The world of PR, sales, marketing and advertising is constantly evolving, often blurring the lines between them. The most recent evolution is the rise of the influencer. Social media is here to stay and is now an integral part of daily life, whether we like it or not. So it’s no wonder that brands and organizations are looking to use those channels to help with their business goals, whether that be brand awareness or to boost sales.
Insert the influencer. B2C is in the midst of a revolution with influencers at the forefront. By partnering with influencers, brands are reaching consumers in an authentic way and connecting aspirational concepts to a wider audience via the loyal fans who follow the influencer.
So why are influencers so popular amongst brands?
- Authenticity. Influencer marketing offers a human-to-human connection rather than a brand-to-human connection.
- Trust. Brand storytelling about a product or service is executed more organically and with more credibility for influencers who are specialists in a certain field.
- Aspiration. In the social realm, influencers are seen as celebrities and subject matter experts.
- Relationship-building. They can engage with their loyal following in real time and participate in two-way communication with their audience.
Industry professionals are still navigating the waters and analyzing what makes a good influencer marketing strategy. There’s no guidebook and everything from talent management to how they can be integrated into a brand is still being worked through. The last five years have seen a rapid development of the influencer community and brands are in the process of figuring out how to best utilize them. Instagram recently announced the launch of their Insights — a measurement tool being developed that will surely provide more clarity about ROI when working with influencers.
Another key point that brands and influencers alike should take note of is authentic partnerships. It’s important to be real and remain authentic in the campaigns that are brokered. Finding a good fit is essential to a campaign’s overall success. Bloggers and influencers are more effective with brand messaging when they’re used long-term throughout a campaign they believe in.
“Create an actual working relationship with influencers who you’ve researched and you know are a good fit. And from a social point of view, their followers see a consistent connection with your brand, which implies authenticity and true engagement with your brand rather than a quickie,” says Erica Ehm, founder of Yummy Mummy Clubs.
Although the kinks are still being sorted out in the digital flux of social media, one thing is certain – influencers , in one form or another, are here to stay.