Social media users and marketers discuss Influencer Marketing. What is the big deal about it?
Influencer marketing is a hybrid of old world advertising and new world digital marketing fad, converging the celebrity driven endorsement to modern day content-driven marketing. The key difference is that the outcomes of the campaigns are generally correlated to the direct association of influencer and brand.
Unlike celebrities, influencers can be the one among the crowd and have a huge fan following on web or social media. They can be anyone, a traveler, a chef or a fashion photographer; someone who is well recognized in their industry and social space, and attribute is people ardently follow them.
Influencer Marketing cannot be a replacement of Social Media Marketing or Content Marketing for a simple reason that content and social media are the inputs for Influencersin order to market the brand.
Often theterm ‘influencer’ virtually throws up association of B2C world with young fashionistas and beauty bloggers reviewing and flaunting the latest piece of merchandise received through the post.
Influencer Marketing is Lucrative
Investing in influencers, whether financially or employing other resources brings a brand to the fore. Brand awareness is the top priority of B2B marketers while they incorporate influencer marketing strategy, followed by lead generation.
“We have a practice here that shows it’s embedded into lead gen in organizations,” explains Nicolas Chabot, VP EMEA at Traackr.
The leadership is waking up to the effective and promising opportunity of brand exposure to be engaged to B2B audience through influencers. The campaign is not confined to social media but is also extended to events and collaborative content creation.
CMOs have become thoughtful with the approach of introducing influencers and acknowledge their presence, proliferating internally across companies suggesting the support and growth.
Principally under the ownership of the marketing teams, influencer marketing campaign results are no longer siloed into the day-to-day jobs of the social media manager. “What is fascinating is in only 20% of organizations, influencer marketing only impacts one department,” says Nicolas. “In the other 80% of companies up to nine departments are impacted.”
Nevertheless, it’s imperative to note that a majority ofbusinesses are still at the early experimental stage, waiting yet to make that leap to full-fledged influencer program.
Budgeting of Influencer Marketing
Influencers by convention work at grass root level as bloggers but as the business model has matured over time, it has taken a complete form as a marketing strategy that can be interwoven with the effort to enhance brand visibility.
Budgeting can be a tricky factor since it is hard to measure the outcome of direct impact of influencers, asking for resources can be as equally as challenging. Nearly 70% of businesses cannot afford to casually spend on influencer marketing where the ROI cannot be measured. However, almost 50% marketers plan to spend for the same reason by allocating some budget.
The immaturity of influencer marketing has brought many questions in focus mainly when it comes to rewarding the influencers – the payment criteria, what should be they paid for and how should they be paid?
“We don’t pay influencers to do social amplification,” saysAmisha, VP, influencer marketing at SAP Ariba. It’s vital that the influencers are acknowledged and valued in exchange of the value they ordain to the brand.
While you wouldn’t pay for an influencer to attend your event, you certainly wouldn’t charge them for their ticket, and would most likely introduce them to contacts who are also attending that could benefit them.Still, the payment mode remains debatable.
“Speaking at events, writing content that’s not just coverage, that’s paid,” Amishacomments. “That she probably wouldn’t work with an influencer if they were to charge per tweet”, she adds
Choosing the right Influencer
The size of followers, location and specialty varies from one influencer to the other which means you will have to leverage the influence of many persons to accurately position your program, and service a range of various needs. Amazingly, size isn’t everything.
When choosing your influencer,you might fall into the trap of the one with large set of followers, whether they specialize in that area you are focusing on or not. But a higher following will not necessarily achieve a higher engagement rate.Creating a fake follower list is a cake walk.
Influencers can have a smaller crowd yet can be very engaged and make a difference to the brand.
Particularly if you are targeting a niche segment of the market you may want to look out for micro-influencers without large follower but highly influential in a small field. It’s also about choosing the right audience. People will choose to follow an influencer for a certain type of content.
Challenges of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing might sound easy in theory, yet the challenge prevails in approaching and convincing those with large followers to endorse your brand or mention your business name – it is a daunting task especially if the influencer is highly famous and looking for chances to self-profess their own brand value. Despite the rising popularity of influencers, which is evident in leadership’s willingness to involve them, the challenges largely remain.
The legal ramification of this approach is highly sensitive or for that matter many other strategies. In B2B marketing while recruiting influencers, it is noteworthy that they are people revered and admired in their field; in which case it becomes important to ensure all the dealings are complaint as it will flare out of proportion if they detect any lapses. This in return can lead to negative marketing both for your brand and business.
Influencers won’t be prepared to work with you if they don’t find dealing with your company a pleasant experience. Ensure you welcome them, interact with them at various touchpoints and provide an overall positive experience – you never know, they could be a future customer or might be a current one.
2017 was the year of influencer marketing and seems to not stop anytime soon. The trend is going to be a driving force for brands who have strong presence in social media and plan to gain sales through their audience and followers in 2018 too. The need is to choose the right influencer, acknowledge their value and extend that to your brand through right engagement for your niche audience.