Whether you’re scrolling past pop-up advertisements on a smartphone app, clicking through promoted products on your Amazon account, or laughing at cheesy late night infomercials; branded content touches almost every area of your everyday life. In a world where connectivity is a prerequisite for both personal and professional success, marketing is impossible to escape, and modern consumers are bombarded with ads daily.
In the face of constant media barrage, people are simply tuning out the noise and focusing on their interests. A 2016 marketing report from Salesforce ended with the dire prediction that “consumers are now immune to traditional advertising and marketing strategies”, while a Forrester survey from the same year revealed that only 40% of digital advertisements are viewed by real humans. Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer puts matters into an even clearer perspective, consumer trust in traditional media is at an all-time low and trending downwards.
So, how do businesses connect to increasingly cynical audiences in a marketplace where attention is worth its weight in gold?
Influencers Are the Key to the Digital Marketplace
Over the years, brands like Jenny Craig, Calvin Klein, and Pepsi have used celebrity endorsements as an integral part of their overall marketing strategy. While these multimillion dollar partnerships can still be highly effective under the right circumstances, most movie stars and singers are not able to engage audiences past a few initial videos.
For example, in 2015, Emirates Airlines released a series of TV spots starring Jennifer Aniston to help spread the word about their new premium aircraft. The campaign was a success, drawing a respectable number of views on Youtube and some additional buzz on social media.
Later that same year the brand took their marketing towards a more digitally savvy direction. Emirates gifted the massively popular digital content creator and techpreneur Casey Neistat an early membership to their new premiere class service, in the hopes that Casey would share his experience on his substantially followed social media profiles. The gamble paid off, Casey created two videos praising Emirates new services. To date, these two videos have received over 11 million and 52 million views respectively. Alongside the public attention, the plugs earned Emirates glowing profiles on trade magazines such as Adweek, Maxim and GQ.
With a fraction of the investment, Emirates was able to connect to a new demographic and build its image as a forward-thinking, customer-oriented airline.
Influencers are Relatable
Influencers work hard to communicate and engage with their audience, they respond to comments, answer concerns, and create content relevant to their followers based on common interest. This is a level of accessibility and engagement that audiences do not receive from mainstream celebrities. As a result, when an influencer endorses a product or service, their followers view it akin to a recommendation from a friend or family member. When you consider that 92% of consumers turn to their peers for purchasing advice, the reach of the influencer is long.
Influencers are Authentic
In a world where every business seems to employ the same marketing tactic to receive online traffic, consumers place a higher level of trust in other consumers than they do in traditional advertising. At least 60% of consumers say they seek user-generated content and reviews before making a purchasing decision.
Influencers offer the authenticity that buyers trust. Their relationship with their audience is not centered around selling merchandise, but rather, around informative and relevant content that interests their followers. When an influencer tells your brand’s story, it comes from the perspective of a consumer, rather than that of a business or marketing strategy. Influencers can address pain points that affect their followers, and market your products and services in a way that resonates with their audience and addresses those pain points.
Influencers Thrive in the Digital World
Ninety-one per cent of adults who regularly spends time online use some type of social media, Facebook alone hosts almost 2 billion active users every month. Regardless of the industry you operate in or the demographic you’re targeting, chances are your target market is on social media. Of course, communicating with this audience is not as easy as it once was. Today, almost every business holds at least one social media profile, and most companies also have an employee who oversees their online presence and manages feedback and engagement with their community. Smaller businesses with fewer resources, may not have the same advantages as larger corporations, but leveraging an influencer will help them increase their ROI.
Social media influencers typically have thousands, sometimes millions of loyal followers on their respective platform. By bringing one of these individuals on board, and leveraging their influence, you can instantly boost your online presence and build brand credibility.
Search Engines Prioritize Influencers
SEO is a concern for businesses looking to increase their online presence. According to recent studies, user-generated content accounts for at least 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands. Meanwhile, sites such as Facebook are promoting authentic user-generated content, to create and nurture personal connections on their platform. Leveraging an influencer for your content marketing efforts can enhance your search engine rankings in a shorter amount of time.
Also Read: Influencer Marketing 2.0: Key Trends