The rise of influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing has cemented itself as a vehicle for accelerating consumers through the marketing funnel, from awareness to intent and to purchase. More and more brands are recognising the value of these partnerships as reports increasingly demonstrate impressive ROI. A 2016 Tapinfluence and Nielsen study reported ROI figures in the region of 11X higher than other digital marketing channels.

As the popularity of Influencer Marketing continues, so does the number of prospective collaborators. Brands have a huge selection of individuals to reach out to, but selecting those that seamlessly align with their brand values is crucial.

Finding the right match

Traditionally, an influencer’s perceived value has been based on their follower count, but as this medium has evolved, we’ve been able to test and learn to discover what works and what doesn’t. Research has shown that Instagram engagement rates drop to just 1.7% for accounts with over a million followers while those with up to 2,000 followers see an engagement rate 10X that.

Before beginning your search for brand advocates, invest time in defining your audience. What are their passions? What does their media consumption look like? Building out the targeted personas that make up your audience will help you select the most relevant influencers for your brand. By assessing what prospective partners’ footprints look like across their different channels, you can match this with your audience’s engagement habits and patterns.

Once you’ve identified your influencers, you have to work with them to develop a narrative that’s going to resonate with your audience by effectively telling your brand’s story. Collaboration is key to a successful campaign.

Influencer marketing in action

The beauty of well-executed influencer marketing is its subtlety. The focus is on the story rather than the specific product, service or brand. Hilton teamed up with leading travel blogger and social media star Brian Kelly, earlier this year to run a campaign to promote its partnership with the GRAMMYs. Followers were encouraged to participate in the campaign by sharing a photo that depicted a song from one of the five artists nominated for Record of the Year. The winner was gifted two tickets to the awards ceremony and an exclusive pre-party hosted by Hilton and Brian Kelly. The campaign resulted in over 300 entries, collectively garnering thousands of engagements.

What made this campaign stand out?

It’s unique. A simple, original concept often goes a long way. This campaign offers just that.

It’s engaging. The campaign encourages audiences to participate and interact with the campaign while having some fun.

It’s creative. Taking inspiration from the five nominated Records of the Year offers endless creativity. Some of the highlights include a service dog with his paws perched on its owner’s laptop to represent Rihanna’s hit single, Work. Multiple yoga poses were posted to represent Beyoncé’s song, Formation. One entrant even used Face Swap to submit his entry, swapping places with Adele on her Hello album cover.

Influencer marketing is set to remain popular for businesses to invest in beyond 2017. Brands are pushing for influencers to demonstrate clear ROI for businesses and show that their activity is accountable. Companies like Tribe are making it easier than ever for brands to connect with influencers; acting as an online marketplace to share a brief and wait for prospective collaborators to respond. Brands like Spotify are utilising these platforms, with a recent campaign promoting the music streaming service’s Discover Weekly product generating an impressive $0.20 Cost per Engagement.

As consumers have increasing freedom to ignore advertising with the rise of ad blocking software, there is a growing challenge for advertisers to be seen and actually heard by their audience. When done well, influencer marketing is a powerful tool that acts as a verification of the product or service featured.  The focus of businesses should be on building long-term, sustainable partnerships so that influencers develop into natural advocates and ambassadors of the brand.

Author: Marie Jackson, Content Manager NSW & QLD









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