Influencer Marketing: Should brands opt for it?
With the increasing penetration of social media in our everyday lives, the way we as consumers, make buying decisions, has significantly shifted in the last few years.
What remains a constant though, is that, all consumers, irrespective of their demographics and nature of purchase do get influenced by people they trust. In social media parlance, there are users those who have built a large circle of trust with followers who genuinely care about and associate themselves with his/her personal brand. The former is termed as an ‘influencer’.
Given its inherent potential of scalability, a plethora of brands have ridden on the influencers’ brands to reach out to users far and wide.
Influencer marketing has, thus, quite been the buzzword for the last three years or so. But as a brand, should you be adopting this route in tow with others or, must there be a strategy for it?
Let us look at a few factors that can help you decide whether you should foray into influencer marketing strategy or not :–
Lay down your marketing goals clearly
- Are you simply chasing the astronomical following of top influencers and the billion clicks of successful campaigns?
- Or, are you trying to slowly create a definite positioning for your brand?
- Or, are you willing to spend time and money understanding your potential user base and engage with the most meaningful ones?
- Do you want a campaign for lead generation or to generate brand awareness?
The cues for your impending decision lie in the responses to some of these questions.
Look at how Boxed Water used influencers Jaimie King and Megan DeAngelis to spread the word, while also using a very interesting campaign called The Retree Project – every Instagram photo posted with the hashtag #Retree, Boxed Water planted two trees. There were 2600 photos with the hashtag.
How are buying decisions for your brand made?
Influencer marketing can have great success for categories like beauty, wellness, baby care, fashion, food, travel, gadgets and so on…However, if you are an education brand trying to appeal to parents with a new concept, or, if you are an insurance company trying to sell a medical insurance policy, an open-ended, low involvement channel like influencer marketing may not work for you alone. You might have to look at alternate channels where you can engage with your potential customers at a more cerebral level.
Know where your potential audience lies
While few B2B brands in the US have explored influencer marketing for their business, the efficacy of this marketing tool has largely been seen by B2C businesses. While folks from all businesses flock on the social media today and one might argue they do get ‘influenced’ but purchase decisions through campaigns are more likely to convert for B2C brands. Is the influencer for your brand’s stakeholders really out there? Think about it before you jump in.
Long or Short-Term Involvement
Just like the ‘temporary’ nature of social media, outcomes of influencer marketing campaigns might fizzle out soon after the sizzle. If you are seeking to build a deeper relationship with your audience and want to have an active dialogue with them for a higher engagement, all within the same budget, consider building a community on a social platform instead.
Influencers become boring when they have little new to say about a brand. Conversely, influencers are also particular about how much exposure they give themselves through a brand. Keeping content fresh and relevant often requires you to create a pool of influencers to work with consistently.
Here’s Ela Velden again showing how to use Insta to build her profile, and how to use it to push a brand. The balance is very important for the brand and the influencer both.
Set Expectations for RoI
One has to face it that around 70-80% of marketeers haven’t been able to measure impact through influencer marketing campaigns explicitly. Yes, one hears about likes, views, hashtags but what does it mean for a brand/ product directly, only few know clearly. If you are a marketeer with an inclination towards delivering ‘real impact’, you may have to dig deeper into your influencer marketing strategy.
A good way to do this is to create a baseline and then see then incremental impact of an Influencer campaign.
Eg: You’re spending 2 Lak INR per month and getting 500 visits to your website.
With one burst of an influencer, say you spend INR 10 Laks, do you see a big jump in the website visits. Is it 5 times more? 10 times more?
Influencer marketing offers promise to marketeers as it has the potential to unify the benefits of public relations, traditional and digital marketing, through relevant relationship-based communication. Whether it will create an impact for your brand or not, is what you need to do your homework about.
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