The Not-So Secret Weapon of Social Influence
As we wind up the year, the indications couldn’t be clearer: Influencer Marketing is hotter than ever. With ad-blockers making it increasingly hard for brands to reach and engage their audience, the social media influencer is advertising’s not-so secret weapon.
Taking a look at 2016’s key stats, Influencer Marketing has proven to be as effective as it is popular. It’s become the the fastest-growing online marketing strategy, with the latest poll from Tomoson revealing that businesses are generating a whopping $6.50 return for every $1 spent.
Studies have shown that more than 90% of consumers trust recommendations from individuals over brands; finding word-of-mouth suggestions and online consumer reviews far more credible than branded media. As a result of this, it is believed that Influencer Marketing strategies result in ‘better’ customers. It’s no surprise then, that 78% of brands have already upped their use of influencers over the last two years.
As the use and presence of influencers grows, so does consumer scepticism. Consumers no longer blindly follow whatever they see in the media; easily spotting the difference between a genuine endorsement and a paid-for influencer ad. When someone’s fave social guru talks about the ‘hottest product’ non-stop for a week and then never mentions it again, consumers start to question it.
Moving forward, it’s key that brands find the right balance of trust with their audience. The most successful influencers have a simple and straightforward method for keeping the trust: they are authentic. When NBA superstar Kevin Durant reached out to Sparkling Ice, the company was not initially searching for endorsements. Rather, Durant approached the brand himself, as a lifelong fan of the carbonated water and wanting to prove his appreciation. The endorsement was authentic, and therefore much more valuable to consumers.
Authenticity is just as important for the influencers themselves, who are building their own brand by the products they choose to endorse. Influencers have created their own niche community, in which they are in constant dialogue with their following. Whether it’s a video on YouTube or a piece of creative content on Instagram, they own the story.
In the new world of social influence, it is key for all parties to find the right fit. In encouraging influencers to create authentic content, brands can build real relationships with their customers, start organic conversations and ‘when done right’ reap the rewards.
Written by Ellis van der Wulp
Content & Community Manager at REBORN