Most influencers have social media to thank for their popularity and authority status in the eyes of so many followers. These popular individuals have the power to change behavior through social media. And that behavior often involves buying a product or service.
After all, the influencer marketing industry has ballooned to a worth of $10 billion for a reason. That’s exactly why businesses across the globe are building relationships with influencers who can help them with social selling.
How Influencer Marketing and Social Selling Go Hand in Hand
Many industries leverage influencers regularly to promote their products. But why does influencer marketing look so different than the celebrity endorsements of days gone by? The answer lies in a cultural shift fueled by social media.
As baby boomers retire, millennial consumers are slowly becoming the biggest consumer group in the world. Correspondingly, the biggest target market for influencers and influencer marketing, in general, are the millennial consumers.
According to a study by LaunchMetrics, millennials are the focus of 76.4% of all influencer strategies. And when you consider that 90.4% of millennials use social media, the model makes sense. Millennials are often reluctant to trust what brands say in ad campaigns. Instead, they would much rather trust a figure that is popular on social media and then make a purchasing decision.
It’s worth noting that Gen Z is maturing and joining the economy, as well. The companies that survive the consumer transformation will be the ones that cater to these two groups.
Platforms & Perks
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have millions to billions of users. But if a marketer wants to take advantage of these individual online communities, they must be aware that each platform is a different story.
For instance, Instagram is an image-centric social platform, which makes it great for fitness and clothing industries. Influencers can present new clothing garments through photos or videos and fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders can show off their bodies, explaining their diets and routines using visually-driven content.
3 Reasons Why Companies Work with Influencers
More and more brands today are deciding to work with influencers. Let’s take a look at why so many companies want to leverage the follower base of an influencer to sell their products.
Influencer Marketing is not Pushy
Many claim that this is the biggest benefit of this marketing method. This kind of marketing is radically different from traditional marketing methods simply because it doesn’t feel pushy to consumers.
Followers on social media willingly opt to follow influencers and look forward to their posts. Content influencers share isn’t spam; followers are actively seeking their advice and recommendations.
And even when influencers post sponsored content that is clearly designed to generate revenue for a certain company, followers don’t mind as much.
Influencers like Nichole Ciotti, who’s claim to fame started with a popular set of photo filters, promote a variety of different brands. Her clothing sponsors, like Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie, are already popular with her audience, and those followers appreciate curated recommendations.
Social Influencer Marketing is Credible
The most popular influencers had to spend a lot of time and effort in winning the trust of their followers. As a result, most of them seem true both to themselves and to their audience.
Such a feat cannot be achieved over the course of a single night. In order for someone to be viewed as a credible source or an authority, that individual has to be consistent and authentic. Their story has to be engaging enough to attract followers.
Once that kind of trust is established, everything becomes easier. And companies have recognized that.
Brands have to spend years to gain this kind of trust, so they turn to influencers who have already made that investment to work their magic on social media platforms. And it works. One study by Twitter revealed that consumers rely on influencers almost as much as on their friends.
In fact, a whopping 40% of consumers have claimed that they have made a purchase based on an influencer’s tweet.
Good for Brand Awareness
Influencer marketing can exponentially expand your reach online and position you as a modern, engaging brand. Social users will start noticing you more often, they will learn more about your brand, about your story, and ultimately, about what you offer.
However, the key to reaping the results of influencer marketing is to provide valuable content that adds to their social media presence.
By ensuring value for not only the company, but with the influencer, and the audience, everyone gets something out of the campaign.
Influencer Marketing Case Studies
Finally, let’s take a look at the examples where businesses have found the perfect formula for influencer marketing.
Fiji Water used the face of Danielle Bernstein to spark more interest in their message.
Bernstein runs an immensely popular blog called ‘We Wore What.’ Fiji joined forces with her on Instagram to spread awareness about the importance of water for human health.
Bernstein appeared in short videos that promoted the significance of water for staying healthy and fit. Her followers were quick to respond, and soon enough were drinking more water to stay healthy, all while Berstein and Fiji made more sales.
This car giant has been experiencing significant growth during the past few years, and influencer marketing played a major role in this growth. Subaru’s sales increased by 10% in 2016 alone.
Their influencer marketing campaign, called ‘Meet an Owner,’ was a major success, improving brand awareness along with their brand sentiment.
A total of 20 influencers were contacted for this campaign across various categories ranging from fitness to art to generate a broad appeal of relatable ambassadors.
GOODFOODS had the goal to raise brand awareness for their natural guacamole and dips, and to eventually drive sales.
To accomplish their goal, GOODFOODS assembled a team of 60 influencers with expertise in food, parenting, lifestyle, and home goods. These individuals had to create original recipes and stories that featured products from GOODFOODS.
The influencers created more than 2,000 pieces of content, ranging from blog posts and recipes to photos and videos. The campaign, which was a resounding success, had 32 million potential impressions, 71,000 engagements, and returned a conversion rate of 34.2%.
Novelties and shifts in the digital landscape are the new norm. And all ambitious companies who want to stay at the top have to keep up with those trends.
Though strategies constantly change, influencer marketing is here to stay (just like social media platforms). As long as you work closely with influencers who have a trusted reputation, relevant appeal, and a community of loyal followers, influencer marketing can be your new secret to success.