
Storytelling is perhaps the most important component of social media influencer marketing in 2019.
Consumers are no longer solely focused on movie stars.
Several social media influencers command millions of followers today that was once solely the domain of the Hollywood celebrities.
Alex Hirschi, aka, SupercarBlondie makes her living riding (and showing off) supercars.
Check out this screenshot of her Instagram account:
Do you know how much a social media influencer makes?
Here is a fun tool to find out:
Type in the Instagram username of the influencer, and the tool will give you an estimate.
I looked for supercarblondie, and the tool returned me the following result:
So with 2.1 million followers, and a 5.5% engagement rate, supercarblondie rakes in $4k-7k per post.
Not bad, isn’t it?
Why you need influencer marketing in 2019
Check out the graph below from Google Trends showing the growth of Influencer Marketing (search term) in the last 5 years across the world.
A recent poll by the influencer marketplace Tomoson suggests that the ROI for influencer marketing is 6.5x.
In other words, for every dollar spent, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue.
Tomoson’s CEO Jeff Foster further mentions in the article that influencer marketing has surpassed affiliate marketing, paid search, and display in terms of growth.
Here is a graph for better understanding:
As a marketer, I understand that ROI is perhaps the most important metric for your business.
And if it is not, then obviously you have a buttload of money to waste. Just saying!
Talking about cost effectiveness, influencer marketing shares the first place with email marketing.
Influencer marketing helps create engaging content, thus helping the business earn credibility and gain exposure.
Why Influencer Marketing Works?
In the last few decades, marketing has evolved from being a process to sell goods and services during the Industrial Revolution, to being an advanced blend of strategy and technology.
Today, marketers have to their disposal, a vast array of tools and technologies that can help businesses market faster and more efficiently.
However, this does not come without a downside.
Amidst this tech chaos, the “human” factor sometimes takes a backseat.
Influencer marketing addresses this challenge, and hence allows businesses to “market” their products and services through a “human” approach.
Psychologically speaking, a person is more likely to buy a product if it has a “trust factor” to it.
And this can be achieved through a variety of approaches such as recommendations from friend/family, and celebrity endorsements.
The latter is more along the lines of Influencer Marketing.
Examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns/companies
Dunkin Donuts’ National Donut Day
In an attempt to generate awareness of National Donut Day, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a national Snapchat campaign with a special offer.
Their digital partner Collab carefully selected eight lifestyle creators to run the campaign in three cities across the USA via SnapChat.
The aim was to generate awareness and drive customers to the local Dunkin’ stores to avail the special offer.
Snapchat Geofilters proved useful in this regard.
The ingenious campaign reached 3 million users and helped the coffee house generate more than 40k engagement.
After all, America runs on Dunkin!
Sony Xperia Z5
Sony created the Instagram handle @sonyxperiafr to promote their Mobile division in France.
With help of 30 influencers, Sony distributed a high-definition image taken using the Sony Xperia Z5.
These influencers encouraged Instagram users to zoom in on the hundreds of smaller shots of the original image to locate the secret code.
17 Million potential customers.
Mercedes-Benz – Loki (360° Experience)
The German automaker created a 360-degree video featuring the Instagram sensation, Loki, the wolf-dog, and his owner, Kelly Lund.
The video aimed at connecting with the younger audience.
The authentic storytelling in this video made this campaign a massive success.
Here is the beautiful video titled “Embark on a 360-degree journey with Kelly and Loki through the snowy mountains of Colorado”.
How to plan influencer marketing campaign: Dos and Don’ts
This year influencer marketing observed important changes.
After all, the recent Facebook algorithm change and the regulations associated with GDPR cannot be taken with a pinch of salt.
So what is the secret sauce to influencer marketing?
Let us break down the process of influencer marketing into easy-to-understand steps.
Social Media Influencer Marketing 2019: Objective
If you do not know your market and audience, influencer marketing might not work for you.
This starts with defining your goal.
What are you trying to achieve through the marketing campaign?
How will you measure its success?
Market Research & Brand Alignment
Who is your Ideal Influencer?
Did you know that millennials trust influencers more than than traditional celebrities?
Why is that?
Social media influencers foster strong ties with their followers, thus having a stronger impact.
The same study also suggests that influencers such as those on YouTube are trendsetters more than other celebrities.
Look for influencers who are a “strategic fit” with your brand.
What do I mean by that?
Is this influencer a good fit for my brand?
That’s the million dollar question here.
In my consulting career, I have seen several businesses scouring social media platforms and randomly choosing influencers solely on the basis of their “fan following”.
In most cases, the results of the social media influencer marketing campaign are often abysmal.
On the other hand, companies that encourage influencers to “engage” with their audiences through a genuine storytelling approach go a long way.
Social Media Influencer marketing can yield valuable insights in the context of real-time data and market research.
Again, as a brand, your focus should be on brainstorming qualitative insights via your ambassador on social channels, aka, the influencer.
I believe that user-generated content (such as feedback and comments) will drive the world of social media influencer marketing.
Finding Influencers: What is the best way to identify online influencers?
Next step in the process is creating a list of influencers. How do you find influencers?
Once you have created a list, it is time to check if the influencers are a “good fit” for your brand.
As mentioned earlier, do not get lost in the number game.
Influencer marketing is not about email blasting and cold-calling.
It is about building relationships with people who can represent your brand online, and engage their audience in the process.
Before you even pitch your idea and budget, spend some time with the influencer understanding what they do, and how they can engage with your brand.
If the influencer is not convinced of your business idea, chances are they will not do justice to your influencer marketing campaign.
While a top-notch social media influencer might command a large fee, you can also sometimes work with influencers on a barter-system-like model; offering free products and incentives in exchange for promoting your products.
I highly recommend striking a conversation with a few influencers before deciding upon an influencer for your business.
The more you talk, the better you will have an understanding of the concept of influencer marketing and what it can do for your business.
Creating & Promoting Content: Encouraging Organic Content
If you ask me the best way to define influencer marketing, i’d simply label it as targeted storytelling.
Generic content does not go far.
It is therefore important that you work with the selected influencer to draft a story and then create engaging content using the story as the skeleton.
The “curious” nature of human beings is the reason why they like stories.
Narrate an interesting story or a fairytale to a child, and see his eyes glisten with curiosity and joy.
In the business context, storytelling is not much different.
Create a captivating story and find an influencer who can narrate the story well to their “engaged” audience, and you have a successful influencer marketing campaign.
The process will not yield results unless you focus on promoting content.
I have seen multiple businesses with excellent content failing on influencer marketing because they did not promote the content well.
With influencers, you are most likely to create content, which they would place on their social media platforms or website.
Do not “wait” for things to happen.
Instead, work for it.
Communicate with the influencer on the content placement, and at the same time, use your own social networks, emails and website to promote that piece of content.
Content promoted through collaboration is likely to generate better results.
I couldn’t help throwing this step here.
I am sure data-driven marketers would agree.
Social media Influencer strategy (and marketing) should be measurable, and hence, you should make sure that you track and measure the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of your campaign.
Number of event registrations, improvement in social likes and followers, and a bump in website traffic could be some of the metrics associated with an influencer marketing campaign.
A successful social media influencer marketing strategy is not like a get-rich-quick scheme.
It requires time, efforts and patience.
It is not much different from building a relationship in real life.
Like most business relationships, social media influencer marketing should be a win-win situation for you and the influencer.
Hope this article will help you outline an influencer marketing plan for your business.
Have you tried influencer marketing?
What will be the future of Influencer marketing?
Hit the comments button below and share your thoughts and experiences.