If you’re privy to the ways of advertising into today’s world, you know there’s likely a higher return to be found in a picture of Khloe Kardashian praising your brand than a 30-second TV commercial. Influencers—some celebrities, some everyday Joes with a knack for working their angles well—are influential to the digital marketing strategies of brands across the board. And for good reason.
In 2015, a Tomoson survey found businesses to be making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing initiatives. The most successful influencers on YouTube can rake in millions of dollars from their efforts. There’s money to be made on both ends, which gives brands reason to seek these influencers out, and influencers incentive to create high-quality content.
Statistics aside, however, can influencers really make an impact on your digital marketing strategy? Is their influence really worth anything?
The Value for Brands
Beyond the technicalities of SEO and optimization of online advertisements, the more challenging aspects of a Chicago digital marketing strategy with high return sometimes lies in the less tangible. Creatively engaging with audiences in a way that doesn’t feel contrived has become an ongoing challenge. This is why, there are a number of factors at play for brands when considering influencer marketing.
The buzzword of 2018, storytelling is the name of the game.
Brands are looking to connect with their audiences in a way that feels natural and human. They want to not just advocate on behalf of a product, but advocate on behalf of the emotions a product can make you feel.
Influencers offer a sense of naturalness and connection with audiences that brands find much more difficult to achieve on their own. Through the incorporation of a brand’s message and/or product into the storyline of an influencer’s feed—their perceived life—followers are given more context around how a product could then play out in their life. They connect with the influencer as another person, not a faceless company.
For the same reason you might hire a creative digital marketing agency, you hire influencers. There’s a level of convenience that comes into play when you hire out work on behalf of your brand to generate quality ideas and content.
Most influencers already have the capability to produce stylized content in a way that will resonate with their massive followings. And they have these eyeballs captured in a way that doesn’t feel forced. From there, all brands have to do is provide any necessary guidelines and let the influencers do what they do best.
When it comes to social proof, influencers check multiple boxes for brands. As pseudo celebrities themselves, their audiences are naturally drawn to their recommendations and suggestions. Add wisdom of the crowd to the mix found via the large following numbers they might boast, and there’s plenty of appeal to be found for brands looking to prove value.
Influencer Marketing: The Risk for Brands
While all of the above is certainly true of strategic, thoughtful influencer marketing plans, there are exceptions to the rules.
Lack of Trust and Authenticity
With the saturation of sponsored posts found across any number of social platforms nowadays, audience awareness has grown. In fact, it’s been found that only 18% of consumers actually trust social media influencers. Knowing that these individuals are clearly being paid to promote a product on behalf of a brand lessens the feeling of authenticity and turns their story-like post into just another ad.
Lack of Actual Influence
Just because an influencer has over 100k followers, does not mean they are reaching every single one of those individuals in their feeds.
With the purchasing of followers a common practice and spam bots prevalent, it’s difficult to truly gauge the quality of an influencers audience as well.
Final Thoughts: Can Influencers Really Help Your Brand?
The moral of the story is, influencers can help your brand but in order to do so, there has to be some care given to the development of influencers as true brand advocates.
When people truly believe in the product being sold, their promotion on behalf of it will inevitably come across as more genuine, whether influencer or otherwise. Build out a Chicago digital marketing strategy that puts authenticity at the forefront with an agency like Mabbly by your side.