5 Reasons to Use Influencer Marketing in 2017
Due to the increasing use of adblock software , brands and marketers face some limitations in the way they reach an audience. Now that more and more of their target customers are blocking banner ads on their browsers, there’s a weaker chance of spreading their promotional messages.
This is one of the biggest reasons brands are continuing to welcome influencers into their marketing strategies. Instead of promoting their products through ads, influencer marketing provides brands with the opportunity to market themselves through word-of-mouth.
If you’re not already marketing your brand through influencers, 2017 should be the year you embrace this marketing channel. In fact, here are some of the most important reasons why you should use influencer marketing this year:
Reason #1: It’s Effective for Maintaining Authenticity
Just take a closer look at your favorite brands. Why do you love them? Maybe it’s because they have great products. Or maybe it’s because they provide excellent customer service. But there’s also the possibility that you love those brands because they keep it real. They maintain transparency, and try to be honest about their products. If they do something wrong, they don’t hesitate to apologize, and accept their mistakes.
The truth is that we all appreciate authenticity, but when you advertise your products, it’s easy to make the mistake of being overly-promotional. With influencer marketing, you can create promotional content that is still authentic, and trustworthy. In fact, a study by Linqia  on 170 marketers found that the top benefit of influencer marketing is that it helps brands in creating authentic branded content. A striking 89% of marketers in the survey listed it as one of the top benefits.
This is likely because influencers often specialize in a specific niche. They regularly provide their followers with authentic content, such as honest reviews, and “first impressions” videos. This means when an influencer promotes a brand or product relevant to their expertise, their followers are more likely to accept that the influencer truly trusts the brand.
While you can always pay a celebrity to promote your products, working with an influencer shows that you value their honest opinion about your products. And they can help you create authentic content that promotes your products, while informing consumers about the benefits and features of the product.
Best Practices for Maintaining Authenticity
Although influencer marketing is highly effective for maintaining authenticity, this all depends on how you plan, and execute your campaign. Take note of these best practices to ensure that your influencer marketing campaign helps in creating more authentic content for your brand:
Make sure you work with an influencer who is relevant to your target niche.
Try to connect with an influencer whose values and goals align with yours.
Provide influencers with creative freedom, because they already know what their audience likes and values. Having them take control of the sponsored content can help in maintaining the influencer’s voice.
Make sure the influencers add a disclaimer about whether or not it’s a sponsored post.
Look for influencers who have the same personality as your brand.
Encourage influencers to be honest in their reviews; even if it’s a negative one.
The following screenshot shows an unboxing and review video of Trendy Butler by YouTuber, The Kavalier. In the description, the YouTuber mentioned that, although he received the box for free from Trendy Butler, all opinions are independent. This is one example of how you can maintain authenticity because the influencer was transparent about how he got the box, and still ensured his viewers that he’s expressing his genuine opinions about the service.
Reason #2: It’s Effective for Driving Engagement
Another important reason why you should consider using influencer marketing this year is because it’s highly effective for driving engagement. In the previously-cited Linqia study, the ability to drive engagement was considered as another top benefit of influencer marketing. When an influencer promotes a product or service, they encourage their followers to check out the brand’s website, buy a product, or subscribe to a service. All of these are forms of engagement.
As mentioned earlier, influencers cater to an audience in a highly specific niche – whether it’s gaming, fashion, lifestyle, travel, makeup and beauty, or fitness. Their audience is comprised of people who are interested in their guidance, or insights regarding the relevant subject.
An interest in the influencer’s content also means the audience is more likely to engage with the content, and the products or brands promoted through the content. So it’s no surprise that promoting your products through influencers can boost the level of engagement around that product.
Best Practices for Driving Engagement
Influencer marketing can drive higher levels of engagement around your brand and products. But the quality, and level of engagement can vary, depending on how you plan, and execute the campaign. Here are a few tips to help you boost your engagement levels effectively using influencer marketing:
Choose influencers who specialize in a niche similar, or related to your products.
When comparing influencer stats, focus on their ability to engage, rather than the size of their following.
Encourage influencers to promote your products/services in their own voice.
Host giveaway campaigns to further engage an audience that’s not interested in making a purchase.
The Honest Company, which sells safe, and responsible baby products, worked with mommy bloggers like Naomi of Love Taza to promote their products. The blogger wrote several sponsored posts, including a piece promoting the company’s new sunscreens with a giveaway. And she described the sunscreen spray as being easy to apply on, “squirmy little boys.”
The blogger’s audience is mainly comprised of mothers, who are likely to be interested in the company’s products. And the way she can engage with the audience by addressing their pain points is an excellent way to drive engagement for the brand. This post received more than 1,000 comments.
Reason #3: It’s Effective for Driving Website Traffic
With a huge importance placed on digital marketing, and online performance, it’s obvious that site traffic is one of the metrics used for measuring your brand’s performance. Higher site traffic improves your chances of driving conversions, and engaging potential customers, which means it’s a crucial goal for any marketing campaign. And 56% of marketers in the Linqia study believe that influencer marketing can help you realize this goal.
When an influencer is promoting your products or services, they’re going to provide their followers or viewers with a link to your product/service page. They’re also going to encourage their audience to click on the link, and visit your website, sending plenty of referral traffic your way. And even without the encouragement, some influencers may be able to send referral traffic simply by building enough interest in the product with their audience.
Best Practices for Driving Website Traffic
Influencers may be able to help in driving traffic to your website. But there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re trying to improve your site traffic through influencer marketing:
Assign a unique URL for each influencer, so you can easily track their individual performance.
Give the audience more reason to visit your site by promoting an offer – whether it’s a discount code, or a chance to win free merchandise – through the influencer.
In the screenshot below, you can see how YouTuber, The Modest Man, promoted Tailor Store in one of his videos, and included a unique URL with the name of his channel.
Tailor Store even went ahead and created a unique landing page for the influencer. This is an excellent way to better track your website traffic coming from influencers. It can also help you track conversions, and improves customer experience, since people are taken directly to the page where they can purchase the promoted products.
Reason #4: It’s Cost-Effective
Every business strives to increase profits while reducing costs. This is extremely difficult to achieve, but influencer marketing could be the solution to your problem. Maybe it’s because of their ability to reach a highly relevant audience. Or maybe it’s because of their ability to thoroughly engage an audience with authentic content. Either way, marketing with influencers is considered to be one of the most cost-effective channels for acquiring new customers online.
The Linqia study also found that 43% of marketers in the study found influencer marketing to be useful for generating content cost-effectively. Additionally, Mavrck conducted a study of 64 top marketing executives, out of which a majority of them considered influencer marketing to be cost-effective. This suggests that marketing with influencers could be an excellent way to improve your overall brand performance, without breaking the bank.
Best Practices to Ensure Cost-Effectiveness
Although a majority of marketers consider influencer marketing to be cost-effective, it could be one of the most expensive channels if you fail to do it correctly. Use the following tips to launch a cost-effective and profitable campaign with influencers:
Start your campaign with micro-influencers, who have smaller followings, but still have significant impact. These influencers are less expensive to work with than mega-influencers, who have millions of followers.
Track the individual performance of each influencer in the campaign, and leverage the top performers for a more effective campaign. This way, you can avoid wasting your marketing dollars on an influencer who isn’t yielding the desired results.
Instead of promoting their services through top celebrities, Octer decided to partner with lifestyle blogger Kimberly Luu of According to Kimberly. The blogger wrote a sponsored piece reviewing her experience with the website, what she bought, and how she’s loving the service. Despite the content being sponsored, there’s an authentic touch in the author’s voice. And since she’s a micro-influencer, the brand didn’t have to spend as much as they would have if they had decided to work with a top-tier influencer.
Reason 5: It’s Effective for Driving Conversions
Every business strives to make more sales because without conversions, your business cannot survive. And one of the most effective ways to drive conversions is with the help of influencers. 34% of marketers in the Linqia study stated that an increase in sales is one of the top benefits of influencer marketing. But that’s not all; influencer marketing also yields huge returns on investments, with the average marketer making $6.50 for every dollar they spend on the channel.
When an influencer creates content promoting your product or service, they help build desire in their audience. It could be a review about the product or service, where the influencer tells their audience what they like about it. It could also be a simple product mention, where the influencer entices their audience by showing them that they’re using the product/service.
Best Practices for Driving Conversions
Make it easy for people to buy the product by providing them with a link to the product page of the item being promoted.
On Instagram posts, shorten the URL so it’s easier for people to remember if the influencer isn’t going to place the link in their bio.
Provide a unique discount code to sweeten the deal, and give the audience more reason to make a purchase.
Unique discount codes like the one Jack Threads assigned to YouTuber alpha.m are easy to remember for viewers, and easy to track for you. And having an influencer promote a discount code is a great way to convince people to buy a product for which they’ve already built an interest through the influencer’s content.
These five points highlight the biggest benefits of working with influencers to promote your brand. As you’ve learned, influencer marketing can help you drive more traffic to your site, boost conversions, and maintain authenticity while doing so. Additionally, the channel can effectively improve your customer-brand engagement, without spending too much on marketing.
But these aren’t the only reasons why influencer marketing should be part of your next marketing strategy. With the help of influencers, you can also raise brand awareness, gain better customers, and boost customer loyalty; improving your overall brand performance. What are your thoughts about influencer marketing in 2017? Got any ideas, or predictions you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below.
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3. “Influencer Marketing Study”. Tomoson Blog, blog.tomoson.com/influencer-marketing-study. Accessed 2 January 2017.
4. “The State of Influencer Marketing.” Mavrck, marketing.adobe.com/resources/etc/commerce/products/exchange/mavrck/doc21469120094706/Mavrck%20State%20of%20Influencer%20Marketing%20(2016).pdf. Accessed 2 January 2017