Millennials hate advertisements.
That is, of course, unless the advertisement comes to them through someone they trust. As Forbes noted, 84% of millennials report that they hate traditional advertising. Millennials show this by trending toward premium services like Netflix, preferring to pay a subscription fee rather than sit through television commercials.
But there is a way to reach today’s audience. The same study as quoted by Forbes reported that most millennials are perfectly happy to check out advertisements if their favorite digital content starts with one. 80% reported that they would even watch a pre-video ad—as long as they like what comes after.
Enter Influencer Marketing. This unique marketing platform targets influencers—celebrities, social media stars, and digital content producers—to “sneak” in a few advertisements. This often comes in the form of…
But why is Influencer Marketing becoming so powerful—and might it be possible to leverage its power to boost your brand?
Why Influencer Marketing Works
Consumers expect marketers to focus on the positive, so they turn to the people they trust. With the rise of social media, the circle of people we trust now includes our favorite industry experts, celebrities, and athletes.
According to SocialMediaToday.com, the ROI generated by Influencer Marketing is 11 times as that generated by “traditional forms of advertising.”
What explains that level of efficiency?
It comes down to a simple idea: trust. An Adweek study found that millennials are happy to view sponsored content to the tune of 57%–as long as that sponsored content comes from someone they trust. That means intrusive advertising—television commercials, Internet popups, and other “unsolicited material,” so to speak—are left at a disadvantage.
As Neil Patel notes, Influencer Marketing works because it leverages the power of the social Internet: as consumers have become more and more accustomed to reading online reviews and seeking second opinions on purchases before they buy, social trust becomes far more important.
Just how quickly have online retail outlets and social media changed out standards for what we’ll buy and won’t buy online? According to HubSpot, when visitors view a product video they’re 73% more likely to buy it. Online stores without enough visual trust are left at a disadvantage.
Influencer Marketing takes advantage of this effect by going directly to the source: Influencers.
Defining the “Influencer” in Today’s Internet
This term might sound technical, but it’s intentionally vague. It can refer to a wide range of digital content creators, celebrities, athletes, bloggers, and other notable people. For marketing purposes, an Influencer is someone with both a substantial following and a high degree of trust and loyalty from that following.
Consider the case of celebrity Kim Kardashian. Kardashian is a prominent Influencer who happily works in sponsored ads along with the rest of her digital content. The same is the case with the aforementioned Jennifer Lopez. But the word “Influencer” isn’t limited to elite Hollywood celebrities. Influencers can also include the following:
It’s not hard to find content producers in today’s Internet. But Influencer Marketers can only leverage the power of this platform if they also find a star that has an audience that also trusts them.
Why Trust is Key in Influencer Marketing
It’s not difficult to gain access to a large audience online. All a marketer has to do is secure a sponsorship with a high-powered influencer with a lot of followers.
But just how effective will that campaign be? That depends on a number of factors—one of the most important of which is trust. A digital influencer with one million followers might be able to provide better results for their sponsors than an influencer with two million less-engaged followers. Here’s what you’ll need to know:
An effectively-written advertisement still has power in today’s environment. But more and more, people rely on social factors when making digital purchases. Influencer Marketing serves as a quick jolt in the arm for any brand that wants to build trust—essentially, by leveraging the trust already established by digital influencers.
How to Make the Most of Influencer Marketing
The core of Influencer Marketing is in accessing the trust and influence that today’s content creators share with their audience. But how can a company best leverage the available tools to ensure a positive ROI?
Know Your Platforms
It starts with getting a sense of the platforms that might be most appropriate for your specific campaign. According to SocialMediaToday.com, these are the four best-performing platforms for Influencer Marketing:
But choosing a platform for an Influencer Marketing campaign should also take demographics into account. Think about the type of audience that you want to reach with this campaign—and the general demographics of the users on each platform. It may be that you can reach more youth by using Snapchat, or a demographic with more disposable income on Facebook. Go through these same considerations when you choose your specific Influencers, as well.
Identify the Right Influencers
It pays to take time when researching the influencers who can have the best possible impact on your campaign. But many marketers who have never tried Influencer Marketing before might wonder how to get started. Here are a few key tips:
Building a Better Marketing Strategy with Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing isn’t a secret trick. When someone offers a sponsored advertisement in their content, they let their audience know about it. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective than a subtle advertisement.
Influencer Marketing opens all sorts of possibilities for digital marketers, from dedicated campaigns with social media celebrities to simple mentions in niche podcasts. These mentions have a way of building up credibility with an audience.
As you learn how to better leverage Influencer Marketing, start small and build up. As you find out what works for you—and what doesn’t work—you’ll get a sense of the landscape and the ROI you might see in the future. This will help you determine future budgeting, upcoming plans, and a sense of what’s possible in today’s digital environment.