Before the internet became available to the public, people heavily relied on advertisements to inform their buying decisions.
Advertisers paid celebrities to endorse products and services because the latter had the power to affect the buying decisions of consumers due to their fame and popularity. This fact makes celebrities the original influencers.
These days, ordinary people can affect the buying decisions of consumers because of their knowledge, authority, and relationship to their audiences.
They are regular content creators who have large followings on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms, which is why they're more aptly known as social media influencers.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
According to an article on the Hootsuite blog, influencer marketing is the collaboration of a business with an influencer to promote a product, service, or campaign.
Social media influencers are highly effective brand ambassadors. Their opinions on products and services are generally perceived as honest and unbiased. They tend to influence people in very specific niches, which makes targeting easy, precise, and powerful for marketers.
Marketers are aware of this and are keen on harnessing the power of influencer marketing. A study by WHOSAY, a marketing firm, reveals that 70 percent of agency and brand marketers in the U.S. claim that they “agree” or “strongly agree” that influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2018.
It also says that 89 percent of these marketers believe influencer marketing can positively impact how people feel about a brand.
Why Should You Launch an Influencer Marketing Campaign?
Here are eight good reasons to do so:
1. More and more people are tuning out ads
Millennials, in particular, are a difficult segment to advertise to. They are known as "digital natives," and they know all of the ins-and-outs of using ad blockers.
This generation turns to friends and social media to decide which products and services to purchase. With influencer marketing, you can catch the attention of Millennials directly in the middle of the buyer's journey.
2. Influencer marketing increases brand awareness
An influencer generally has a large following. You can leverage this following to increase your brand's exposure. Influencers can also create content around your brand so that their followers get to know your business better, thus laying the foundation for you to build a relationship with your target audience.
Even better, influencer marketing doesn't consist of pushy tactics. When they promote your brand, consumers won't view it as overly promotional, which increases their trust with your brand.
3. You'll save time, money, and effort on finding and testing an audience
Influencers have a laser-targeted audience with whom they have built strong relationships. You'll have a “ready-made audience” once you collaborate with them.
Your customer acquisition rates will increase because you'll be reaching consumers who are interested in the exact products and services you offer. Not only will you acquire customers at a faster pace, they will convert quicker also, which enhances your customer conversion rates.
4. Influencers create content with tremendous value
Consumers tend to trust content that comes from influencers because they are attuned to the needs and desires of their followers. They know what topics and types of content resonate with their audience.
You can share their content to provide value to your own audience who may not be their followers. Any reviews provided by influencers are often highly valued by consumers. A bridge of trust between you and your targeted audience is built when you share these reviews.
5. They help you improve your website's SEO
Many influencers have blogs that have high page ranks, which means they can give your site high-quality backlinks. Your domain authority is a key factor in how well your content ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Domain authority is determined by calculating how useful and relevant your content is. When influencers link back to your site, this increases your domain authority and boosts your SERP's rankings.
6. You'll connect with a local audience
You may not be able to attract the attention of a famous celebrity, but you can sure partner up with local businesses and take advantage of influencer marketing. Do a bit of research and identify which local businesses have the most influence online.
Then, contact them and see if they are willing to drive traffic your way via an online social media update or a blog posting. Tapping into the local market is an excellent way to connect with your local customers.
7. It serves as a product review
Is there a better way to expand brand awareness than a positive product review? Yes, and it comes in the form of a positive product review from an influencer. Influencers find success because their audiences believe that they're extremely reliable.
If they see an influencer using a product, they think to themselves, "Wow, that product really must be worth the money. I'll think I'll go buy it." A single product review from an influencer can extend your brand awareness farther than you thought possible, making influencer marketing one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising.
8. It's an excellent way to get content
You can say the same thing over and over, but when you're publishing new blog postings on a daily basis, it can be difficult coming up with topics that are relevant to your product or service.
Influencers, however, are extremely creative and they are sure to deliver content that highly engages both your audience and theirs.
Even better, you can repurpose the content they provide into blog postings, social media status updates, videos, infographics, and more. Their fresh approach to content creation is exactly what you need.
With the benefits it has to offer, an effective influencer marketing campaign can deliver significant ROI and help you grow your business. Just make sure that you have a good influencer marketing strategy in place and that you collaborate with influencers who are a good match for your brand.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.