“When working with influencers, brands have to let go and allow influencers control of the narrative to preserve the authenticity of what is being communicated.” – Priyanka Dayal
Are you interested in adding influencer marketing to your social media marketing (SMM) campaign? What is influencer marketing? What is its unique value proposition? And finally, how do you determine which marketing agency is an expert at designing and implementing an influencer marketing campaign?
By way of answering these questions, let’s consider the following content:
Influencer marketing and its value proposition
Wikipedia defines influencer marketing as a “form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.”
In other words, influencer marketing is an accepted form of SMM where influential people in the brand’s niche endorse it so that the brand’s target audience will be more inclined to purchase it.
Let’s consider a quick example:
There is a brand called Squirrel’s Nut Butter, an anti-chafing cream for ultra-distance athletes like trail or mountain runners. And, they are currently running an influencer marketing campaign using successful runners who have a predefined number of followers on social media.
Let’s assume for this example that the brand owners require that, for a trail runner to be considered an influencer, (s)he needs to have at least 1000 niche-related followers on at least one social media platform like Instagram.
At this juncture, it is vital to note that the influencer’s social media followers must be trail runners or linked to trail runners in some way. If we assume that I am a casual runner, and although I have over 1000 followers on my Instagram profile, they are mainly knitters, weavers, and quilters. If Squirrel’s Nut Butter selects me as a brand influencer, they will not gain the market traction that they are looking for. Succinctly stated, arts and crafters do not need anti-chafing cream to practice their hobby so I will not add sufficient value to their brand.
How do you recognize an influencer marketing specialist?
It’s vital to remember that an influencer marketing specialist is someone who is paid to showcase the brand in a positive light to their loyal followers. The brand’s aim is for the influencer to leverage the loyalty that their followers have to buy the brand’s products because it is what the influencer recommends.
Statistics quoted by Rochelle Bailis in her article titled “The State of Influencer Marketing: 10 Influencer Marketing Statistics to Inform Where You Invest,” highlights the following numbers:
- In the last five years, influencer marketing has grown from an unplanned part of social media marketing to a $5-10 billion-dollar mainstream industry.
- 17% of all brand marketers across the globe plan on spending more than 50% of their marketing spend on influencer marketing.
- 89% of all marketers state that the influencer marketing ROI is comparable to or better than other social media marketing channels.
Thus, it is reasonable to assume that influencer marketing is a vital part of all social media marketing strategies. Consequently, here are a few tips to help you recognize an expert influencer:
The person espouses the brand’s stated values
A successful influencer is more than just a person who pitches the brand’s products to their followers. They need to espouse the brand’s values, ethos, aims, and goals. If we look at our example of Squirrel’s Nut Butter mentioned above, a valuable brand influencer is someone who trains hard, emphasizes clean-living, and does not post photos of drunken parties on social media.
The question that the brand must ask is, what will the impact of the influencer’s life be on the brand’s products? If the answer to this question, based on the influencer’s social media profiles, is negative, then the brand must not hire the influencer to promote its products. A typical example of this scenario is Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist who was later found guilty of doping before and during big multi-stage cycling races like the Tour de France. He was sponsored by several big companies like Nike, AB-InBev, and RadioShack before news of his possible doping hit the news. He subsequently lost every single one of his sponsorship deals because of the negative impact his doping would have on their brands.
Word of mouth guarantee of quality
Because influencers are specialists in their chosen fields, they can offer sound advice on the products that they represent. Because of their genuine and transparent interactions with their followers, they will not endorse a poor-quality or faulty product because it could compromise the relationship they have with their supporters.
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