Takeaways from SML’s Ad:Tech Session “5 Things You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing”
Influencer marketing has become an incredibly popular phrase, as I’m sure you have noticed. Make no mistake, brands are getting the message. In fact, the latest research tells us that 74% of marketers will deploy influencer-marketing strategies in the next 12 months. Even with this exciting shift in focus, there is still an enormous amount of confusion among brands. This area of the brand strategy is constantly changing and many times, it is looked at as a one-size-fits-all strategy. Marketers continue to struggle with questions like “what does influencer marketing look like?” “How is it done properly?” “How is it scaled and how it measured?” Social Media Link joined Pfizer Consumer Healthcare at this year’s Ad:Tech New York conference to share the “5 Things You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing.” In this session, we provided marketers with a roadmap and practical applications about how to use the increasingly popular brand initiative. Here are the key takeaways from our session:
1. Everyone Influences. It’s What Kind of Influencer Your Brand Needs that Matters.
There has been quite a terminology debate surrounding what makes someone an “influencer.” In truth, we all influence someone. As marketers, rather than viewing the term “influencer” as one narrow definition, we can approach it as a way of understanding how consumers impact the purchase decisions of other consumers. Influence is something that is unique to each of us as individuals and highly depends on the varying relationships we have with our specific “influencers.” It’s important for marketers to understand that there are different kinds of influencers, and it’s about understanding what type of influencer achieves the brand’s goals.
We know how powerful influencers can be in gaining trust, instigating action and finally impacting purchase. Over 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust recommendations from people they’ve never met (btw only 33% trust online advertising). When it comes to lead generation and traffic, 25-40% is coming from earned media. Moreover, 87% of consumers say that a recommendation from a friend or family members has prompted action.
So who are the different types of influencers? This can range from high reach influencers like celebrities, bloggers and professionals to high trust individuals like brand advocates and our family and friends. As consumers move through the purchase funnel, they may interact with one, two or all of these individuals. As consumers, we don’t see different types of “influencers”. We see different resources to help us make better decisions. As you’re planning your influencer strategy, it’s important to recognize what it is that your brand is looking to achieve, whether it’s massive awareness and exposure or massive authenticity and impact.
2. Influencer Marketing is Not About Just Amplifying Your Brand’s Message! It’s About Creating Real Conversation.
It’s important for brands to understand that influencer marketing is not about using consumers to restate advertising copy. The goal should be to create a relevant experience that will trigger authentic sharing, personal stories and provoke conversation. Our job as marketers is to design this experience and help seed those conversations in the hopes that our brand messaging and brand benefits are weaved into the conversation.
Let’s take a step back. Why do consumers share in the first place? The New York Times Study “Psychology of Sharing” explored the fundamental motivations around why people share online and overwhelming (and not surprisingly) people share to bring valuable and entertaining content to others. The study showed that 94% of people carefully considered how the information they share will be useful to the recipient. Additionally, people share to define themselves to others, to grow and nourish relationships, for self-fulfillment and to get the word out about brands and causes. Moreover, one of the biggest reasons why people share about brands is because they want to help people.
So what does this mean for your brand? The takeaway here is to design a shareable experience with your brand. A shareable experience will consider what motivates the consumer to share (not the marketer…), it will offer valuable education and finally, it will spark stories – not just product reviews, but relatable personal stories.
3. Size Matters. Scaling Influencer Marketing
One of the biggest challenges marketers face with influencer marketing is scale. They cannot justify the marketing investment unless it proves to have substantial reach. The catch-22 with influencer marketing is that it’s about developing a one-to-one relationship for lasting impact. It can seem contradictory. However, there are few ways to ensure that you are achieving both goals.
· Mobilizing key influencers with a central and relevant task
· Making it easy for influencers to share with their social networks
· Prompting action from friends, followers and readers
Whether you’re asking consumers to try a new product or visit a retail location, make it easy for them to experience the brand and share about it with their networks.
4. No On/Off Switch. Create an On-going, Integrated Strategy. Not a One-Off Campaign.
Often times, brands look at influencer marketing strategy as a one to two-month promotion. Sure, they receive a huge spike in conversation, but then the promotion settles out and the conversation ends. Brands can easily utilize influencers throughout their entire integrated plan and ensure that they continue to advocate for the brand. We all know that social media has forever changed the landscape and we can all agree that social media doesn’t “turn off.” Influencer marketing follows the same principle. In order to engage with influencers throughout the year, brands can:
· Develop a meaningful relationship (say thank you, give feedback, get them involved with your brand)
· Always provide value (does it address one of the motivations for sharing?)
· Reactivate and engage
5. Measure Influencer Marketing Differently from Media Buys.
Today’s marketers have an enormous amount of metrics, data points, insights and analysis available to help measure media spend. Many brands will often try to fit traditional digital metrics into influencer marketing. It’s important to understand that there are some metrics that can be used cross-channel and other metrics that are unique to influencer strategy. Remember, we’re dealing with people, not display ads. When evaluating and/or measuring success, there are several metrics to consider.
The most important is engagement. In fact, research shows that consumer engagement is the number one social media marketing goal and the primary metric used to measure social media marketing. What kind of action are you getting from posts made by influencers? Measure by actions taken. This means clicks, comments, shares, likes, retweets as well as coupon redemptions, opt-ins and more. Other metrics include the number of posts generated, the potential reach, the keywords and sentiment of posts and comments, and finally research – surveying influencers and potentially their networks to understand how impactful this strategy is on driving purchase consideration.
Whether you are just starting your influencer marketing strategy or you are an old pro (and at this rate, “old” means about two years), you, as marketers can utilize these strategies to help create a roadmap for your influencer marketing initiatives.