It’s fascinating to think about the fact that the average person spends up to two hours on social media each day. This average even accounts for those who spend little to no time on social media and is counterbalanced by certain demographics who spend nearly every waking moment on their cellular devices. So it’s no wonder that influencer marketing – which takes the popularity of social media stars and leverages that popularity to promote brands and their products – has emerged as one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative segments of advertising in the world today.
Influencer marketing has been viewed through a lens of skepticism from its inception, even disregarded by some as a fad. But if word of mouth is the most successful marketing strategy, having an extension of that in the social media age seems to fall in line with the natural evolution of marketing, and has proven to be mutually beneficial for influencers and brand’s alike.
In fact, Viral Nation’s own co-founder Joe Gagliese recently touched on this comparison in a podcast for eCommerce Fastlane, where he affectionately describes Influencer marketing as “basically word-of-mouth on steroids”.
So what if you are looking to add a little muscle behind your brand’s marketing efforts? There is no denying the effectiveness of Influencer marketing, but the benefits extend beyond simple dollars and cents. Share of industry voice, consumer trust, brand recognition, and a litany of other benefits can be produced from well-executed Influencer marketing campaigns. Let’s take a look at some of the top 10 benefits of Influencer marketing to grow your business.
1. Builds Trust and Shows Authority
There is a simple ideology associated with the practice of influencer endorsements. When a celebrity, industry expert, or social media personality shares content about a brand, it produces instant credibility to the company they are promoting, plain and simple. The idea is, if a company can get an authoritative person to notice and recognize its brand, it creates a perception that the brand is an industry leader and trustworthy company, based on the endorsement and sentiment provided by the influencer. The recognition is even more effective in niche marketing when an authority in your industry shares your content. Credibility produced in this facet can substantially accelerate the time frame in which brands can build and establish trust and authority with consumers.
2. Improves Brand Awareness
As we touched on before, influencer marketing can greatly expand your reach and positioning in the online marketplace. Social users will begin to know more about your brand, your story, who you are, and the solutions you offer. The contributions that influencers can make in terms of brand awareness are some of the most powerful benefits of social media marketing.
The key factor in maximizing influencer strategy is making sure you provide valuable content that adds to the influencers’ social media presence as well, ensuring there is value in the partnership for both parties.
Influencers are often the driving force behind new trends and movements (which we will discuss further later on in this article). They frequently introduce audiences to new ideas, brands, products, etc. So being seen as a hot new concept is one of the many benefits of influencer marketing. Aligning your brand with an influencer who moves the needle in the trends department shows people that your company is an innovative leader in your industry.
3. Effectively Reaches Your Target Audience and Drives Purchasing Decisions
We can not overstate the importance of this particular benefit. Relevant influencers place your content in front of social media users who are already interested in your niche. There’s no additional budget necessary for testing and finding your audience – the influencer has already established this audience on social media for themselves.
In addition, influencers who mention your brand actually drive sales. Consumers are looking to influencers more and more for advice on what products and services to buy. In a study conducted in 2016, roughly 40 percent of respondents said they made a purchase after seeing a social media influencer use the product or service. Three years later, those numbers have surely increased as the prominence of social media has grown. If one of your marketing objectives is increasing sales – and let’s be honest, what company isn’t looking for a sales boost – influencer marketing can help you accomplish that objective.
4. Access To Millennial & Gen Z Consumers
The TV has been left behind for the younger audience, who has increasingly favored and contributed to the popularity of digital media. This is why Influencer marketing is now a mandatory channel for reaching Millennials and Gen Z’ers. Attracting consumers from these audiences brings immense value to your brand.
5. Influencers Are Trendsetters
As we touched on earlier, Influencers are go-to sources of information as it pertains to new products within their industry (beauty, fashion, tech, fitness, gaming etc.). Influencers’ followers deeply respect and often times even idolize their opinions within their categories of expertise. This is what makes influencer marketing so powerful.
Often times influencers are also given exclusive access to new products before they are even on the market and available to the general public. This provides ample opportunity for a brand to partner with an influencer and build a campaign around the influencers review of a hot, new product that they have exclusive access to, and in turn, potentially place your brand in the spotlight of a fresh and emerging trend around your product.
6. Long-Term Influencer Relationships
Influencer marketing campaigns aren’t just about metrics—it’s about building relationships. So establishing rapport with influencers creates strong and lasting partnerships that drive long-term results for both the brand and the influencer. Nearly half of marketers engage in influencer partnerships lasting six months or longer, while 37% of influencers say they’re working with brands for longer periods as opposed to one-off campaigns. This is also an ample strategy for Instagram influencers in building their own brand and resume.
7. Immense Reach & Visibility
Many social media influencers boast audience counts in the millions, with the 50 most followed Instagram influencer accounts totaling more than 2.5 billion followers. Marketers can build highly effective campaigns that reach millions of consumers by properly vetting influencers based on both qualitative and quantitative factors, and selecting the ideal candidates based on that information.
Additionally, influencer marketing helps brands circumvent certain obstacles many other online marketing mediums face today. Mainstream adoption of ad blockers is in full effect, as well as users’ general loathing for blatant advertising, influencer marketing offers brands a viable, unobtrusive way to interact with consumers.
8. Manage Your Brands Reputation
It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting the conversation, or just simply involved in the dialogue, people talk about your brand. Whether that sentiment is positive or negative is something brands are increasing their focus on, as it pertains to their social media presence. When your organization effectively focuses on developing an active social listening plan, it allows you to track and discover where and when these conversations about your brand are happening. In 2019, it’s beyond imperative that you join these conversations – not simply as an observer, but as an active, engaged member of each and every community.
What if you find that people are spreading false information about your company? This is an opportunity to share your side of the story in a polite and professional manner. By addressing the issue in a public forum in a professional manner, you assert a sense of control over your brand voice in the marketplace. On the other side of the coin, when consumers are praising your brand, come up with ways to thank them and show your appreciation, both publicly and personally. This is also a way to build a pool of brand ambassadors, which also bring great value to a brand’s social presence.
9. Lead Generation
Lead generation is an incredibly important benefit of social media for business. Notably, most social networks now offer advertising formats specifically designed to collect leads and help brands generate both website and social media traffic.
Social media provides a simple way for potential customers to express interest in your business and your products or services. Lead generation has substantially evolved over the past decade, as social media has played a far greater role in connecting brands with customers and clients than ever before. Leveraging this medium to drive lead generation is essential in the modern market place.
10. Long-Term Benefits
Don’t expect to see a big increase in your sales with a single influencer IG story post. You should view investing in influencer marketing as a long-term relationship, and not just a one-off partnership. In the same way, it takes time to build trust between your brand and your consumers, the same philosophy applies to influencers and influencer marketing as a whole.
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