Years ago, a company called General Mills hit upon a marketing tool that catapulted a boring breakfast cereal, Wheaties, into a major revenue machine. They began to call it the “breakfast of champions” and featured famous athletes on its boxes – product endorsers who were idolized by every kid. This was “influencer marketing” at its finest.
Obviously, “influencer marketing” has evolved. The big boys can still get big names to endorse their products. The smaller business owners cannot. But “influencer marketing” has taken on an entirely new meaning, and it promises to be the marketing buzzword in 2017 and beyond. Why?
• Over the next five years, millennials will spend $1.4 trillion on products and services, most of which are offered and purchased digitally. This is the biggest purchasing group right now.
• According to Tapinfluence, 83% of digital consumers rely on recommendations for products and services from people they know.
• According to a Nielson report, 66% of consumers place trust in reviews and ratings they read online.
What does this mean for marketers? It means that all of the PR, all of the content marketing, and all of the social media efforts will need to converge around a major factor – influencer marketing. And the influencers are not just the “experts” in a niche or major celebrities. The influencers are also common folk who are speaking with their tribes.
Trust in media and in institutions is declining. Consumers have come to rely on one another and those “authorities” that they have come to know and trust. Marketers have to tap into this new consumerism if they intend to get a fair market share of the huge revenue potential that sits out there. There are specific steps and strategies for doing this successfully.
No strategy can be developed without goals and KPI’s. And this is where you must begin.
• Establish your goals. Are you looking to increase awareness of your brand? Do you have a new product or service to launch? Have you identified a new target audience that you want to reach? These things will determine the type of influencer campaign you launch.
• Set Your KPI’s. Be specific and identify how you will track them. Using Google Analytics is still a pretty good method. If your influencers are mentioning you in posts; if your influencers are recommending you to others; if your influences are reviewing your product/service, then you can track how much engagement and how many conversions you are getting as a result.
There’s a lot involved here, and it will take the time to identify, introduce, nurture and win over influencers. Doing this right means several steps.
1. What traits do you want your ideal influencer to have? Obviously, you want that individual to have the same audience that you do; you want that individual’s niche to be related to yours; you want that influence to have a highly engaged audience – lots of like, re-tweets, shares, etc.
An influencer’s online “personality” is also important. Language and style must be a “fit” for your target market. You need also to think about “reach”. There may be an influencer with a huge reach but not much engagement (likes but no shares, for example). You may want to select an influencer with a smaller reach but a higher percentage of engagement – just sayin’.
So ask yourself this:
2. What type of influence do you want? There are 5 types of influencers, and the type you want may vary depending upon your goals and specific campaigns.
• Celebrities: The big boys can afford them; most others cannot. They have a huge reach, of course, but may not have the engagement. Companies use celebrities when they have the budget to “throw enough against the wall” that some of it may stick.
• Micro-Influencers: the beauty of these individuals is that, while they may only have a following of up to 100,000, their engagement rate is usually much higher. Followers tend to share their content.