What is Influencer Marketing – 5 Influencer Marketing Insights You Should Know
Want to know what Influencer Marketing is? 5 Insights into Influencer Marketing
1. You are no longer a marketer; you’re a relationship manager.
It’s tempting to view the brand/influencer relationship in more old-school terms: companies would use celebrities to hawk their wares, celebrities would use companies for money and free stuff. But this isn’t how Influencer Marketing works. Sure, there’s the instant cachet of having a recognisable name doing some of the heavy lifting for you, but influencers aren’t people looking for a quick payday from businesses. And remember, their influence pre-dates your involvement with them. They’ve spent time building up a following of people who want to hear what they have to say, precisely because they already have something to say. They aren’t looking for you, and don’t need whatever “opportunity” you can provide them. If they’re looking for a big payout, there are any number of ways they can monetise their popularity that don’t include getting in bed with a brand looking for a spokesperson.
This is why—when you’re eyeing potential influencers, or keeping the lines open with the ones who already work with you—it’s important to manage the relationship between brand and influencer. An influencer gains credibility by fostering trust in her audience over a period of time, while companies looking to market their products are often on the hunt for a quick hit. When brands are looking to work with an influencer, it’s her audience they’re after—and she knows this. She will understandably be protective of those people whose trust and loyalty she’s cultivated.
Brian Solis, Principal Analyst for the Altimeter Group, describes the currency of this relationship as “social capital,” and it’s a marketer’s job to make sure a client doesn’t spend too much of it. He went on to say,
It starts with understanding value, and that takes understanding what’s important to people and why influencers are appreciated by the communities in which they influence.”
The only way to understand that is to start researching, and participating in, the communities that evolved around them. You would be missing the mark by urging a high-end clothing company, for example, to work with an influencer doling out thrift store fashion expertise. That just isn’t of value to her audience, and could end up violating the trust she’s built with them.
When you get it right, though—that is, when you don’t overspend the social capital—the reward can be a customer who’s as loyal to a brand as he is to the influencer. For a recent study, 51% of marketers surveyed said they acquired better customers through Influencer Marketing.
2. Vanity metrics are only indicators of a campaign’s potential success—not the success itself.
It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game of online marketing, talking about likes and shares. But what does these ultimately mean?
Nothing concrete, anyway: they are good indicators that you’re reaching a broad audience. As part of an Influencer Marketing campaign, these metrics can even come close to quantifying what that influence is getting you. But at the end of any campaign, shouldn’t you have more to show for your efforts than a Powerpoint slide deck detailing how many people liked it?
The goal of any content marketing campaign, whether it involves an influencer or not, is to demonstrate and provide value to your audience. Michael Brennan, the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, advises defining a specific and customer-focused mission to any campaign:
“When the content a brand publishes is focused on customer value, then they attract the right people, and achieve brand engagement they would have never otherwise seen.”
“Customer value” is a nebulous term. In some cases, it could mean providing something of actual benefit to the customer. In others, it could mean placing value on the customer herself, encouraging her to become an active part of the campaign. In either case, the goal is to forge a connection with the audience by placing the customer—not the product—front and center. Influencers are especially effective in this regard. First, their already-established credibility gives a brand a headstart in driving engagement. Second, because the influencer is the gatekeeper of an active community of followers, it’s more likely that a campaign will have more measurable engagement beyond a like or share.
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