Influencer marketing – is the hype justified?

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Influencer marketing is one of 2017’s hottest topics, and one of the fastest growing segments in marketing.

It has been proven that influencer marketing offers a much higher return than conventional media channels. This does not come as a surprise though, as the new stars of social media, the so-called influencers, have an important impact on the purchasing decisions of their followers.

Their loyal community of fans trusts the recommendations of their idols. Influencer marketing done right benefits from the credibility and authenticity in the relationship between influencers and their community.

Influencer marketing has caught the attention of marketing managers for a reason – it raises the possibility of placing a brand in the kind of hip and contemporary environment that is bang on message.

But, which channel has the highest potential from an advertisers perspective? Most of the time the approach is thought to be too narrow. Focussing purely on reach is simply not essential or valuable.

Don’t overpay when it comes to making your choice

We need to take one step back.

What currency do we use in influencer marketing?

A well-targeted message to a relevant and broad audience, delivered by an influencer, is the objective of influencer marketing. No doubt the reach of an influencer is important when choosing the right channel. However, just looking at the reach will not guarantee the desired effect and perception by the audience.

The reach of an influencer will only give you raw numbers in the first place. The capability of delivering the desired message in a convincing and authentic way and therefore triggering the desired action by the audience is a different story and much more decisive for successful influencer marketing.

To achieve this, a relationship between influencers and their followers has to be based on trust.

Identifying the value of influencer marketing

To identify the value of influencer marketing, two key elements have to be taken into consideration:

The proportion between reach and the degree of trust

Only when looking at both factors we can make a reliable judgement about how significant certain social media profiles or blogs really are.

We need to decide which channel will carry the desired message best

It is crucial to rely not just on the overall reach but also to focus on how relevant a channel is for the message and the target group.

Making the wrong channel decisions will waste your budget

Each influencer channels has it’s own unique format and characteristics.

On Instagram or Twitter, one can share a quick impression with the followers of that particular influencer.

This is well-suited for the launch of a product or news announcement. This short time frame where the attention of the user is drawn to a product means that the focus has to be on a short and visual message – one that gets the attention of the audience quickly.

If you want to roll out a topic or present a product in a more detailed fashion, a blog post or ‘vlog’ is a much better strategy. They are both still visible even after years and encourage the user to spend more time with the content (the average session duration for blog posts is 0.5 to 1.2 minutes).

The critical part here is to put yourself in the shoes of the audience you are targeting. Put a strategy in place designed to meet your objectives and execute.

The three questions you MUST ask

To create an influencer marketing campaign that will ensure your message is spread far and wide to the relevant audiences, it’s important to be present across multiple channels. With this strategy, it requires in-depth consideration around budgets and how this is spread across the channels of choice.

The main question for brands and agencies who want to invest in influencer marketing should always be:

‘What objectives do we want to achieve?’

‘Which message should be transmitted by the influencer?’

‘Which channels qualify to reach the desired goal?’

Once the answers to those questions have been found, the search for the right influencer can start.

However, it’s important the right methodology is applied. Instead of browsing through single accounts, a more holistic approach has to be pursued.

Influencer marketing needs to be seen as an entirely independent marketing channel that will implemented used across various platforms.

Hype or opportunity?

Marketers should embrace all types of influencer, especially those that can offer credibility and who has their target audience’s ear. As mentioned already, those with millions upon millions of followers aren’t always the correct choice.

To reach the best result with marketing and realise its full potential, it has to become an inherent component of the marketing mix.

All channels should no longer act separately – they need to operate together and work towards a single, overarching campaign goal.

As a result, brands can expect to see a better ROI, a more loyal audience and the continued growth of one of marketing’s most exciting channels.

Grasp the above, and brands will be able to filter out the supposed hype and unlock the potential of influencer marketing.

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