The short answer is yes! Influencer marketing is very popular now, and for good reason. A 2016 study done by TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions demonstrated that good influencer marketing can deliver eleven times a business’s ROI when compared to traditional digital marketing, and a survey done by Twitter showed that people have come to trust influencers almost as much as they trust their friends. Nearly 40% of responders to Twitter’s survey said that they had gone on to purchase a product after seeing it used by an Influencer on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine. 20% were also likely to re-tweet or share something posted by an influencer.
What is an “Influencer?”
An Influencers is someone whose opinion and ideas others trust. When we talk about Influencers, people immediately think of celebrities. Celebrities can certainly be Influencers, whether direct or indirect. Some celebrities purposefully attach their name to products (such as Guy Kawasaki praising Apple products), or even launch their own (such as Rihanna’s makeup). Other celebrities don’t purposefully endorse products, but when their fans see them using a particular product, that product often sees a bump in sales as fans rush to buy it. But! Not all Influencers are celebrities. There are three key “ingredients” that make up a good Influencer (and being a celebrity isn’t one of them).
Credibility and Trust
An Influencer is someone people trust as being an authority on a specific subject. The specificity is important to remember: someone who has a lot of credibility about video games will not have the same level of trust when it comes to, for example, cooking or financial investments.
Influencers are also good at sales, whatever their personal style may be in terms of communicating. They are able to express their message in a way that makes their followers want to buy products they endorse.
The assumption is that an Influencer must have millions of followers (as some celebrities do). But that’s not accurate. There are certainly celebrity Influencers with massive reach, aka macro-influencers. But there are also micro-influencers, whose reach is smaller, but who still have a strong ability to sell products to the followers who trust them.
Choosing the Right Influencer
Big businesses with marketing budgets in the millions can afford to hire macro-influencers to help sell their products. But for smaller businesses with smaller budgets, Influencer marketing has to be done smarter, and of utmost importance is choosing the right Influencer for your product. The good news is that there’s excellent evidence that micro-influencers can be even more effective than macro-influencers in many ways, including engagement levels, trust, and impact.
Match your Industry
Look for Influencers that match your industry. If your product is high-tech, you don’t want to use an Influencer who has no credibility when it comes to technology.
Match your Customer
If your product is geared towards teenagers, having an Influencer whose audience is adults isn’t going to help you. If your product is a new phone app, an Influencer in the book publishing industry will be of no use to you. You need to target Influencers whose audience matches your target customer, whatever that may be.
Match your Product
Finally, be sure the Influencer you choose is someone who is excited by products that are similar to yours. If your product is a game app, look for the Influencer who is talking about and reviewing other games, not one talking about fitness apps.
The final (and perhaps most important) key to good influencer marketing is authenticity; you want the Influencer to genuinely like and use your product. Think of them as an ambassador for your product.
If you’ve decided to enter the Influencer marketing arena, your goal should be to cultivate relationships with Influencers who are honest (yes, this means they will talk about both the good and bad aspects of your product) and who are truly enthusiastic about your product. Good Influencer marketing takes time; you can’t build a strong relationship with someone overnight. However, if you take the time to find the perfect Influencer for your product, it can pay big dividends in the future.