I was recently talking to a colleague about clients she’s worked with. She told me she spoke with an agency that was resistant to the idea of collaborating with influencers. They would say things like ‘Why do I need to pay this person? They aren’t a famous star so why should I waste money on them?’ I mean, why would you pay someone money who has over 500,000 followers on Instagram, engages with their community, and brings a higher ROI for you company? But I digress.
According to eMarketer, digital ad spending will surpass TV ad spending by around $5 billion in 2017. With the shift into the digital space, a lot more businesses are turning their attention to various social media platforms. However, the shift has left many companies uneducated in how to properly implement a social media strategy. As a wise person once said, ‘Change is nature, the part we can influence. And it all starts when we decide.’ Actually, that’s a quote from the movie Ratatouille. If there’s anything we can learn from Remy the rat it’s that a little can go a long way, and to build an influencer marketing campaign you should know why it’s the next big shift in marketing.
Consumers Trust Influencers on Social Media More Than Ever
Influencers target a niche segment and have an understanding of what the community that they’ve built likes to see, hear and feel. When a YouTuber promotes a product to all their fans, the community will say ‘well since they’re using it, the product must be good!’ According to a joint study by Twitter and analytics firm Annalect, around 40 percent of respondents said they've purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube. Also, 20 percent of respondents said they shared something they saw from an influencer, while one-third of millennials say they follow a creator on Twitter or Vine.
YouTubers engage with their community in both direct and indirect ways. The latter is about content creation. An influencer makes content on social media based on what they want to post. For instance, if an influencer loves to travel they would post their recent trip to Europe on their Instagram. People seek content they can relate to and view this content to comment on how it speaks to them, which brings me to the next point. When an influencer speaks with their community, they break a lingering boundary of being a poster or an influencer. Making content isn’t enough. When they engage with their audience they become more relatable, more appealing, and more active.
Companies Receive a Higher ROI From Influencer Marketing
You could pay influencers to promote your product, but how successful was the campaign that you were running? Defining and measuring your ROI is a critical step in evaluating your influencer investment. On average, marketers who implemented an Influencer Marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media, according to the report, and that number continues to go up. That’s why they have a big presence on social media platforms. Nielsen reports that 84% of people who trust and rely on recommendations from people they know. Influencer marketing generates word-of-mouth, and using influencers can impact the buzz your product receives.
Digital Ads Are Being Ignored
According to a 2013 study by Infolinks, 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness. This means that consumers, whether they know it or not, are ignoring banner ads that appear on websites such as Facebook. What makes matters worse ads are receiving a lower click-through rate because they are seen as boring, intrusive, and irrelevant. AdBlock Plus, the most popular ad blocking extensions in browsers, has been downloaded over 500 million times.
TrackMaven performed a study that stated while the output of content per brand increased by 78%, content engagement decreased by 60%. Which means content marketing strategies don’t work without proper execution. It doesn’t matter how much money you segment to digital marketing. Advertisements need to be more engaging to be more successful. Building engagement creates loyalty because the need for inclusion for consumers is necessary in building brand loyalty. The beauty about working with micro-influencers is that they promote their product without all the noise. People seek content to entertain them and to distract them. When a company gives their product to a number of influencers, they are cleverly avoiding the traffic of ad space.
Engagement is key. Micro-Influencers provide a way to cut through all the noise of digital ads and engage with their community. Markiplier, A gamer on YouTube who has amassed a following of 14 million subscribers, is a good example of how an influencer builds trust with their community. Back in February 2015, Markiplier held a charity livestream on Twitch to help raise money for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
His goal was to raise $50,000, but ended up surpassing that mark by raising over $75,000. Today, he continues to raise money for a various number of charities. The way Markiplier is able to build trust with his community is outstanding. Not only does he entertain the community with his commentary, but he shows compassion and instills trust by creating a link between his image and his audience. This YouTuber is a fantastic example of how a community builds trust with the influencer.